Nursing school: Bizarre practice in learning to bed bath.. - page 2

by Cat_LPN

This is too much: :uhoh3: My significant other came home the other day from nursing school (3rd day) stating that he is going to need to bring his bathing suit to school because they are learning to give bed baths and will... Read More


  1. 11
    How else would people learn? Good lord, it's no biggy. I just don't get the overreaction. It's not like you are very ill, made to remove your clothes, get into a strange bed, with all kinds of unknown equipment around you, and put on some piece of clothing that ties down the back, even though it's impossible for you to reach the ties, hopefully all of the ties are there. It flaps back and forth and the only way to cover yourself is to put one of those garments on backwards. Then the next morning some stranger comes in to bathe you. Now that would be scarey!
    elkpark, Libitina, Rose_Queen, and 8 others like this.
  2. 5
    Quote from ScottE
    Seriously, what is the ******* point? How can someone possibly screw up giving someone a bath? What, is somebody going to think "Oh the bar of soap goes up the ass and then I jam this shower head down someone's throat? Wet, lather, rinse, dry, seriously it's not that hard that a class period needs to be dedicated to it. I can understand the empathy part but come on, if you can't understand before this that someone may be uncomfortable having some random Nurse Aid/Nurse giving them a bath it is time to look into another career.



    Edit: For the record I would do it mainly because I don't give a crap, I'm just questioning what it actually teaches. It seems like a glorious waste of valuable classroom/lab time that could better be spent learning more complicated skills.


    It does teach things from a PATIENTs point of view... Not only did we bathe one another in our class, we also fed each other and brushed each others teeth... I learned a LOT from that day... The one learning that day, I believe now, was NOT the one giving the bath, it was the one recieving...
    canoehead, wezzie, RN, AnaCatRN, and 2 others like this.
  3. 8
    While I understand that the experience to some extent teaches some empathy for the pt's experience, I think there is a fundamental difference between student-student relationships and the pt-nurse relationship. Your fellow students are your colleagues and (hopefully!) friends. Would you want to strip to your skivvies in front of all your fellow nurses on your unit? I would not. Just my thoughts.

    Orange Tree, Ayvah, nursel56, and 5 others like this.
  4. 11
    I didn't have to be bathed by a classmate to know that empathy is a quality character to have as a human and a nurse. Why they all have give each other baths is something I don't get and may never get.
  5. 9
    Quote from catshowlady
    While I understand that the experience to some extent teaches some empathy for the pt's experience, I think there is a fundamental difference between student-student relationships and the pt-nurse relationship. Your fellow students are your colleagues and (hopefully!) friends. Would you want to strip to your skivvies in front of all your fellow nurses on your unit? I would not. Just my thoughts.
    I've been hospitalized and had my own coworkers give me IM injections and help me shower. Quite, frankly, I was too sick to care.

    My question to the OP - if your nursing student SO is concerned about this policy, HE should be contacting the school and questioning the policy. Not the OP, as it does not (should not) concern her.

    The OP might want to exam her feelings as to whether the issue concerns them more than the SO, perhaps.
    Last edit by caroladybelle on Aug 27, '10
    elkpark, Libitina, cb_rn, and 6 others like this.
  6. 0
    we did do something similar to this in nursing school, it is all part of the routine. I do feel they should have the option to use a dummy though, not just eachother.
    Last edit by Amy10BSN on Aug 27, '10
  7. 1
    Quote from catshowlady
    While I understand that the experience to some extent teaches some empathy for the pt's experience, I think there is a fundamental difference between student-student relationships and the pt-nurse relationship. Your fellow students are your colleagues and (hopefully!) friends. Would you want to strip to your skivvies in front of all your fellow nurses on your unit? I would not. Just my thoughts.

    I agree. Patient-Nurse relationships are very limited in nature and confined to specific areas such as a hospital room or the home. As a patient I have an expectation that what happens in the room, stays in the room. If I have a colleague (or someone I went to school with) serve as my nurse, I would expect my privacy to be paramount. That is very different than a student to student experience.

