Saturday, 27 September 2008

I'm back,

I've been on holiday, had a great time but start back to work next week. Ah well, it's like I've never been away.
Had an experience which made me think while I was away. I was taking a picture of a pretty village in England and happened to get a couple of kids (about 7 years old) in shot, thought nothing of it until my wife pointed out that it could look very suspicious a fat, bald, middle-aged man taking photos of children but I should be OK as she was with me!! This got me thinking that perhaps in this day and climate of child protection that she was right so I deleted the picture (the joys of digital cameras) and took another picture which had no children in it. But afterwards reflecting on it (see I did learn something at university - how to reflect) I thought back to my student days when I had to work on the paediatric wards. No police checks in those days, I was assumed to be safe with children as I was a nurse.
I recall one instance where I was allocated 3 children to look after in the morning, nothing unusual, happened every day. This day I decided to shower 2 of the kids and wash the other, have no idea of diagnosis and illnesses after all these years but the children were all independently mobile and were looking forward to a shower. My own kids at that time were about 10 and 12 so I was used to dealing with children. Anyway, one of the kids, a little girl of about 8 disappeared and I could not find her, she could not get out of the ward as the handle was too high for her so I was not too worried, but she was holding me up. Found the poor girl in the shower trying desperately to turn it on and shower herself for me, obviously in floods of tears and cold and naked. What did I do, the only thing I could do, I found a big warm towel and wrapped her up in it and gave her a big cuddle, I then washed her under the shower and we carried on with our day. No harm, everybody happy and I did not even think to put the incident in her notes. Would I do the same thing today? Not a chance, I have not changed (apart from getting older) but the world has changed. I could not put myself into a position where I would be alone with an 8 year old girl in a shower. To my mind the way it seems to work is that this would just be an informal way to resign my job. It is not just males, one of my colleagues used to do voluntary work with cubs and beavers but found that what they sometimes needed was a quick cuddle then on they go - she was not allowed to do that.
Nowadays I have an Enhanced Disclosure (Scotland) number and we have had people who came to us for jobs having to be unemployed for a couple of weeks as they had resigned from their last job and their disclosure form was not through.
One of the games I played with my own children and some of the patients at the time was to put your noses together and then you have to try to bite the other persons nose while all the time still touching noses, if the noses came apart you had to stop. Children of a certain age love it because it is totally stupid and impossible to actually bite anyone. But there is no way I could do something like this now.


Anonymous said...

Its a sad but necessary state.

I used to work for PGL, a residentual adventure camp for kids. My first year I worked with 6-9 year olds and homesickness was a big problem, sometimes all they needed was a hug and someone to tuck them in. We had to make sure we were never alone with a child and had a range of things we had to ensure during everyday so as we were kept right. I was going to list them but it would take mw forever and possibly crash your site!

Elaine said...

It is such a shame as a hug is the perfect treatment for so many minor ills and fears and homesickness and many more things.

Chris said...

Whilst the need for child protection is indisputable, I sometimes think it is done in an over the top manner. It causes all kinds of problems, whether this is stopping you from doing your job as well as you could, or causing problems for youth groups who can't get the leaders they need due to the amount of paperwork that has to be waded through and processed before they can start.

It's such a shame. As a 21 year old male, I fall into a category where I have to be even more careful than most (men my age are statistically more likely to be paedophiles), which I try not to bother me, but it does affect thingssometimes

Anonymous said...

It is a crying shame, because human contact is one of the most important comforts to a child. I suppose yYou have to consider how much impact this ever increasing clampdown on intimacy, has actually had on the number of nasty incidents occuring in these sorts of circumstances. I'd have to conclude that if even one vunerable party was saved the horror of an inappropriate incident, whether that is the child, or a wrongfully accused caregiver, then it would be worth the sacrifice to others.