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

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... Read More

  1. by   hecallsmeDuchess
    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.
  2. by   caroladybelle
    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
  3. by   Amy10BSN
    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
  4. by   hikernurse
    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 .
  5. by   wezzie, RN
    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..
  6. by   llg
    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
  7. by   nowIamRN
    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?
  8. by   BluegrassRN
    For those of you who think you can understand the patient's perspective without actually having to spend a few minutes in their shoes: Have you ever had someone else brush your teeth? It's typically awful; the toothbrush gets rammed into your cheeks and gums, and they never seem to get the gunk completely off your teeth. Bed baths can be totally ineffective (come on, don't lightly brush that wash cloth against my exactly is that going to get me clean?) and painfully humiliating (can you shut the door and drape me, please?).

    If you've been a patient who has needed these things, I suspect you'd agree that it's very eye opening to be the patient. There are little details you don't necessarily think about as the provider. It's not just empathy, it's about truly experiencing the patient's experience, even if it's just for this brief moment.

    And in any case, it's what, 15 minutes of lab? Is that really anything to get up in arms about?
  9. by   happy2learn
    We didn't have to do this for my nurse aide class, and we won't be learning bed baths in nursing school since we all are nurse aides.

    We did partial bed baths, which felt very weird. Though I thought someone feeding me was even more awkward. They said we were smart enough to understand how to wash other parts of the body, so there was no need to do a full bed bath.

    It's just not the same when you're bathing a student. Actually, the male in the class would make jokes because he was uncomfortable. Of course, when we had to do bed baths in clinical, it was all professional.

    What's more awkward for the patient is a shower. At least in a bed bath parts of you are covered up.

    I personally don't think that bathing a student will ever make a person fully understand how someone feels when they cannot bathe themselves. I don't think anyone could really understand, unless they've been there, what it's like to be completely helpless and have to rely on a stranger to change their depends, bathe them, feed them, and change their linens.
    Last edit by happy2learn on Aug 27, '10
  10. by   swirlything
    We practiced on manequins with pretend water. It was sufficient to learn. It's inappropriate to force everyone to get into swimsuits in front of all their classmates. Yes, it shows the patient perspective, but the patients do not go to school with the CNAs/nurses that bathe them and the nurses/doctors that examine them. The relationship is completely different, and that's what makes it inappropriate.
  11. by   taz628
    My nursing program did this. We were separated, men in one group, women in another, so that it wasn't overly awkward. As others have stated, it wasn't to teach HOW to give a bed bath, it was so that we UNDERSTOOD and EMPATHIZED with the pt receiving a bed bath. It's very uncomfortable to trust another person to bathe you, and I actually knew the girls in my group fairly well. We also did the occupied bed change and bed making lab... but that was actually kind of fun. (especially when we "trapped" each other in the linens, ha!)
  12. by   dudette10
    I've given birth twice, had a whole gaggle of med students watch my crotch as I pushed babies out, had foley insertions, have had my cervix checked multiple times by multiple people, had one resident try to manually turn my baby's head/body vaginally, had my bare butt high in the air as I was attempting to get my baby's head off my spine due to the pain...

    When you're in the hospital, you expect professionalism, some semblance of privacy, and everything is being done to help you medically.

    When you're with your classmates, you see them everyday, you see them socially, you are acquaintances or friends. It is NOT the same, and I'm surprised by some of the responses here. IMO, it doesn't foster empathy because you know that the context is not the same. One might feel it is just a ridiculous exercise that in no way resembles actually being a patient. (And, I would agree!)

    I'm not a particularly modest person, but even I wouldn't wear a bathing suit in that situation. I would have a little bit more covering me. Yet, I have no problem wearing a bathing suit in front of dozens of strangers at the pool. The difference? Context..and the fact that my classmates hands would be all over me!
  13. by   PureLifeRN
    I think its ridiculous. My nursing school didn't make us do this (maybe b/c it was a big university) and I couldn't imagine doing that! Honestly, if you can't imagine what the patient is going through when you bathe them, then maybe you shouldn't be a nurse. They dont make us intubate and extubate each other so that we understand what the vented patient experiences. It's crap like this that makes nurses so undervalued in the healthcare system. What if they told Dr's "well we are going to take out your appendix so that you can sympathize with the patient who is in surgery."

    I think they should be concentrating on more important things, like, oh, medications and patho/pharm. THATS what our new grads are lacking in.