Author Topic: Obligations of those in personal care professions  (Read 5111 times)

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Hillia

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Obligations of those in personal care professions
« on: August 11, 2010, 06:31:48 PM »
DS is a cosmetology student.  The school is operated through the local high school, so all the students are in the 16-18 year old range.  As most cosmo schools do, this one offers services to the public at very reasonable prices because they are performed by students.  Unless the client requests a specific student, they are more or less randomly assigned based on who is available.

Yesterday DS was assigned a client who is apparently homeless - she's been in before and the teachers offered that information.  She may also have some mental issues, as he said that last time she was in she smelled strongly of urine.   He was to give her a shampoo and haircut.  He said that her hair and scalp were incredibly filthy; she had thick, waxy dandruff built up very heavily over most of her scalp, and patches of dried skin flaking off several layers thick, although no open sores..  DS had gloves available, and he wore them while shampooing her hair although she gave him an 'odd' look when he put them on.  The shampoo apparently did little to make her hair and scalp cleaner; he said that cutting her hair was very unpleasant and he eventually asked a teacher to take over and finish the cut.  The teacher berated him later for not showing more compassion, and how he should have finished the service for the client no matter what.

I'm really torn on this.  On the one hand, I see the teacher's point: this woman may well be in a situation where she's not able to maintain her personal hygiene and the shampoo that comes with a $2.50 haircut at the school may be the only cleaning she's able to get in a month.  On the other...I sure wouldn't want to do it either.  And we're talking about cosmetology school, not a medical situation where there is a higher obligation to work with unpleasant clients.  I don't plan on saying anything to the teacher; it's more of a personal squick factor (DS is *very* fastidious) than an actual health or safety hazard, but I'm curious as to what other EHellions think.

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MovieLover

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2010, 06:36:24 PM »
Sorry but if I was hairdresser I would not be interested in dealing with that at all.  That is a condition that is going to take prescription medication and repeated shampooing with prescription shampoos over quite some time to get the situation under control.  A single or double shampoo is going to do little.

For the teacher's information your son was 100% correct for wearing the gloves and if she thinks they are unnecessary she is dead wrong and needs some education on biohazards.

Hillia

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2010, 06:38:29 PM »
For the teacher's information your son was 100% correct for wearing the gloves and if she thinks they are unnecessary she is dead wrong and needs some education on biohazards.

Sorry, I wasn't clear...the client looked him oddly, not the teacher.  I think they encourage gloves rather than not; there are boxes all over the work room for the students to wear.

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lolane

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 07:25:16 PM »
I'm torn on this one. On one hand, every profession has things or people they don't want to deal with and I think that even though you (general) may not HAVE to deal with unpleasant people or things once you become a full-blown professional, there is still value in going through situations like this because there are things that can be learned. So, while your DS might not have to service clients such as this if he were already a professional, he will still learn valuable lessons about dealing with people, undesirable situations, etc.

On the other hand, this does seem like a rather extreme case so I can understand your DS's reluctance.

I think the best thing would have been if your DS had recognized that he was going to have a problem completing the assignment/job before he started. I know I might be embarrassed if someone was so grossed out by me that they couldn't finish doing my hair, where I might be less embarrassed if they discreetly handed me off to someone else before they started.*

I'm not suggesting that your DS was rude to the woman, or made his displeasure know, just that it's the only thing I can think of that he might have done differently.

Harlow

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2010, 08:03:36 PM »
As someone whose worked in the personal care industry for a while. ( Aesthetics and I do not  work in it anymore )

I think what your son had was a valuable teaching lesson.  In the real world, he is going to face this and there's no one whose going to be there to take over for him like his teacher did. Employers don't like to have to step in because it's unpleasant for the hairstylist, unless it violates the health codes like lice or open sores.  Employers like it when hairstylists can handle them on their own. I used to work in a salon with both hairstylists and aesthetics, and I've seen it happen.

Your son is only just learning, so he has all the time in the world to learn how to deal with these situations. He will have to learn to achieve and I'm sure he will as he gets more and more clients.

I think your DS might benefit with his teacher and talk about the incident. I don't agree with the berating because I don't believe thats the way you teach someone, especially in the personal care field. I believe all the moments that happen in school are teaching moments.

