bed baths

  1. I am starting an accelerated second degreeprogram in May and am planning to work in critical care after I graduate. I was just wondering what the typical duties of a critical care nurse are. Also, what are the rules with male nurses giving bed baths? I think the icu sounds like an exciting place to work but i do not think I would feel comfortable giving a bath to someone. IIs that something that nurses on all shifts are required to do?
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   meandragonbrett
    All nurses give baths at some point in their careers. It's a fact of the profession. In ICU typically you will have one of your patients as a day shift bath and the other will be a night shift bath (often times the vented pt. if the other isn't).
  4. by   Myxel67
    Bed bath in CCU or ICU can be very physically demanding--especially the vented pt who may not be conscious, is very heavy, and is usually not able to turn, and of course requires scrupulous oral care to help prevent ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP). Generally male bathing female
    wasn't an issue. But if you had a female pt who was with it enough to refuse, usually you could work out a trade with another nurse.

    I worked nights, and as MDbrett below stated, always got to bathe the vented pt.
    Last edit by Myxel67 on Feb 12, '07
  5. by   Ann RN
    Quote from Chip_04
    I am starting an accelerated second degreeprogram in May and am planning to work in critical care after I graduate. I was just wondering what the typical duties of a critical care nurse are. Also, what are the rules with male nurses giving bed baths? I think the icu sounds like an exciting place to work but i do not think I would feel comfortable giving a bath to someone. IIs that something that nurses on all shifts are required to do?
    Before planning on working in critical care, complete your nursing program. If I told you everything that I do and am responsible for, it may scare you. Look into shadowing a nurse for a shift. Many hospitals are more than willing to do that. Working in critical care requires many skills, and more importantly, critical thinking. Without knowing what the "typical duties of a critical care nurse" are, do not plan on a specialty just yet.
  6. by   Dinith88
    bed baths depend on where you work. in my icu, most 'baths' are given on nights, the remainder on days. We are fortunate in that the cna/nurse-fellow/students do them.
  7. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from Chip_04
    I am starting an accelerated second degreeprogram in May and am planning to work in critical care after I graduate. I was just wondering what the typical duties of a critical care nurse are. Also, what are the rules with male nurses giving bed baths? I think the icu sounds like an exciting place to work but i do not think I would feel comfortable giving a bath to someone. IIs that something that nurses on all shifts are required to do?
    First you need to finish school before deciding on a specialty.

    Second, many ICU level care areas do not have techs/aides. Therefore you are often more likely to be giving bathes there than on the standard M/S unit. Even if you were not giving a full bath per say, ICU level patients often are incontinent, have skin break down issues, have diarrhea or sweating issues requiring a great deal of clean up. The ICU patient is also more likely to be physically unable to do their own intimate care,or the aide not permitted to do it w/o RN assistance, due to presence of tubes, vents, art lines, NGs,tube feeds, etc. Or the patient is so unstable, great care must be taken with repositioning and hygiene.

    On M/S, one does occasionally have a few self care pts, or some that can at least do their own pericare. Plus there are more aides and the patients are such that they can handle them.

    Most recently, I worked an ICU level onco unit. ICU level patients were on CVVHD, vents, art lines, multiple drips, in DIC and acute tumor lysis. They were very unstable and it was the RNs job at night to bath them, and on days to maintain hygiene.

    Your gender has little to nothing to do with your capabilities as a nurse. And bathing patients is an accepted and required part of nursing in ANY specialty. While an occasional patient/facility may consider gender when rendering certain care, one usually just trades off that part of pt care with a nurse of the requested gender.

    A good question might be what are your expectations of working as a nurse?
  8. by   txdude35
    I thought I was doing great by making it through nursing school without giving a single bed bath. Now as an ICU RN on the night shift I do it every night to at least 2 patients. As stated previously, female pts who are awake/alert may prefer a woman bathe them and if that's the case, trades are worked out with the female nurses. Since more men are getting into the ICU, sometimes there isn't a female on the shift, and the pt just refuses the bath.
  9. by   Chaoticdreams33
    Like most have said- You're not going to get away with not giving bed baths almost everywhere in the hospital. And ICU especially because they often do not have techs and obviously the tech can't do it themselves. At least on med-surg the techs can usually do most of the patients themselves- and I should know I'm a tech now! I also agree with other posters- give yourslef some time to get the feel for nursing before trying to decide on a specialty. It's all great fun
  10. by   Ann RN
    Quote from txdude35
    I thought I was doing great by making it through nursing school without giving a single bed bath. Now as an ICU RN on the night shift I do it every night to at least 2 patients. As stated previously, female pts who are awake/alert may prefer a woman bathe them and if that's the case, trades are worked out with the female nurses. Since more men are getting into the ICU, sometimes there isn't a female on the shift, and the pt just refuses the bath.
    How did you ever get through school without giving a bedbath?
  11. by   Chaoticdreams33
    Quote from Ann RN
    How did you ever get through school without giving a bedbath?
    Ha ha, I was wondering the same thing!
  12. by   Lilnurse0803
    Wow, I rarely went a shift without giving a bed bath, unless the patient was ambulating and did not need one. It was part of AM care and since I always was on a unit with very ill patients, my professor required it as part of care for the day. We rarely were assigned patients that could ambulate just so that we could get these basic skills down.

    We also changed occupied beds, helped feed clients, etc. Our instructors were usually critical care nurses and they believed that we should do as much as we can since most units are not staffed adequately enough with CNA's that could help with providing this care.
  13. by   blueheaven
    Short and sweet....we nurses DO IT ALL. Sorry Charlie but bed baths are part and parcel of the deal. Gender doesn't matter we wash 'em all! (unless they are alert enough to refuse). Hmm if bed baths may be an issue, what about the other fun things we nurses do???
  14. by   RN Randy
    LOL... no doubt on all accounts.
    I'll be happy to put the fear in ya.

    You WILL handle male genitals at least once every other day for various reasons.

    You WILL handle/search around in female genitals at least once every other day for various reasons.

    You WILL learn to hold your breath for several minutes while inserting foleys.

    You WILL strip/bathe males and females at least once a day.

    Many of these people will be wide awake and talking to you at the time.

    If you're lucky, you'll get to apply Nystatin powder under your females breasts after removing the various items and unidentified things from under there.

    And.... if you're really lucky, you'll get to insert a fecal management system up to the wrist, once, twice, thrice during the night.... LOL.

    If it makes you feel better, we now use tympanic thermometers for most adults.

close