    We were told we had to bathe each other and to be prepared to do so. Most of us just wore regular clothes (jeans, t-shirts). It turned out we had to bathe the dummies and a few students who volunteered. These students were behind the curtains and wore whatever they had on. I think just the idea that we would be bathed by peers taught enough of the lesson that patients are vulnerable and need to be treated respectfully.

    We did have to brush each other's teeth, however and that was a very useful lesson .
    catshowlady likes this.
  8. 1
    Not Bizarre to practice what you're going to be doing for patients in your clinical rotations and career.. not a big deal.

    Not only did we have to do this but were tested out on it with several people failing and having to repeat..

    Part of it was assessing the level of care needed as we were given situations, for example, my partner was a diabetic with a missing left foot, so obviously I didn't "wash" that. Part of it was also learning to take this time to assess skin, feet, etc..

    My partner failed and had to repeat because I was a post op, abdominal patient and they felt she didn't encourage me enough to perform a lot of the bath myself. Instead of having me sit on the side of the bed and only help me with what I absolutely needed, she performed the entire bed bath.. failed..

    It's a part of nursing, I didn't think it was odd in any way to practice this. I'd have hated for my first time to be with a real patient..
    DogWmn likes this.
  9. 7
    Quote from ScottE
    Seriously, what is the ******* point? How can someone possibly screw up giving someone a bath? What, is somebody going to think "Oh the bar of soap goes up the ass and then I jam this shower head down someone's throat? Wet, lather, rinse, dry, seriously it's not that hard that a class period needs to be dedicated to it. I can understand the empathy part but come on, if you can't understand before this that someone may be uncomfortable having some random Nurse Aid/Nurse giving them a bath it is time to look into another career.


    Edit: For the record I would do it mainly because I don't give a crap, I'm just questioning what it actually teaches. It seems like a glorious waste of valuable classroom/lab time that could better be spent learning more complicated skills.

    Actually, there IS a lot to be learned about such a basic skill -- and we are seeing problems with patients because some nurses are failing to do a good job with basic hygiene measures. Some of that failure may well be to the nurse being too busy to get everything done, but increasingly it appears that some schools are not teaching these basic nursing skills properly.

    If the skin is not properly cleaned, dried, etc. ... if creams, lotions, ointments, and powders are not properly used ... if bed linen is not properly tightened and smoothed ... patients not properly positioned and turned ... etc. skin breakdown, odor, infections, contractures, etc. can result. When we see such problems in our patients and talk to the staff about the routine skin care they are providing, we are sometimes appalled when they tell us they never learned these things in school. Schools who skip over such things quickly are doing their students (and their future patients) a major injustice.

    Sometimes people get so focused on the high tech care that they don't realize how important the basics are -- and that there are actully techniques of doing that basic care that actually matter a lot and contribute to the patient outcomes. I see you are still a student, Scott. While such "coursework" may not seem sufficiently glamorous or sophisticated to you now, it really is VERY important nursing content and I hope you learn it sometime in your schooling.

    Just this morning, I was consulting with a collegue here at my hospital about a possible researchproject to determine the best way to manage a certain type of dressing and the use of heat lamps to promote drying. Such topics may not seem glamorous, but they sure are an important part of daily nursing care.

    As for the students bathing each other: I think it is unnecessary and I wouldn't want to participate.
    Last edit by llg on Aug 27, '10
    elkpark, talaxandra, nursel56, and 4 others like this.
  10. 3
    We had to do this in my school and i really didn't think it was a big deal. We all had to wear swim suit and it was just you, your partner and the instructor behind a close curtain. It's not like you are asked to be naked infront of the entire class!

    We didn't get soaked or nothing, just used dry towels to show how we would give a bath. I for one had a blast doing it! maybe it was the fact that my partner was a guy i had a crush on! We had so much fun doing it that he told me that was the day he knew he wanted to be with me!

    I agree with the other posters that said this exercise basically teaches empathy. To the OP, is your SO oppose to this or is it just you?
    PurpleLVN, wezzie, RN, and Otessa like this.


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