Nursing school: Bizarre practice in learning to bed bath.. - page 7

by Cat_LPN | 17,975 Views | 102 Comments

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. 6
    I realize the site is mainly for nurses, but perhaps the view point from a patients perspective might help a little. I know hearing what you all say is very helpful to me in understanding and appreciating what you all do and contend with. As a patient I have been asked to not only completely expose myself to nurses of the opposite gender, sometimes in multiples, but submit to numerous very invasuve and humiliating procedures. I have been asked and complied to basically strip naked other than those ridiculous gowns for an endoscopy, though i didn't understand why I couldn't leave my underwear on for a throat exam. I even let the nurse untie the ties on the back of the gown which I twisted in ways that would make a contortionest squirm to tie becasue it made me feel just a little more comfortable...but you said it was SOP to have them untied. So given all you are going to ask your patients to do, I find it a little confusing to troubling that you would find being in a bathing suit with people you have come to trust so unreasonable. You are with friends, in an environment you trust. We are in a strange, stressful, environment, going through much more becasue you have told us your are professionals and we have to trust you. While there may be some validity to the claim having some familiarity with the other students makes it different, i would argue it does not make it easier. If you wiegh the familiarity in a bathing suit against nudity, humiliating procedures, amount multiples of strangers....I don't think it is any where near what you will be asking your patients to do. We are told to trust you becasue you are professionals, if you don't trust eachother...how can we. And as a patient, I can't tell you how many times I have been "coaxed", "convinced", even "pushed" to accept SOP because thats the way it is done. If you take offense at being asked to do this, how can you feel confident asking a patient to go much further. Won't you feel just a little hypocritical. I often tell my employees, I am not asking you to do anything I haven't or wouldn't do. Shouldn't you be able to tell your patients the same. Its true student/patient is not the same as nurse/patient, but its not that different either, and given the difference in what you will be asking compared to what you have been asked....as a patient I understand your reluctance, but I question your refusal. God Bless all of you who try to see this from the patients eyes and what it could mean to them, your exceptional.
    talaxandra, 3rdcareerRN, Fiona59, and 3 others like this.
  2. 3
    Quote from emr*lpn
    wow!!! you can wear bathing suits or tank tops and shorts??? when i went to school in 1981, we had to go "commando" , making sure our "patients" were adequately covered during the practice sessions. then there was a fire alarm...a bunch of us had to go outside in our bathrobes...
    i went to lpn school in 1991 and we were expected to do the same thing. i was nineteen years old and had never been seen (other than changing in pe class when i was a freshman) or touched by anyone when i was not dressed...plus i was on the first day of my period and my first day was always super heavy. i was having major cramps and i always had really bad gas duirng my period (i know, tmi, but i have a point). everyone else in my class was at least twice my age, all were married, and all had children. i had been a cna so seeing other people undressed didn't bother me, but having them see me was horrible. i cried the entire time and when the student bathing me said they would just do very basic cares since i was so emotional, we were both threatened with failing grades. the person i was forced to bathe had really smelly armpits and had a bit of a crust under her breasts...i still get a little icked out when i see her...i know patients are sometimes pretty dirthy, but she knew what was going on, so one would think she would have bathed that day!

