Can't approach from left


First year bsn student

Today I was learning how to do a abdoninal exam and the teacher told me i had to conduct the exam from the right side for all the tests......

The problem is I am left handed and it is not comfortable to do some of the exams like feeling the liver under the ribcage . Should I try to fight this or is it pointless?

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

Learn to do it both ways. I'm a lefty too and you don't get to pick which side you approach from for things like CPR- so you need to learn to adapt.

And lose the adversarial tone: You do not want to 'fight' against something a faculty member tells you to do. Just do it.


4 Posts

I may just be a little ticket off from sociology class trying to make us think the doctors want to oppress us ..... I get the thing about my adapting

It's really only about the tests. ...the teacher told me it would be harder for me because I'm a lefty. It doesn't seem fair. I just wanted to see if anyone had this same problem.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

The world, and all the equipment therein, is designed for righties. The single advantage I have ever found as a lefty in healthcare is in wielding a laryngoscope. To me- the finesse work in intubation is in handling the ETT, and this is the lefties advantage.

Some things are harder because you're a lefty. Some if you're a woman. some if you're short.

So what?


4 Posts

I am not complaining if there is no other choice fine but why should I be made to use my non dominant hand if i don't have to's like having a tool for both left ANd right handed people and forcing me to use the right.

I did not want to make a big deal about this I just wanted to get some info on how things go elsewhere. Never mind

This was the wrong place to ask questions


4,123 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.

Although you should practice doing it both ways, I am stubborn. The problem arises when you have two stubborn people working opposite shifts. If I have a baby in a bassinet and the bassinet is against the wall, I want the baby's head on my left hand side (I'm a lefty also). I got report from the night shift nurse. I get ready to do my first assessment and the baby's head is to the right. I rotate the bassinet around so the head in on my left. I go through the whole shift and give report to the same night shift nurse. I come back in the morning and the bassinet is rotated back the other way. This went on for the next two days.

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

I was taught to approach the patient from the left because I am left-handed. However, if I overthink it, I jack it up and should have just don't it from the right. There are sometimes, though, when I'm about to do something (i.e. CVC dressing change) and think, "Phew, thank god it's on the left."

So, I don't know what there is to really fight -- when you're doing things as a nurse you will do them the way that works best for you. As far as liver palpation, you really can only feel it well on the right so left-handed or right-handed, it just is what it is. What I'm saying is, don't overthink it.


45 Posts

It will make your life much easier if you do skills and assignments exactly as your instructors asks you to, even if you don't think it makes much sense. Try to learn and understand why they're asking you to do it that way. It's good to learn different ways of doing things, even if you don't think you'll ever use it...because who knows, maybe someday you will! With that being said, once you're working on your own you can do things according to your own personal preference, unless you happen to be in a situation that doesn't allow for it.


7 Posts

Some things are harder because you're a lefty. Some if you're a woman. some if you're short.

So what?

Speaking of adversarial tones...

To address mursewanabe's concern- talk to the staff member and explain your situation. Sometimes we're told to do things a certain way because that's how it's always been done or that's how instructors prefer we do them. If you can explain your line of thinking and demonstrate your abilities, they may have no issue with you assessing in whatever way is good for you *and* gets the job done.