Appropriate way to Check off Bed Baths (Fundamentals) - page 2

Hello Nursing friends :) I have a question - my classmates and I went into our practice lab tonight and our professor told us that in order to practice bed baths, we had to be in bathing suits, bring our own towels, soap, etc... Read More

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    Some people aren't bothered by it, but if it's presented as a requirement affecting your grade it becomes coercive. There are a few comments from students joking about bathing the "hot" classmates in the links I posted. I don't find that funny at all. It does point out one aspect of the awkwardness both the hot and the not-hot students may face, though.

    In the olden days it was assumed that nursing students were all female and under 25 years old. There was still a stigma attached to discussing abusive relationships then so very few did, but instead endured the process knowing the alternative would be failure. That should never happen in the guise of practicing your nursing skills. Heck, we didn't have Sim Patients other than Annie and she had a limited repertoire.
    SummitRN likes this.

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    I think this is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!! What point are they trying to make.....I know feel what the patient is feeling. Whatever. I don't think this teaches anything....it only satisfies and feeds the power trip of the instructor who enjoys those who do her bidding.

    Unbelievable....there are so many skill to be teaching...but lets humiliate and degrade the students into submission. Can you tell this drives me NUTS!!!!!!!! Unbelievable.....how about more time spent on pharmacology and dosages....how about assessment lung sounds and heart tones.

    Bathing suits and bring your own soap....YUCK!!!!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrr.

    In days gone by....we spent our first semester at a SNF/LTC and we went in before pre-conference to start the baths on floor so that by about 10 AM we would be done with all the baths give report to the nurses on any thing new and unusual and a basic assessment (we were told it was the thank you to the nurses for allowing us to be there and be in their way) then we would focus on our patients. One whole semester....we got really good at baths, making an occupied bed and assessing while doing other tasks.

    I may have gone to school with the dinosaurs....(yes I went to a college for school and it was an ADN program...a good ADN program.) and we may not have had all the fancy sim labs....but we sure gained a ton of common sense.

    Wow that just drives me NUTS!!!!
    Last edit by Esme12 on Feb 26, '13
    SleeepyRN, SummitRN, AmesRT6510, and 1 other like this.
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    If I see anything in the posts of many new nurses, it's how much they see their patients as a workload, a bother, a burden, the families a pain in the neck, abusive, argumentative... I rarely see a post that projects any kind of empathy. NO, not all posts. But many.

    I think this kind of lab is an excellent way to teach empathy, not just for how you yourself feel being bathed and touched by a comparative stranger, but how you can also imagine your friend behind the next curtain in lab and how s/he is feeling about it. And more than that, it broadens your horizons in a way that many younger (and some older) people cannot begin to imagine.

    I used to do a lab that was ostensibly about positioning, but was really about this issue. The students paired off, one got into the bed (fully clothed) and was positioned to one side with pillows. The "patient" was not allowed to talk or move, as if paralyzed. After the "patients" were all positioned, the curtains were pulled closed around the beds, and there was a seven minute wait period when all the "nurses" gathered in the middle of the lab, where they inevitably got chatting. Then everyone came out and we had a little talk.

    What should happen after this kind of lab is a discussion period where everyone talks about this...and if the discussion doesn't spontaneously roll around to how much patients feel like objects, not people, then the instructor should gently guide it there. In my classes, the "nurses" felt good about their skill in positioning, felt like they were really doing real nursing, and couldn't wait until the next skills lab.

    The "patients" all felt like meat, were panicky, were alone, wondered if their "caregivers" thought about what it was like to be in that bed while they all chatted about the game on Saturday or what was for lunch in the caf. It was an eyeopener for all concerned. Just about everybody (including each "patient") was stunned at the depth of feeling felt by the "patient" side...and how they all completely missed it.

    And that's why I think the special snowflakes should realize that this lab is about far more than bed baths, about being aware of another's embarrassment at being dependent, or about having societal roles between strangers violated in a care situation. Your body is not so special, no more so than anyone else's is to him/her; it really isn't. A sense of proportion and empathy here, and lose the entitlement. Being a nurse does not put you on a higher plane than the patient (see the first paragraph); they are not your workload, they are people no different at all from yourselves.

    THAT's what this lab is all about. Sometimes it takes a bigger jolt than you think to make people see it, is all.
    Jill2Shay, brillohead, ElSea, and 2 others like this.
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    I agree with green tea

    It does make you pause, and think.

    Does that person want you do this?
    Makes you think to cover and screen for privacy.
    GrnTea likes this.
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    My first quarter of nursing school we practiced bathing and hygiene on each other; we picked our partner so you got a "friend". We wore swim suits or shorts & tank tops. The beds had privacy curtains but it was still uncomfortable. It gives you an idea what patients go through as well teach you skills with bathing, hygiene, and bed making. Of course, I went to nursing school a long time ago. The instructors did tell us about it beforehand so we weren't shocked. I recall there was a lot of giggling in that lab.
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    I know we had the bed bath exercise, but the only thing I remember about it was the bright red face of one of my fair-haired classmates, K. K was the sweetest person in our group of about 15 people. She was the only "nurse's aide" as we called them then, but you practically had to drag it out of her. She was also a good fifty pounds overweight. Her humiliation was so palpable. I suppose you could argue that this was a good thing. Maybe it motivated her to lose weight. Maybe the others who witnessed that never made fun of a fat person again. It's hard to say, but it always is when you do something to provoke an emotional reaction in a group of people who's background and personality you know nothing about.