Your son is going to do amazing, especially with all the support around him. Cheers to him and cheers to you.

humbleonion

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2010, 08:20:10 PM »
As someone whose worked in the personal care industry for a while. ( Aesthetics and I do not  work in it anymore )

I think what your son had was a valuable teaching lesson.  In the real world, he is going to face this and there's no one whose going to be there to take over for him like his teacher did. Employers don't like to have to step in because it's unpleasant for the hairstylist, unless it violates the health codes like lice or open sores.  Employers like it when hairstylists can handle them on their own. I used to work in a salon with both hairstylists and aesthetics, and I've seen it happen.

Your son is only just learning, so he has all the time in the world to learn how to deal with these situations. He will have to learn to achieve and I'm sure he will as he gets more and more clients.

I think your DS might benefit with his teacher and talk about the incident. I don't agree with the berating because I don't believe thats the way you teach someone, especially in the personal care field. I believe all the moments that happen in school are teaching moments.

Your son is going to do amazing, especially with all the support around him. Cheers to him and cheers to you.

The boy is 18 at the oldest.  He did the best he could with the client, and then asked the teacher to step in.  That's exactly the right thing to do.  He's still a student.  He wasn't prepared for this.

The teacher really blew it here. There's an obligation to educate the students on how to address these situations.  It's a "teachable moment". She should have addressed it with the entire class, after the first time this lady came in, and helped them all develop coping mechanisms for dealing with smelly/dirty/unpleasant clients.  Berating him for not knowing what he hasn't been taught is unacceptable.

Harlow

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2010, 08:24:45 PM »
As someone whose worked in the personal care industry for a while. ( Aesthetics and I do not  work in it anymore )

I think what your son had was a valuable teaching lesson.  In the real world, he is going to face this and there's no one whose going to be there to take over for him like his teacher did. Employers don't like to have to step in because it's unpleasant for the hairstylist, unless it violates the health codes like lice or open sores.  Employers like it when hairstylists can handle them on their own. I used to work in a salon with both hairstylists and aesthetics, and I've seen it happen.

Your son is only just learning, so he has all the time in the world to learn how to deal with these situations. He will have to learn to achieve and I'm sure he will as he gets more and more clients.

I think your DS might benefit with his teacher and talk about the incident. I don't agree with the berating because I don't believe thats the way you teach someone, especially in the personal care field. I believe all the moments that happen in school are teaching moments.

Your son is going to do amazing, especially with all the support around him. Cheers to him and cheers to you.

The boy is 18 at the oldest.  He did the best he could with the client, and then asked the teacher to step in.  That's exactly the right thing to do.  He's still a student.  He wasn't prepared for this.

The teacher really blew it here. There's an obligation to educate the students on how to address these situations.  It's a "teachable moment". She should have addressed it with the entire class, after the first time this lady came in, and helped them all develop coping mechanisms for dealing with smelly/dirty/unpleasant clients.  Berating him for not knowing what he hasn't been taught is unacceptable.

OP's son maybe 18, actually I thought he was 16. OP's son  still going to have to learn and this was a teachable moment. He should talk to his teacher after the fact on guidance. I even stated in my post I didn't like how the teacher handle it. I don't think its a good way to teach someone.

OH I also wanted to mention, I agree. This should have already been discussed before they started working on clients. I know in my school was but all schools are different.

Editing because I don't like I wording my original post.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 08:29:51 PM by Harlow »

shhh its me

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 08:31:38 PM »
   I'm going to look at this from a slightly different angle.  the rules of the school are such that he has to accept any client with $2.50  as long as they don't have open sores etc.   DS is obligated to follow the rules of the school , it's not fair for DS to refuse service that other students would have to provide.  
You(general you) can petition to change the rules but asking for an exception may earn a chiding.


A salon may not service homeless but they might have a require the staff to put up with anything short of physical violence form clients (not saying I'd want to work there) you have to play by the rules  , get the rules changed or quit  but "I just can't" may not be acceptable to an employer.

DangerMouth

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 08:51:34 PM »
  I'm going to look at this from a slightly different angle.  the rules of the school are such that he has to accept any client with $2.50  as long as they don't have open sores etc.   DS is obligated to follow the rules of the school , it's not fair for DS to refuse service that other students would have to provide.  
You(general you) can petition to change the rules but asking for an exception may earn a chiding.


A salon may not service homeless but they might have a require the staff to put up with anything short of physical violence form clients (not saying I'd want to work there) you have to play by the rules  , get the rules changed or quit  but "I just can't" may not be acceptable to an employer.

DS never refused to do anything, though. He washed her hair and began the haircut. It wasn't until after he was having trouble with the cut that asked his instructor to step in. This is exactly what should happen in the 'hairdressing school' setting.

