Is it awkward bathing, dressing and wiping patients?

Students CNA/MA


I'm 17 and thinking about becoming a CNA for my first job. I am going to look into taking classes this summer at my community college and to take the exam to become certified and work part-time. I have no problem being a 'touchy-feely' person because I'm like that all the time, but obviously I have never dressed someone, wiped them, or bathed them, and I'm concerned if that will be highly awkward and affect my work. Any advice? Thanks :)


11 Posts

You are young so, yes, I think it might be a bit awkward for you... but a large portion of it comes down to how mature you are. When you do your clinical portion of training you will be observing and probably see clients/residents naked. If you maintain a professional attitude it should help ease awkward tension for you and your patient =]

Specializes in Emergency Department.

At first, doing all those things may be awkward for you. In time, with training and experience, you'll come to see that it's just a part of the job and nothing really all that special. Eventually you'll probably not exactly notice that your clients/patients/residents are in various states of undress as you care for them.

As suggested, you should maintain a professional demeanor, as if nothing bothers you, and it'll become less awkward for you and them. I would imagine that they'd feel more awkward because you do and aren't sure how to deal with it. They may still feel quite uncomfortable, but it's a familiar thing for them though. It's not so familiar for you.

Treat them how you'd like to be treated if it was you on the receiving end and you had no real choice about maintaining your modesty/dignity about certain types of personal care.

SoldierNurse22, BSN, RN

10 Articles; 2,058 Posts

Being "touchy-feely" is hardly a job requirement. In fact, it's frequently a drawback.

Your obligation to your patient isn't to be touchy-feely. Many patients won't want that anyway...that's what they have spouses/parents/children/friends for.

Your job is to provide safe, competent care. When you first start working in nursing, there are things to overcome, such as your own inhibitions about personal privacy and modesty as it pertains to your patients. However, with time and practice, you will learn to safeguard their privacy even when you must expose them.

It isn't about touchy-feely. It's about trust and competency. That should be your primary focus, especially as it sounds like the skills your patients are going to rely on you to deliver may (at least initially) be your weakness.

MrChicagoRN, RN

2,597 Posts

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

It'd feel more awkward if it was me who was dependent on another to be bathed, wiped, and dressed.


3 Articles; 10,428 Posts

Education in how to care for patients, combined with years on this earth, will help you get past that :)


34 Posts

I think it can be awkward trying to dress another person when you are not used to it. I still am catching myself putting the wrong sleeve first, etc. I even put someone's shirt on backwards today. The client and I had a good laugh about it and told her that she needs to train me better! :)

New skills can be awkward at first but if you stick with it, it becomes more routine and easier for you (and the client). I really like being a CNA but am looking forward to nursing school in March. I say try it and see if that is what you want to do for your first job!

Good luck!



16 Posts

I felt the same way when I first became a CNA but honestly it seems like it would be awkward but it is not. Your clinicals while you are in your class will help you ALOT. They let you do care on the patient, I found it awkward with someone watching me but when I got a job I got my own swing of doing things and its so much easier. Just get to know your residents and find out the way they like things done. When I first started I asked for tips on each resident and how the other girls handled them.

If your heart is in your job then it will definitely not be awkward. I love my residents and I would take a bullet for them, If you are not just there for the paycheck then you will actually really enjoy it. You develop great bonds with people since you are doing such personal care for them.

Just a quick tip, try to work at an Assisted Living facility!

Good Luck :)


6 Posts

I agree with previous posters. It was a little awkward at first, but you just have to remain mature and eventually you'll get used to it. The first couple days of clinicals were slightly awkward for me, but after that it was a walk in the park. No biggy :)


1,335 Posts

Specializes in hospice.

Treat them how you'd like to be treated if it was you on the receiving end and you had no real choice about maintaining your modesty/dignity about certain types of personal care.

This is the most important thing to remember in your job. If you can't imagine yourself in the situation, then think about how you would want your grandma/grandpa, mom/dad, or sister/brother to be treated by the staff. No matter how awkward it feels, or if you're not great at things at first, if you just remember to be sensitive and kind like you would want for a family member, the rest comes. Later, when you become more skilled and efficient, remember still to treat kindly, because it can be easy to forget that once you gain some speed and lose the awkwardness.

I'm nearly 40 and have been an CNA for only 2 years, and it was crazy awkward for me at first too. Of course I had done these things for my children, but it's totally different with non-related adults. You'll get over that part pretty quickly and it will be just part of your job. Don't let that hold you back. We all get used to it.


837 Posts

It was awkward at first. I think *I* was more uncomfortable than the patient! But it does get easier as you go on.


7 Posts

The hardest part for me is wiping residents,particularly male residents.During my clinicals I was helping toilet an elderly man with dementia,I had to wipe him while he yelled at me to stop.I continued to wipe until he was clean,took him to his room and then ran to the bathroom to cry...I hate that part of being a CNA.I do not like doing things to them that upset them even if it is for their own good.:(

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