experiences with health visitors?(56 Posts)
In general HVs are right up there with Gove in terms of popularity on MN.
However, my experiences of them were generally positive - particulary with DD1. I'd just moved to a new area, knew no-one, had no family locally, etc.,. The HV had a drop in clinic every week which meant that I knew that I was able to talk to someone about minor concerns. This was particularly important as DD1 was a bit of a worry in terms of weight (8lb 14oz at birth - but rapidly dropping off the bottom of the centiles!) Without this, I think I'd have been a nervous wreck.
I did meet some less supportive HVs, but in the main my experiences were good.
1995- the most wonderful lady Olly Mingold. Second only to a mother in her kind advice and support. Caring, no nonsense and a wealth of practical advice and emotional support.
1998- I got a complete idiot of a old woman who didn't have children of her own and her advice was inaffective, out dated and she didn't have a clue. I told her after the first two visits that she was not welcome in my home and her services not required.
She bombarded me with notes telling me to visit the surgery for my daughter to be weighed every week. I had no need to do this as this was my second baby and I could see for myself she was perfectly ok. However, the constant bombardments pissed me off so I took her to the clinic on her two and a half year check up and I had the misfortune to see the same health visitor.
The complete idiot told me that my daughter was a child genius and she'd never seen such an intelligent child. Sorry to say but my daughter was a very determined Taurus star sign of Taurus the bull and she was hellbent on doing everything that her brother could do! So, no bloody genius, just a determined child who was able to copy what her brother could do at an early age.
The woman was horrified that I had long thrown away the red check up book and actually got quite nasty. I put in a complaint and I never went back.
Toe very different experiences.
I just had my 2nd visit from mine was less than impressed. I wondered if it was just me, what were your experiences journey?
Not very good - fairly incompetent and no decent advice. Ended up having to make a bit of a complaint which isn't my style but she missed something very important with DD's jabs which as a first timer I didn't realise and could have been serious. I used to hate the 'she had no kids of her own' line, but to be honest she didn't have any and it DID make all the difference as she couldn't relate or help me when I had fairly specific questions, just recited out of a book. I've had the same one twice so hopefully if I have a third will get a different one!
[ponders why I open these goady threads]
I'm a student HV. It's always lovely to read that after I've spent 2 very intensive years studying and working I'll be as 'hated as Gove' and a pain in the arse , rather than someone who can provide support, promote health and carry out developmental checks to identify things that may require extra support or treatment for young children and their families. Ok I get that not all HVs are perfect like any other profession but I'm very glad that my real life experiences have been far from what I read on here. You know some people are actually grateful for our help, strange as that sounds.
What was the problem with her? People can probably help more if they know what issues you had with her?
I had one great one who visited my house once. Since then I've been to clinic and spoken to them occasionally and would say my experience us about 50/50.
There are some who are very pro-CIO and won't give any other advise. One told me my 4 WEEK old baby was too attached. She also gave these group sessions and told loads of first time mums that babies need to be in a dark room alone for all sleep (completely contradictory to SIDS guidelines). If I'd only met her I would have a very bad perception.
Mine was lovely and used her common sense. I think she could sense I was having a hard time of it and her saying that 5 weeks of breastfeeding was good enough just somehow made it easier to make my life easier. It took away some of the giving up guilt.
She provided a lot of reassurance for me on DS's speech at his one year check. It's just a shame that we don't get the opportunity to see more of them. I had 4 visits I think. DS is now 2 and theres been no contact since his one year check at 15 months.
'I'm a student HV. It's always lovely to read that after I've spent 2 very intensive years studying and working I'll be as 'hated as Gove' and a pain in the arse'
If it helps, I'm an Early Years SLT and I think HVs are flipping marvellous. I don't understand why parents are not falling over themselves in gratitude for having a supportive person who knows a heck of a lot about child development visit you in your home at such a vulnerable time. Oh yes I know some HVs are absolutely dreadful, I have worked with a few myself, but the profession as a whole gets such a pasting on here and its unfair. I think some parents see any advice or support as 'interfering' - I find this attitude bloody worrying actually. Health care professionals don't actually give all this advice just to make your life hell - there is a good reason for issuing guidelines around typical development and for discussing referrals to other services when necessary.
Good luck with your studies FlipFlop. I do hope you have children of your own because otherwise you will obviously have no idea what you're talking about!*
*Disclaimer: I'm childfree
Dd1 hers was lovely, couldnt fault her and ahe had been a HV for years.