I've never used one, but my mom has been going to our local hairdressing school for over 40 years. I can't count the number of times she's wished the neophyte hairdresser would admit defeat and call in the big guns :D

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 08:52:32 PM »
DS is a cosmetology student.  The school is operated through the local high school, so all the students are in the 16-18 year old range.  As most cosmo schools do, this one offers services to the public at very reasonable prices because they are performed by students.  Unless the client requests a specific student, they are more or less randomly assigned based on who is available.

Yesterday DS was assigned a client who is apparently homeless - she's been in before and the teachers offered that information.  She may also have some mental issues, as he said that last time she was in she smelled strongly of urine.   He was to give her a shampoo and haircut.  He said that her hair and scalp were incredibly filthy; she had thick, waxy dandruff built up very heavily over most of her scalp, and patches of dried skin flaking off several layers thick, although no open sores..  DS had gloves available, and he wore them while shampooing her hair although she gave him an 'odd' look when he put them on.  The shampoo apparently did little to make her hair and scalp cleaner; he said that cutting her hair was very unpleasant and he eventually asked a teacher to take over and finish the cut.  The teacher berated him later for not showing more compassion, and how he should have finished the service for the client no matter what.

I'm really torn on this.  On the one hand, I see the teacher's point: this woman may well be in a situation where she's not able to maintain her personal hygiene and the shampoo that comes with a $2.50 haircut at the school may be the only cleaning she's able to get in a month.  On the other...I sure wouldn't want to do it either.  And we're talking about cosmetology school, not a medical situation where there is a higher obligation to work with unpleasant clients.  I don't plan on saying anything to the teacher; it's more of a personal squick factor (DS is *very* fastidious) than an actual health or safety hazard, but I'm curious as to what other EHellions think.

Question: Did he ask the teacher to take over because the condition of her hair made it difficult for him to cut correctly, or did he ask the teacher to take over because he didn't want to work on the woman's hair anymore? Your son was aware that the woman was homeless and knew from her previous visit that there were some hygiene issues; if he was not willing to work on the woman's hair, then I think he should have refused before starting the job. If the school has a policy that a student cannot refuse a customer, then he would have to deal with the consequences of refusing (BTW, I think he should check what those policies are).

If, on the other hand, your DS stopped was unsure of how to proceed with the work, then I think the teacher should have worked with him, either by advising him as he worked or by taking over and demonstrating. Did he ask the teacher for advice before asking him to take over? Your DS could have mentioned to the client "Ma'am, I'm going to do a second shampoo for you, but first I'd like to check with my teacher to see if he has any tips for me to make sure I get it good and clean, ok?" Or later, if he had trouble during the cut: "Ma'am, I'd like to get some input from my teacher, if that's ok with you. This is my first time working with hair of this texture [OR: this thick/this length/in this style/etc.--anything plausible that could be interpreted as neutral or positive description] and I want to make sure you get the best cut possible."

If your DS didn't explicitly say that he wanted the teacher to take over because he was repulsed by the woman's hair, then he might be able to salvage the situation by asking the teacher now how he should handle hair that dirty. He already knows about the gloves, but what else would the teacher have done to work on her hair? Is there a different shampoo that would be more appropriate? (Or, since they know at least one regular customers has hair in this state, can they get a more effective shampoo just for this situation?) A different washing technique? Would letting the shampoo sit in the wet hair for a few minutes help at all? Are there different techniques he should use for the actual cut if the hair is still dirty after the wash? Should he mention possible ways to treat the dandruff or should he pretend not to notice unless she asks?

If he discusses the situation from the point of view of customer service (i.e. "I got frustrated because I was not able to give that woman a good haircut; I haven't been taught how to deal with hair in that state and couldn't figure out what I should do.") rather than his own squeamishness, then his teacher might be more forgiving and he might learn some good coping strategies.

shhh its me

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 08:54:13 PM »
  I'm going to look at this from a slightly different angle.  the rules of the school are such that he has to accept any client with $2.50  as long as they don't have open sores etc.   DS is obligated to follow the rules of the school , it's not fair for DS to refuse service that other students would have to provide.  
You(general you) can petition to change the rules but asking for an exception may earn a chiding.


A salon may not service homeless but they might have a require the staff to put up with anything short of physical violence form clients (not saying I'd want to work there) you have to play by the rules  , get the rules changed or quit  but "I just can't" may not be acceptable to an employer.

