I want to hear your stories how much have you seen in nursing schools. For a lot of you this was probably your first time experience so tell me what was going through your head. What made it less awkward and more comfortable for your patients
Examples of "dirty work": burping a colostomy bag, irrigating a bladder, cleansing infected, foul-odored wounds, powdered infected skin folds, performed peri care, held back a foreskin while a nurse inserted a Foley, inserted Foleys, performed cervical checks, wrapped an edematous scrotum in a pillowcase, caring for a penis the patient had pulled a Foley out of, using my hands to get a nipple into a baby's mouth... The list goes on.
Treat people with dignity and respect. Remember that you are caring for a human being with feelings and likely some sense of embarrassment regarding the care they cannot provide for themselves. Think about how you'd feel if you were them. This is someone's loved one- a dad, grandmother, daughter, best friend, respected member of their social circle. How would you want someone to treat your mom?
Always provide privacy when performing these kinds of tasks. It doesn't take much effort to pull a curtain or close a door.
That's really the kind of stuff that goes through my head. My focus is on making it as comfortable for the patient as possible, being efficient so they're exposed as little as possible, and doing what I can to keep their dignity intact. Be respectful.
Last edit by RunBabyRN on Feb 2, '14
@futureeastcoastNP: They haven't been called "bedsores" for donkey's years. You may not have seen any of the recent journal or other professional references to pressure ulcers and their various manifestations, but it's ok to use correct terminology anywhere.
As for the "dirty work" concept, nothing in the public's first thought about nursing annoys the living crap out of me more than the assumption that nurses are somehow soiled themselves by dealing in a matter-of-fact way with the human body, especially the excretory and reproductive bits.
What is it with people, anyway? Their feces (or their babies' diapers) smell like roses? Their scrota are pictures of aesthetic beauty? Their urine never smells like asparagus? They have never vomited helplessly? They have never felt so lousy being sick in bed that they didn't shower for days and got a little rank? And what's with associating putting a nipple in a baby's mouth with "dirty"?
I can't put it any more clearly: In the famous words of John XXIII when reviewing the blueprints for a new residence in the Vatican, "Sunt angeli?" "Are they angels?" The architect had forgotten ... bathrooms.
Another famous phrase comes to mind: There but for the grace of God go I. You want to be a member of a helping profession, consider the human beings for whom you will be caring. They are all somebody's child, brother, wife, parent, lover. How dare you call it "dirty work"?
Last edit by nurseprnRN on Feb 3, '14