Children saying “no” to you.

Something that has now become more apparent to me whilst working on a ward is, children do not help you to help them when they’re ill. You must be prepared for them to frequently say “no” to you whilst you’re trying to make them better.

“Hello there *patient’s name*, my name is Kim, can I put this lovely sticker on your finger please, it will tell me how quickly your heart is beating?”

“No”

“Can I now place this under your arm to take your temperature?”

“No”

“Can I just put some of this magic cream on your hand?”

“No”

“Can you swallow this medicine for me, it will make you feel a lot better?!”

“No”

Be warned.

Anything that will make them feel better is something they will probably refuse. Kind of like some children with their fruit and veg. You will learn in University all about capacity, consent and how patients have a right to decline treatment. But being a children’s nurse has slightly different exceptions which I still struggle to know the boundaries for. If this child is saying no to me taking her temperature can I still do it? The answer is yes. Don’t worry! In these types of situations the parents normally start laughing and hold the child for you so you can do what you need to. The parents know that you’re not doing anything unnecessarily and they want their child to be better, so don’t worry! If you ever feel uncomfortable doing something again, don’t worry! You can always tell the child and parents that you will go and get a more qualified nurse and ask a staff nurse to help you.

Just be prepared for the word “no”.

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