    i know that hands on expereince is very important, but the whole bathing each other thing was really hard for me...i seriously thought about dropping the program because of it. somehow having a nurse who i may never see again bathe me is different than having a classmate who i will see five days a week for the next year do it. both hospitals i have worked in have tried to avoid assigning nurses to patients who they knew very well outside the hospital and when fellow nurses were hospitalized, we tried to assign them to the nurses they were comfortable with.
    catshowlady, nursel56, and talaxandra like this.
  3. 0
    We practiced on each other, but were each assigned a body part (arms, legs, or face), wore tshirts and shorts and no one seemed to have a problem with it.
  4. 0
    It might be advisable to for nurses and cna's to approach
    patients needing a bed bath with a cart full of various sized
    bathing suits, different colors, maybe a bikini or two. Perhaps
    we could revert to the early 20th century bathing suits that
    covered the whole body. Those who would rather patients wear a
    gown, could order special gowns that have iron on transfers
    of different style bathing suits. It would be a little more expensive,
    but we could hire body painters to paint bathing suits on patients
    before they're given a bed bath. But, we'd have to make sure we
    don't wash of the painted bathing suit. Sun tan lotion should be
    available, too, just to give patients the true ambiance of a beach.
    While giving the bath, nurses and cna's could tell patients about
    their experiences being bathed in a bathing suit, just to keep a
    conversation going. Blown up beach balls could be scattered around
    the hospital room. Maybe the ice cream truck would jingle down
    the hall every once in a while, too. We could turn this into a real
    experience for all involved.
  5. 6
    Ilg is so right about the importance of attending to the linens, the hygeine, mouth care, pericare, etc, If it isn't done or isn't done right the patient will likely feel pretty miserable.

    But if a nursing student is uncomfortable with this for whatever reason (scar, psoriasis, obesity, religious concerns, whatever) just like the patient might be, you throw the role playing exercise right out the window and tell them "what's the big deal?" "Get over it!" "You need therapy!" ??

    If the reason to do this is as many have suggested, a forced lesson in "empathy" or a touchy-feely bonding exercise, at least let that purpose be known up front. The mechanics of a bed bath even on "real" patients can be learned very well, as well as how to do procedures with the least amount of pain and exposure for your patient without having it done to yourself. The vast majority of things done to hospitalized patients will not be done on us, ever.

    Really, is it appropriate to hint that CatLPN has "issues" with her SO?? That is nobody's business, and honestly some of the callous attitudes from people when someone objects to this makes me dislike the process even more than I did before. Flame away.

    edit: I just wanted to add this because of the post from the patient above- when we had another heated thread on this topic a few months ago I did ask some friends in a position to comment on it as patients - what I heard from them was mostly a variation on "you will never know what it's like by giving one bed bath on your healthy friends one time in a simulated hospital environment."
    Last edit by nursel56 on Aug 27, '10
  6. 1
    Quote from nursel56

    Really, is it appropriate to hint that CatLPN has "issues" with her SO?? That is nobody's business, and honestly some of the callous attitudes from people when someone objects to this makes me dislike the process even more than I did before. Flame away.
    Esme12 likes this.
  7. 1
    Quote from nursel56
    But if a nursing student is uncomfortable with this for whatever reason (scar, psoriasis, obesity, religious concerns, whatever) just like the patient might be, you throw the role playing exercise right out the window and tell them "what's the big deal?" "Get over it!" "You need therapy!" ??
    Excellent point! If it really is "no big deal," then how could it possibly foster empathy for our patients?
    happy2learn likes this.
  8. 8
    Quote from middleager
    I realize the site is mainly for nurses, but perhaps the view point from a patients perspective might help a little. I know hearing what you all say is very helpful to me in understanding and appreciating what you all do and contend with. As a patient I have been asked to not only completely expose myself to nurses of the opposite gender, sometimes in multiples, but submit to numerous very invasuve and humiliating procedures. I have been asked and complied to basically strip naked other than those ridiculous gowns for an endoscopy, though i didn't understand why I couldn't leave my underwear on for a throat exam. I even let the nurse untie the ties on the back of the gown which I twisted in ways that would make a contortionest squirm to tie becasue it made me feel just a little more comfortable...but you said it was SOP to have them untied. So given all you are going to ask your patients to do, I find it a little confusing to troubling that you would find being in a bathing suit with people you have come to trust so unreasonable. You are with friends, in an environment you trust. We are in a strange, stressful, environment, going through much more becasue you have told us your are professionals and we have to trust you. While there may be some validity to the claim having some familiarity with the other students makes it different, i would argue it does not make it easier. If you wiegh the familiarity in a bathing suit against nudity, humiliating procedures, amount multiples of strangers....I don't think it is any where near what you will be asking your patients to do. We are told to trust you becasue you are professionals, if you don't trust eachother...how can we. And as a patient, I can't tell you how many times I have been "coaxed", "convinced", even "pushed" to accept SOP because thats the way it is done. If you take offense at being asked to do this, how can you feel confident asking a patient to go much further. Won't you feel just a little hypocritical.

