I am a new grad in Labor & Delivery and I began working in a large teaching facility in August. I was informed that nurses here are "not allowed" to do vaginal exams. While on orientation on day shift, my preceptor told me that she has been working at this hospital for 27 years and has never learned to do a vaginal exam. I was told that this is their policy because they want the residents to be very involved in the patient's care and also to strengthen their skills. My preceptor also mentioned that nurses are "not allowed" to perform vaginal exams so that the number of exams are minimized to decrease the risk of infection.
I started working on night shift this week and found out that a lot of the night shift nurses do vaginal exams when the residents are occupied. Friday night when I was working, one of the residents offered to let me do a couple of vaginal exams since, as he put it, "it's a skill you should learn and most other hospitals allow nurses to check their patients." Without thinking much about it, I decided to check the patient along with the resident. Now I am nervous about whether that was a good idea or not...
To other nurses who work under similar circumstances... can I get in trouble for doing cervical checks if I'm "not allowed"? Should I continue to try to learn this skill or should I not do this anymore? I'm afraid that if I don't learn this skill it will make it more difficult to find a job at a different hospital later on. But I also don't want to risk getting in trouble with my current job because so far I have a good reputation.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.