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Foley Catheters

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by EssaQ502 EssaQ502 (New Member) New Member

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Hey Everyone,

I am starting nursing this fall, and while thinking about the process something just caught my attention.. I am ok with all of the blood, and other aspects of the job, but one thing.. Catheters..

If I'm not comfortable inserting catheters, or doing catheters is nursing the right career for me? Or, would it be ok if I passed on that duty/responsibility to another coworker?

Also, if I were in clinicals and we had to insert catheters and I didn't feel comfortable doing it, could they fail me?

What I'm pretty much saying is, I don't like catheters!

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Penelope_Pitstop has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN.

45,645 Visitors; 2,365 Posts

What bothers you about them? If we know why you don't like them, we can probably better help you.

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iPink has 5+ years experience and specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum.

12,567 Visitors; 1,412 Posts

There are certain procedures some nurses cringe doing, but for the good of their patients, they will do it. For example, my friend who is currently an NP, shared with me she didn't like inserting trachs. As a brand new nurse she inserted a trach and threw up. It was the threshold she had to overcome and now she does it with no problems.

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593 Visitors; 6 Posts

I just don't like the idea of doing the procedure wrong, and it seems awfully painful. I can't grasp the idea of inserting a tube somewhere that's so sensitive and private.. I just don't like the idea of it at all...

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2 Articles; 50,338 Visitors; 5,682 Posts

I am starting nursing this fall, and while thinking about the process something just caught my attention.. I am ok with all of the blood, and other aspects of the job, but one thing.. Catheters..
Don't worry... it's not a big deal and you'll get over it. Have you ever even seen it done? It's a little uncomfortable but gets over quickly. Really, not a big deal.

If I'm not comfortable inserting catheters, or doing catheters is nursing the right career for me?
Honestly, that's a pretty silly thing upon which to base one's career choice.
Or, would it be ok if I passed on that duty/responsibility to another coworker?
Not generally... everybody's usually too busy doing their own job to cover for your squeamishness. People will usually help you out in the beginning until you get the hang of it but they're not going to do it for you.

Also, if I were in clinicals and we had to insert catheters and I didn't feel comfortable doing it, could they fail me?
In a word: Yes.

What I'm pretty much saying is, I don't like catheters!
Neither do the patients... they like very little of what we do to them... IVs, NG/OG tubes, wound care, NPO, bowel prep, enemas, lactulose... not to mention chemo... and that doesn't even address the really bad stuff that the docs do to them. All of the treatments and interventions - hopefully - help them recover from their malady, though.

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2 Articles; 50,338 Visitors; 5,682 Posts

I just don't like the idea of doing the procedure wrong
It's pretty hard to screw it up, honestly...
it seems awfully painful
I get a lot more complaining about NG tubes and IVs than I do about Foleys
I can't grasp the idea of inserting a tube somewhere that's so sensitive and private.. I just don't like the idea of it at all...
You'll get over it. And "private" just ain't an operative word in a hospital... we do what we can to maintain a patient's dignity but it's an inherently "open" place.

I was fortunate in nursing school that my very first Foley was on a non-responsive patient. Maybe you'll get so lucky.

Really, though, it just isn't nearly so big a deal as you're making it.

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593 Visitors; 6 Posts

Is that tube painful when it is inserted? Or is it really soft, and flexible like? I hear that not all nursing clinicals require you to insert catheters, it just depends on where you go for clinicals?

Anyway, thanks for the input everyone!

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iPink has 5+ years experience and specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum.

12,567 Visitors; 1,412 Posts

As poster above said, it's not as bad as you're making it to be. I wasn't the one who got the opportunity to insert the catheter, but another student did. The patient was alert and responsive. She didn't scream with pain. It was painless for both patient and student doing the procedure. If you get the opportunity to do one, rehearse the procedure out loud with your clinical instructor so nerves don't get the best of you. As far as private, we closed the curtain around her and she was fine with having 10 nursing students observe the procedure. I can't speak for all NS programs, but we were required to practice on the maniquines. It was no guarantee we would have the chance of doing in on a real patient.

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2 Articles; 50,338 Visitors; 5,682 Posts

Is that tube painful when it is inserted?
As with anything, it varies. For people with UTIs, pyelo, acidic urine, or other things that can irritate the urethra, it can be fairly uncomfortable. Others don't seem to find it too bad. Again, I've seen people freaking out much more about having the needle put into their vein than getting a Foley put in.

You can use a topical lidocaine to help numb it up but I'm not clear that it really makes a difference from what I've seen.

Or is it really soft, and flexible like?
Like, yes.
I hear that not all nursing clinicals require you to insert catheters, it just depends on where you go for clinicals?
Mostly it depends on the "luck of the draw" - if you have a patient who needs a Foley, it'll be up to you to put it in - under the supervision of your instructor or the staff nurse.

...
Seriously - You're making way, way too much of this.

Besides, it's going into the patient, not into you...

Edited to add:
Also understand that some patients will be almost begging for the Foley... and very relieved once they get it. I've had more than one old man with prostate problems come in with a distended and very painful bladder who couldn't wait for the Foley. One actually became very irate that his Foley wasn't the top of my priority list.

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6,053 Visitors; 559 Posts

Look, a catheter is a crappy necessity. And yes, it hurts a little. But if you're afraid of hurting somebody, you're going to do a heck of a lot more damage inserting an IV catheter.

If you are sensitive about dealing with people's nether regions, that's hard. It will be good though, you will be very aware of your patient's privacy.

Of all the things that patients are probably worried about when coming into the hospital, a urinary cath probably ranks pretty low. Keep it in the patient's perspective, not yours.

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kgh31386 has 4 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN.

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When I was in school, we had to do Foley's as a check-off. So yes they could fail you if you don't do it. I've put in a good number(both males and females)...does it hurt? 99% of the time, no. The tube is very flexible and soft. Plus you do use lubricant. I've actually had patients request to have an in and out cath done because they couldn't pee, and the pressure inside was hurting pretty badly. Hah, I remember after graduating and starting on the floor, I had to put a Foley in a 600 pound woman, not to mention she was older. Have a goooood powerful flashlight handy if you have to go searching down there.

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NurseLoveJoy88 has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC.

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Is that tube painful when it is inserted? Or is it really soft, and flexible like? I hear that not all nursing clinicals require you to insert catheters, it just depends on where you go for clinicals?

Anyway, thanks for the input everyone!

It will depend on the person. Everyone tolerates this procedure differently and have different responses to foley insertion. I have had one ( no not in pregnancy) and it was not painful for me. :rolleyes:

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