    I often tell my employees, I am not asking you to do anything I haven't or wouldn't do.

    .Shouldn't you be able to tell your patients the same. Its true student/patient is not the same as nurse/patient, but its not that different either, and given the difference in what you will be asking compared to what you have been asked....as a patient I understand your reluctance, but I question your refusal. God Bless all of you who try to see this from the patients eyes and what it could mean to them, your exceptional.



    Have you seen your employees naked,rubbed lotion all over them, dreid them off, and ate lunch with them?
    Probably not.................here's a point of view from a patient and a nurse.......................

    There are things that as a nurse I encourage my patients to do and how to do them but if I were them I wouldn't choose that treatment. Underware needs to be off for an endoscopy if it is "below" but I too had to remove my underware for a upper endoscopy which still baffles me to this very day. My mouth is a long way away from my own bottom.

    My personal opinion does not come into play in my care for the most part because I do not judge people on their personal choices. I have encouraged patient to do a procedure in a certain manner because it is SOP which translates to Policy and Procedure. Giving a classmate a bed bath will not make one a better nurse. In a largely female population in this workforce we are perfectly well informed about patient gowns and no underware..................
    Have you been examined by a gynocologist? (I know you haven't because you are male) . Or given birth? Because I swear they marched the fifth battalion in and out of my room to "check" me..........had I known my private parts would become public knowlegde and on display I wouldn't have hidden them for so longPersonal?...........Let's talk personal..............

    I do not have to submit to public display of my body parts in school and I have the right to privacy in my life not to expose myself to my peers and not to expose myself to their nudity. It has nothing to do with body image......it is just in an inapropriate setting. I had people in my nursing class that I would not have in my home, nor would I let them care for me in or out of the hospital (personal choice) if they passed their boards. Just because they were scary people.....

    I am perfectly aware that i invade patients personal space and they are frightened, nervous, and anxious. My nursing instructors were able to instill this to me without public humiliation and invasion of my personal space. Being a patient myself I know I will have to sacrifice some of my dignity and privacy when I enter the hospital and I have on occasion shed some light on some pretty antiquated policies that need to be changed and got them changed.

    When I was a nurse manager of an ED....do you have any idea how many false teeth I have paid for when I know personally they came with no teeth? Or the football jersey that got cut off that turned into a leather jacket encrusted in gold? and a personal favourite of mine............the long lost family heirloom that has suddenly disappearend during testing, coding,or surgery.
    There are some really good reason that these policies are made and enforced which have nothing to do with giving a fellow student a bed bath with water in a bathing suit during class. Ridiculous!

