Bathing Classmates and Other Personal Boundaries? | allnurses

Bathing Classmates and Other Personal Boundaries?

  1. 5 I've read a few threads on this and honestly I am shocked. I was unaware that students had to practice anything on each other that was invasive or required them to wear any clothing besides scrubs or other professional attire. This concept did not exist for me until I read threads in which people spoke about these practices.

    I do not think it is right for students to have to wear clothing that exposes them, even if it is "just" shorts/bathing suit/bra/sports bra/tank top. Nor do I think it is right for students to have to be examined or touched in any way by another student. If we're going to make it about why I personally don't like it, it is because I don't wear shorts other than when I swim, they are usually knee-length, and I don't swim very often (last time was 2-3 years ago). I don't like to expose my legs for various reasons and I don't want to have to purchase clothing to show off a body part that I don't ever show off, hence why I don't own that type of clothing.

    In previous posts there were people to said it wasn't a big deal, and others who think students should have to because their predecessors had to (and they had to do much more to each other than just bathing- such as catheter insertion, breast/vaginal exams, anal swabbing, etc.), and yet others say it is so that students can learn what it is like to be a patient. Many of these people are saying that those who take issue with it aren't cut out for nursing. This makes no sense to me.

    Other than helping out your classmates by providing a body so they can practice and do their exam on, what benefit does this give you? You will make a friend in class who may or may not help you later? So the benefit here is teamwork? I find it highly unlikely that I will be working with the classmate after I graduate and I don't feel that it is my duty to let someone invade my personal space just because the school we are at doesn't use mannequins and real patients. A student is not the same thing as a licensed professional and I don't want inexperienced people touching me or using my body to practice things like injections or catheters or even bathing. Once they are licensed then I know I can trust that they are being professional and held responsible, until then they are no different than someone in my A&P class going for a biology degree.

    None of this means I will have a problem with other people's bodies or caring for them. My own personal level of comfort for MY body does not mean I won't be able to do my job and do what I need to when caring for another person. My own body being exposed is not something that will help me when I am bathing a patient because I will never be bathed by a patient and I will never be unclothed in front of a patient.

    It seems that people who went to school years ago had to do more to each other than the schools today and if you respond to this I would love to hear what years you went to school (your age is not important) and what your experience and opinions are.

    P.S. This is not about a male/female thing, as I think either gender would bother me just as much.
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  2. 146 Comments

  3. Visit  rn/writer profile page
    #1 3
    If you are in school right now, please, speak with an advisor or an instructor. But when you do so, explain your own personal position without downgrading or denigrating the program. If you state that wearing a swimsuit or other brief clothing violates your personal standards for modesty, you're likely to get further than if you attack the idea philosophically and cast judgment on the entire practice.
  4. Visit  CBsMommy profile page
    #2 3
    I agree that invasive procedures shouldn't be done on other students, such as caths, etc., and thank goodness our school doesn't let us do invasive procedures on that to each other (that's why we have Sim peeps).

    As for baths, I agree with the other people who stated that it is good to go outside of your comfort zone because you will understand what it is like being a patient (most of them are not comfortable being bathed by a stranger either). It's an empathy thing. I would never expose myself to my fellow students either and that is not something that is required (at least in my school). They can wash my arm, leg and face, etc., but they are not seeing all that I have to offer.

    Stating that, the bed bath was not the most uncomfortable for me. It was actually having someone else brush my teeth that made me most uncomfortable. We had to sit on our hands while they did it. But, again, that was an empathy thing (putting myself in the patient's shoes).

    If you are that uncomfortable, talk to an instructor about it. But I'm sure that you will have to go with the flow. Good luck and know that many students are going to be just as uncomfortable as you are!
  5. Visit  HeartsOpenWide profile page
    #3 1
    I would hardly consider a bed bath with clothing on behind a curtain invasive. Some times we have to go out of our comfort zone, I was the one that volunteered to get a bath by our teacher in front of the who class. Some times the best way to be empathetic is to experience it yourself.

    I took a beginning midwifery course in which we had to do pelvic exams on each other. We were all nervous about it but once it happened it was not that bad I am glad it happened. Since then I am so much more comfortable with my own body and can have empathy for women that receive sterile vaginal exams from me during labor. I have had people tell me that my cervical exam did not hear at all after I got report from the last shift that the patient was practically crawling off the bed when they did the check.
  6. Visit  elkpark profile page
    #4 23
    Quote from brownhairedgal
    A student is not the same thing as a licensed professional and I don't want inexperienced people touching me or using my body to practice things like injections or catheters or even bathing.
    And yet, by signing up for nursing school, that is exactly what you are asking members of the hospitalized general public to do -- let you, an unlicensed, inexperienced person, practice invasive and intimate procedures on them -- what do you think clinical is? I guess, for me, the question is how strongly can you (legitimately) object to doing something, yourself, that you're expecting other people (strangers!) to be willing to do for you?
  7. Visit  Do-over profile page
    #5 5
    It sounds like this is causing you quite a bit of anxiety. Have you talked to anyone at your school about what is actually expected of students in lab?