DS never refused to do anything, though. He washed her hair and began the haircut. It wasn't until after he was having trouble with the cut that asked his instructor to step in. This is exactly what should happen in the 'hairdressing school' setting.

I've never used one, but my mom has been going to our local hairdressing school for over 40 years. I can't count the number of times she's wished the neophyte hairdresser would admit defeat and call in the big guns :D

"I need help" "can you advise me how to proceed" should have been DS first step , assuming it wasn't.

kareng57

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 09:03:46 PM »
I'd give your son a pass because he's still pretty young, just in high school.

However, for general cosmetology/aesthetics - this can be a frequent issue.  It's not just homeless people; some well-off people can still have horrible scalp conditions.  Sometimes it's a matter of medical neglect.  But it's also true that some skin/scalp conditions can be very difficult to treat, and the client could be working with a dermatologist who has been trying everything.  In the meantime, people still need to get haircuts.

While I don't think that he should have been berated the way he was - it's a reality of his chosen profession that he will encounter lice, fungi etc. often enough - even with "clean" people, and he needs to learn to deal with it.  Teachers can help him learn to tactfully say something along the lines of "this doesn't look like ordinary dandruff, perhaps you should see a doctor".  Of course this isn't applicable to a homeless person who doesn't have the money for her next meal, let alone for a doctor's fee.

Regarding the smell - and I do understand - one trick he could try would be leaving a jar of Vick's Vapo-Rub handy.  Apparently a discreet dab under the nostrils can do a lot towards masking unpleasant odours.

Harlow

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 09:09:21 PM »
I'd give your son a pass because he's still pretty young, just in high school.

However, for general cosmetology/aesthetics - this can be a frequent issue.  It's not just homeless people; some well-off people can still have horrible scalp conditions.  Sometimes it's a matter of medical neglect.  But it's also true that some skin/scalp conditions can be very difficult to treat, and the client could be working with a dermatologist who has been trying everything.  In the meantime, people still need to get haircuts.

While I don't think that he should have been berated the way he was - it's a reality of his chosen profession that he will encounter lice, fungi etc. often enough - even with "clean" people, and he needs to learn to deal with it.  Teachers can help him learn to tactfully say something along the lines of "this doesn't look like ordinary dandruff, perhaps you should see a doctor".  Of course this isn't applicable to a homeless person who doesn't have the money for her next meal, let alone for a doctor's fee.

Regarding the smell - and I do understand - one trick he could try would be leaving a jar of Vick's Vapo-Rub handy.  Apparently a discreet dab under the nostrils can do a lot towards masking unpleasant odours.

That was a life saver for me!! Something with a mint in it.

Hillia

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 09:16:59 PM »
Thanks for all the responses - there's some good info there.

DS is 16 and will graduate from this program in a few months, when he's 17 (he started school early).  He is extremely fastidious by nature and I tend to agree that developing a thicker skin would be to his benefit.  He seems to think that if he works with high end clientele he will never have this situation  ::)  I disagree; as someone pointed out, there are all sorts of reasons why a client might not be pleasant to work with and he needs to be prepared to handle himself professionally.

He asked the teacher to step in because of the condition of the client's hair/scalp, not because he couldn't figure out how to do her hair.  Essentially it was a personal preference, not a technical issue.  He had not worked on this client before and didn't realize the condition of her scalp until he had started working with her.

I especially like the idea of asking the teacher how to approach situations like this from a purely technical standpoint - different shampoo, longer soak, etc.  I'll suggest that to him, along with the Vapo-Rub hint!

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Harlow

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Re: Obligations of those in personal care professions
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 09:22:31 PM »
Thanks for all the responses - there's some good info there.

DS is 16 and will graduate from this program in a few months, when he's 17 (he started school early).  He is extremely fastidious by nature and I tend to agree that developing a thicker skin would be to his benefit.  He seems to think that if he works with high end clientele he will never have this situation  ::)  I disagree; as someone pointed out, there are all sorts of reasons why a client might not be pleasant to work with and he needs to be prepared to handle himself professionally.

He asked the teacher to step in because of the condition of the client's hair/scalp, not because he couldn't figure out how to do her hair.  Essentially it was a personal preference, not a technical issue.  He had not worked on this client before and didn't realize the condition of her scalp until he had started working with her.

I especially like the idea of asking the teacher how to approach situations like this from a purely technical standpoint - different shampoo, longer soak, etc.  I'll suggest that to him, along with the Vapo-Rub hint!

Hah, I had that dream once, and yeah, it's a total dream.