    Common courtesy as well as Basic human decency and respect for one's privacy should be the lesson here not "let's see how you like it" mentality. With nurses being fired for taking cell phone picture of patients and posting them on facebook or the web..........a lesson in privacy, human rights, manners and plain common sense and decency is what needs to occur.
  9. 3
    Esme12 I appreciate your points but I still disagree, no I haven't seen my employees nude, but then again (1) as I understand the requirement was bathing suits and shorts not nude and at our company outing every summer I have seem many in bathing suits. (2) what you have chosen to do for a living is a long way from what I am doing, I have never told one of my customers to remove their clothes or that I am going to give them an enema or insert a catheter either. My point was very simply, if you find this practice so offensive to the point where you will not do it, how can you ask a patient to do even more and not see the problem. Not wanting to do it is completely understandable. It has been my experience, and please understand I am not saying all providers, but the care giving system in general, will try to convince patients to conform to their protocol not jump to the side of the paitent. If a patient said I would feel more comfortable with same gender, or I hate these gowns, is the first thought OK or is it to try to use various techmiques to get them to comply. And for sure SOP more often then not has very good valid reasons, but there are more than enough cases where it doesn't, and when it doesn't does concern for patient comfort override. Perhaps this is all goes back to a main point that most patients will agree on, being a patient in these situations is no less stressful and uncomfortable than being a nursing student. It seems to us that our level of stress over these situations is being downplayed compare to when it is a provider. I am not saying the students should be forced to submit to that, if I gave that impression I apologize, I am asking that you recognize a patients experience is no less stressful. That is the main issue to me here, this is not more of an issue than what you are asking your patients to do just because its you and other students and not us and you. And no I haven't given birth, but I am not sure what that has to do with the issue anymore than you have never had a prostate exam or been on a table stipped with 5 nurses of the opposite gender standing around. Sorry if I come of rude and condemning that is not my intent. I do hope to at least shed some light on at least considering there is a bit of an us and them attitude in this topic, that is something to atleast be aware of. Sorry if I offened you, not my intent I just appreciate the opportunity to exchange thoughts and viewpoints and I do appreciate what you all do
    Esme12, happy2learn, and leslie :-D like this.
  10. 1
    Quote from middleager
    (1) as I understand the requirement was bathing suits and shorts not nude and at our company outing every summer I have seem many in bathing suits.

    My point was very simply, if you find this practice so offensive to the point where you will not do it, how can you ask a patient to do even more and not see the problem. Not wanting to do it is completely understandable.
    Perhaps this is all goes back to a main point that most patients will agree on, being a patient in these situations is no less stressful and uncomfortable than being a nursing student.

    It seems to us that our level of stress over these situations is being downplayed compare to when it is a provider. I am not saying the students should be forced to submit to that, if I gave that impression I apologize, I am asking that you recognize a patients experience is no less stressful.

    I do hope to at least shed some light on at least considering there is a bit of an us and them attitude in this topic, that is something to atleast be aware of.
    What post downplayed the patient's stress level? I didn't see that one. I saw many, many, many posts talking about having empathy and providing privacy. Nowhere did I see that the patients privacy or stress was of no concern to them.

    I also do not see an us and them attitude that you speak of, when it comes to students & nurses and patients.

    Pretty much every post I have read expresses the need to show empathy for patients and provide privacy, but some appeared to downplay the need to respect students feelings about the situation. If there is a post downplaying the patients stress level, I must have overlooked it.

    It is a different atmosphere as well as a completely different relationship. I don't trust my fellow students in the way that I trust my gyno, my NP, and my Hematologist

    Sure, I can talk to my fellow students about class and life and all that good stuff, but I can't talk to them about my bleeding disorder and things associated with it such as the nosebleed I had the other day, what medications I need to avoid based on my condition (Aspirin, Pepto Bismol), watching my pulse rate, my fear of bleeding to death when/if I do eventually have a child, and the bruises that keep randomly showing up. I don't feel comfortable discussing it with them. They don't understand how serious it can be, they don't see the issue. They WILL however (to an extent) if they attempt to draw my blood or prick me. But they don't know what it's like to live with it. The closest person who can relate and understand on a medical level is my Hematologist.

    I can't talk to my fellow students about my sexual relationship/desire, the results of my pap smear, and the results of my breast exam. That's what my gyno is for. I trust her, otherwise I would find another gyno to spread my legs in front of.

    I can't talk to my fellow students about medically related information because the trust level and perspective is different. I am not their patient. They will never view me as their patient. They will always view me as a fellow student, even 20 years down the road. We have an established relationship that we can't take away. That established relationship is not on a professional level.

    Because of that, there will never be the same trust and confidence level that comes standard (or should) between a patient & a nurse.

    By the way, I'm not protesting the bed bath. I've done it. I don't agree it's necessary. If certain people have a problem becoming empathetic, then maybe they need extra tasks that will help them. But I don't have a problem feeling empathy. I actually have a problem being too empathetic.

    I don't need to become homeless to feel empathy for them. I already cry everytime I see one!
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.


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