    I understand that you are uncomfortable having unlicensed, inexperienced people touching you, but remember that you will be expecting the patients at your school's clinical sites to let the inexperienced, unlicensed you touch them...

    I am always grateful for the folks that allow me to take care of them for my schooling :redpinkhe
  8. Visit  guiltysins profile page
    #6 0
    Our school doesn't require this thankfully but I think the main reason it would be uncomfortable for me personally is that I would have to see these fellow students everyday.

    However, as the two people above me have stated, it's hard to argue your point when patients in the hospital are going to have you doing personal examinations on them. I'm sure those people are comfortable in front of strangers, especially STUDENTS but it's gotta be done. I haven't started clinicals yet but I know that I'm probably not going to be comfortable doing a breast exam on someone whether they be a patient or a student so I guess the thought behind not agreeing with it makes you a bad nurse is that if you don't feel comfortable touching students you might know, how can you feel comfortable touching complete strangers.
  9. Visit  dannyc12 profile page
    #7 2
    Quote from brownhairedgal
    My own body being exposed is not something that will help me when I am bathing a patient because I will never be bathed by a patient and I will never be unclothed in front of a patient.
    You have the right to refuse anything you want. Your program has the right to allow you to refuse somewhere else.
  10. Visit  9livesRN profile page
    #8 0
    i think it is stupid to bathe each other, comon! that is comon sense! we have been doing that since kinder garden...!!! there might be an order but whatever! you will get it right on your first try with a patient!!!

    i do though agree with using real people = students to learn how to use the Hoyer lift, or how to change a bed with a patient in it, even to role play a case study... but that bathing thing... its plain stupid IMHO
  11. Visit  elkpark profile page
    #9 11
    Quote from helpingothersinlife
    i think it is stupid to bathe each other, comon! that is comon sense! we have been doing that since kinder garden...!!! there might be an order but whatever! you will get it right on your first try with a patient!!!

    i do though agree with using real people = students to learn how to use the Hoyer lift, or how to change a bed with a patient in it, even to role play a case study... but that bathing thing... its plain stupid IMHO
    Umm, we're talking about bed baths (bathing a person in bed), which is not something most people have done even once before nursing school (let alone "doing that since kindergarten"), and there is correct technique that has to be learned (and incorrect technique to be avoided). It is a necessary skill that has to be learned and practiced in school.
  12. Visit  Charlie0413 profile page
    #10 1
    I think that the reasoning behind doing it is to get practice and like it was said before it lets you feel how it feels to be on the other end of the treatments. How would you feel if a nursing student came in to do some procedure on you are it was completely obvious that it was the first time they had done it. You would be uncomfortable. The only way to be efficient in something is to practice. When dealing with patients in a clinical setting you have to keep in mind that they are people to not something for you to learn on. You cannot go in there and feel that you can "learn" on a patient that just wants to receive adequate care.
  13. Visit  psychonaut profile page
    #11 5
    When I was a lad (many moons ago) making the transition from 5th to 6th grade, we had a little assembly where the teachers wanted to give us a head-up on some of the changes we would be facing as we moved away from being elementary school students.

    Well, one tiny part of the presentation involved how we would be taking showers in PE (which was not done at the elementary school level). Oh my Lord, what was supposed to involve only a tiny bit of the discussion ended up dominating pretty much the entire assembly. Nascent prepubescent body-image issues were apparently underestimated by the faculty who planned that assembly.

    Anyhow, the OP reminded me of that day's long discussions and rationalizations. And, just as happened to us kids, anticipation of the event will prove infinitely more anxious than the actual procedure(s), which will go from awkward to confident to commonplace in no time.
  14. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    #12 8
    I guess I would want to know why I would let you practice on me if you would not let me practice on you? Or why other patients in the hospital then should allow you, an unlicensed student and absolute amateur in patient care, practice on THEM?

    Time to pull up your big girl panties (that nobody is going to see) and accept that as nurses we will have to do a lot of things we are uncomfortable with, and will have to do the same to others. Am I looking forward to letting others bathe me? Not in the slightest. Do I think my discomfort means I am highly likely to learn something? Definitely.

    Onward and upward. You signed up for this. Embrace it.

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