    Did it teach us empathy? I think I had the empathy when I imagined how this person was feeling right then. I don't recall a noticeable change in the people who were selfish, spoiled young people who looked at nursing school as a lark, the earnest single mothers who were betting it all on the chance to have a job that would support her and her child without the short of breath that fathered the child, or Roger. Roger was too much of a kick to describe. If stripping people of their personal boundaries causes empathy to grow, there are number of people I've worked with over time who should undergo another bed bath ASAP, because it appears there's an expiration date on a few out there.

    What I really think is that it can cause some people to find out what empathy feels like for the first time. But that the ground was tilled before that, and any number of experiences can cause the change in the emotional radar. I don't remember what it was like to have a bed bath, but I make a point of remembering how everything I've gone through on the patient side of things (which will happen to most of us) can help me be a better nurse.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Feb 27, '13 : Reason: I almost commited the loose-lose offense
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    Quote from GrnTea
    If I see anything in the posts of many new nurses, it's how much they see their patients as a workload, a bother, a burden, the families a pain in the neck, abusive, argumentative... I rarely see a post that projects any kind of empathy. NO, not all posts. But many.

    I think this kind of lab is an excellent way to teach empathy, not just for how you yourself feel being bathed and touched by a comparative stranger, but how you can also imagine your friend behind the next curtain in lab and how s/he is feeling about it. And more than that, it broadens your horizons in a way that many younger (and some older) people cannot begin to imagine.

    I used to do a lab that was ostensibly about positioning, but was really about this issue. The students paired off, one got into the bed (fully clothed) and was positioned to one side with pillows. The "patient" was not allowed to talk or move, as if paralyzed. After the "patients" were all positioned, the curtains were pulled closed around the beds, and there was a seven minute wait period when all the "nurses" gathered in the middle of the lab, where they inevitably got chatting. Then everyone came out and we had a little talk.

    What should happen after this kind of lab is a discussion period where everyone talks about this...and if the discussion doesn't spontaneously roll around to how much patients feel like objects, not people, then the instructor should gently guide it there. In my classes, the "nurses" felt good about their skill in positioning, felt like they were really doing real nursing, and couldn't wait until the next skills lab.

    The "patients" all felt like meat, were panicky, were alone, wondered if their "caregivers" thought about what it was like to be in that bed while they all chatted about the game on Saturday or what was for lunch in the caf. It was an eyeopener for all concerned. Just about everybody (including each "patient") was stunned at the depth of feeling felt by the "patient" side...and how they all completely missed it.

    And that's why I think the special snowflakes should realize that this lab is about far more than bed baths, about being aware of another's embarrassment at being dependent, or about having societal roles between strangers violated in a care situation. Your body is not so special, no more so than anyone else's is to him/her; it really isn't. A sense of proportion and empathy here, and lose the entitlement. Being a nurse does not put you on a higher plane than the patient (see the first paragraph); they are not your workload, they are people no different at all from yourselves.

    THAT's what this lab is all about. Sometimes it takes a bigger jolt than you think to make people see it, is all.
    While I agree with you my friend.....I still think it is excessive and unnecessary. But when I think about the thin privacy attitudes of people these days with social media maybe it isn't such a bad idea.
    nursel56 and CLoGreenEyes like this.
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    Thanks Greentea, while I agree with some of the principals that you are standing on - I don't completely agree with a few things. First of all, my classmates are genuine and we are eager to learn how to best care for our patients. We don't see them as a workload or a chore... if we did we wouldn't be in the nursing profession. Second, we didn't respond to this situation with entitlement.. We felt threatened, embarrassed and upset. We don't need to strip down to our bathing suits and bathe one another to understand empathy and what our patients go through. It's just not right and we all value our own personal privacy. I agree with labs such as positioning like you mentioned and a long list of other things that don't violate someone's privacy.

    As for mentioning that our bodies just aren't special, I disagree. Everyone's body and every person is special, important, and deserves respect just like we should show our patients. We can all learn how to continue to have empathy, respect, compassion, and genuine care for our patients without being put in a situation such as this. I also hope that when you say "special snowflakes" you aren't referring to nursing students... Classmates aren't strangers - we spend more hours together then we do with our families. A patient-nurse relationship is professional and completely different then 2 classmates making this exercise inappropriate.
    nursel56 likes this.
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    What about how the patient feels about their privacy? It's a catch-22. The patient might feel threatened, embarrassed & upset too.
    Last edit by ElSea on Feb 27, '13 : Reason: Removed a sentence.
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    I gave a bedbath to a 100-year-old LOL today, and her body is a testament to the century she has spent on this Earth. I kept thinking "this is someone's grandmother, and needs to be treated with respect". In comparison, students have some clothing, their health, and familiarity to the situation when giving each other bedbaths. There are bigger fish to fry, I think.
    ElSea likes this.


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