DD2 had nothing but hassle. Quite young and not in the job long. Chucked her out my house and told her not to come back.
DD3 was allocated dd2s HV. DD is 6 and has seen a HV once. DD2s came to the house but i told her she wasnt getting in. I seen dd1s at the clinic who told me not to worrt and ring her if i needed anything.
when dd2 started playgroup i found out numerous other parents had had run ins with the same HV. She had reduced a teenage mother to tears over her dd not putting on any weight, turns out she had a milk allergy and HV had been making her give her milk she was allergic to even when she told her what was happening. Other parents had refused to see her and she had had a go at one parent she seen on a night out, brought it up she had seen her out in a pub. Another parent had refused her entry.
She has a funny attitude and rubs people up the wrong way, goady and has too much to say, its her way or else.
Know-it-ally, unsupportive and irritatingly bossy.
Sorry to all the nice MN health visitors. I'm sure you are luffly, but clearly mine were not Mumsnetters.
Not impressed. Pleasant enough but absolutely useless.
Speaking as a dh of an experienced hv,
She spends the majority of her day attending case conferences, writing reports, liaising with ss, and dealing with multi-generational families of concern.
Typically, more junior HVs do the more straightforward visits.
When I ask her about some of the typical posts on here, her response is that if they're not contacting you, they probably don't have any concerns with your child's welfare. At the end of the day, they support parents with a goal of improving the welfare and outcomes for the child. If the parent has a problem with that, then they can't insist, they can only refer to other authorities.
The clinics are available to anyone who wants to go or needs support, you don't need to wait to be asked.
(sorry if this sounds goady, but genuinely it's not... I get to hear
be the shoulder to cry on the stories from the other side...)
Overall pretty okay. I had quite a problem with the hv who came to see me when dd1 was a few days old. She wore a very strong perfume while I was (and still am) hypersensitive to smell. When she handed me dd1 back after checking her over my poor newborn absolutely stank of perfume.
Lottapianos Good luck with your studies and maybe my post is something you can mention in a seminar or similar. Many new mothers do not like strong smells...
Thanks Jewel - the student HV is FlipFlop but I'll pass your good wishes along!
Thanks Lotta. I've got 2 of my own so do indeed 'know what it's like' - I am currently looking at an overtired almost 2 year old who has had all of a 10 minute nap this afternoon, who we're having potty training difficulties with
Sherborne that's not how things are divided up where I've worked - you get a caseload allocated by area/GP surgery and what's on your caseload is what you deal with so everyone gets a mix. Nearly qualified HVs are well supported though
I love what I'm doing but the hatred and suspicion on here is somewhat depressing. You do all know we're qualified nurses and that the majority of courses offered are at masters level right?
Flipflop... Yes, the commissioning group in our patch saw fit to keep the HV team separate from the GPs (so they cover a large area, and lots of GPs). She has worked in your style too, though. Good to hear your well supported!
Mine were great, no interfering, useful advice, very helpful when struggling with BF and got DS referred for SLT aged 2, listened to all my concerns.
Makes me a bit sad to see the profession getting an almost universal slating on MN.
My overriding memory (DS is 13 now) is that whenever I asked a question I didn't already know the answer to they didn't know either and referred me to GP/Internet. It always seemed such a waste of my time and NHS money.
Mine was fab, spotted DS's CMPI and reflux straightaway, got us the correct meds and prescription formula, always helpful at drop in clinic and during visits. Again helpful when I had concerns re his speech and did an immediate referral to SLT and was great when I rang in floods of tears when DS was referred for ASD assessment (thankfully all fine).
DS2 due any day and I am hoping she is still the HV at out GP surgery as I haven't seen her for a while (small practice, only one HV at surgery).
I dont know flip flop. I'm pretty informed about parenting, like researching, reading studies etc. I haven't met a HV who could tell me anything new. Or, tbh, knew much about current research at all.
My current one is young and inexperienced and talks to me like a 12 year old first timer. Despite the fact ds2 is my dc3. It's patronising and a waste of my time.
Despite that she seems like a nice person! I'm sure she'd be great for someone who needed that, but they need to know their audience a bit more.
Oh yes. Also completely missed ds's CMP allergy despite me telling her all the symptoms etc..
It was only diagnosed after someone on here sent me a PM after I started a desperate thread!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.