Cleaning patients

  1. I am currently taking my prereqs to enter the nursing program. I am aware that my future training will include cleaning patients. My question, how do you get use to it? I really want to be a nurse, but I have never even changed a babie's diaper. I am a forty-something woman who is changing careers from Information Technology so this is of great concern to me.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    You will be cleaning from every body opening..................you will be assisting patients with normal bodily functions.....

    I have always enjoyed taking care of people so it was never a concern for me. Baby sat for babies when I was in my early teens. Sure there are times when some of the odors are a little much but it comes along with the job.
  4. by   indigo
    Before you enter a nursing program, why don't you become a CNA (certified nursing assistant) first? CNAs perofrm much of the patient's personal care, including changing briefs and assisting with bedpans. They provide oral care, feed patients, bathe patients, soothe patients. CNA training has a clinical component, where you would provide this type of care for patients (many times in a nursing home setting). If you can get through this program and still be interested in nursing, you're definitely on the right track. You may even end up feeling, as I did, that it was the ultimate privilege to do these things for a human being, to provide for their care and comfort.
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I have never changed a babie's diaper, either.

    I find it ironic that we are all worried about the yucky stuff before we get into nursing. IMO, the yucky stuff is the easiest stuff to deal with.

    It's the working conditions, back pain, and ethical dilemmas that are the hard stuff in nursing!


    But back to the yucky stuff- You will probably get used to it real quick. Most of us have.
    Good luck to you, Maisie.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on May 31, '04
  6. by   RNSuzq1
    Quote from Maisie
    I am currently taking my prereqs to enter the nursing program. I am aware that my future training will include cleaning patients. My question, how do you get use to it? I really want to be a nurse, but I have never even changed a babie's diaper. I am a forty-something woman who is changing careers from Information Technology so this is of great concern to me.
    Maisie, First of all - I'm also 40-something, how did you get lucky enough to sneak by all these years not changing a stinky diaper??? I have 3 boys & 2 of them decided to wear diapers until they were almost 3 years old - I'd hate to think how many I changed - but guessing it's in the "Zillions" You Lucky Girl... Changing a babies diaper to me is a "walk in the park" compared to the things you will see as a Nurse.

    At first I thought you'd be in for a rude awakening - but on second thought maybe since you've never experienced doing any actual "hands on patient care" you might surprise yourself and not mind it at all. I can handle blood & guts - what gets me and a lot of other people is "vomiting". I'm sure in your 40 years you've seen someone throwing up and that along with the horrible "smell" can cause a reflex action and make you want to lose your lunch as well - it's gross, but part of the job.

    One of the other posters suggested you get a cna position for awhile and that's probably good advice if you've truly never been in or around a hospital setting (just to get your feet wet and see if it's really something you want to do). Best of Luck To You.. SusanNC
  7. by   suzy253
    I started nursing school at age 50 and my very first clinical experience I was cleaning patients. I had been a secretary all my life but had cared for my mum when she was sick. Truthfully, I have no problem with cleaning the patients. It's part of their care. Hard to explain really but I just don't have a problem with it. Good luck to you.
  8. by   lovinghands
    You will get used to it! Although as a previous poster mentioned, I do get "urpy" from time to time when there's massive amounts of vomit. I tend to hold my breath and move fast in those situations (someday I'll probably faint from that habit)

    Don't sweat the small stuff! Good luck in school!
  9. by   Tweety
    I gagged and nearly vomited at first. There's no way to tell you how to get used to it, just do, not matter what just do it with resolve. Very quickly it becomes not a big deal. Heck I can be eating, get up and clean up poop, and then go back to eating.

    Good luck!
  10. by   nursedawn67
    I personally found it becomes just part of the job. Don't think too heavily about what your doing, just do it and before you know it your done, but if you think about it...well you can imagine how you might start feeling. After so many you get used to it, and like I said it becomes part of the job.
  11. by   wonderbee
    Quote from hellllllo nurse
    i have never changed a babie's diaper, either.

    i find it ironic that we are all worried about the yucky stuff before we get into nursing. imo, the yucky stuff is the easiest stuff to deal with.

    it's the working conditions, back pain, and ethical dilemmas that are the hard stuff in nursing!


    but back to the yucky stuff- you will probably get used to it real quick. most of us have.
    good luck to you, maisie.
    i totally agree.
  12. by   johngalt
    Well Maisie,

    I assure you, you are not alone. I am a 53 year old male. Left a lengthy IS career last August. Start as in junior in a BSN program in two weeks. I've never changed a diaper either. And I am definitely not looking forward to some of the things we will be called upon to do. But I am good at overcoming obstacles; as I suspect that you are. One way or the other we will manage. We bring other talents and gifts to the profession. I am just hoping my sense of humor and a few friends will help me get by. Culturally being what we are, I imagine that on this particular issue you will have more in comon with some of the male students than with many of the females. Seek them out on this. They will appreciate the company.
  13. by   PCGrad06
    I completed the CNA class in March. We had two days of clincials one day woman and the other a man. My first day I was sick because I knew I had to bath a patient. My nerves were all over the place. When I arrived at the nursing home I said this is it: The make me or break me point and better now than after in the program. I was given my patient (a woman) to bath. Once I was in the room with her and began talking to her I kind of pictured caring for my grandmother. It worked she was a sweet lady who really liked having someone to talk with her. Because in this home it was very short handed and they only get a bath 2 times a week. Then I knew I had to care for a man the next day. He was so nice and he laughted all the time. :roll When I first entered the room, he said I can tell you have not done this before I asked how and he said you are blinding me with the red glow coming from your face.:imbar I laughed. after that he was no longer the patient but the teacher. I loved it and can't wait to be a and care for them.
  14. by   CardioTrans
    You will get used to it. I also would recommend the CNA route first. The CNAs often have the worst job, but most of the patients like them better than their nurses. Once you get your nursing license or even while you are in nursing school, Im sure that you will find something that bothers you more than cleaning someone after a BM. I know that for me, even though I have been a nurse forever, that a trach will make me gag everytime. Luckily, I dont do it in front of the patient. But "stuff" coming out of someones neck is just not normal! :wink2:

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