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Nurses and Patient Modesty

Nurses and Patient Modesty

Brittney Wilson | The Nerdy Nurse

Perhaps it is because nurses are consistently voted as the most trusted profession, but some patients and their family really do let it all hang out. Not that I don’t want my patients to be completely comfortable with and all procedures that we encounter together, but there is something to be said for an effort to maintain modesty. We owe it to our patients to give them the privacy and maintain their modesty, and we do it compassionately and with great care.

I have had a few occasions where people get a little too comfortable, or at least maybe I just get a little to uncomfortable.

Once I was taking care of a patient and their family member walked into the room. I had never met this person before. The family member was asking me questions and having idle chit chat with me as I assessing the patient, and scanning medications. As I looked up and attempted to make eye contact I realized the family member was in the bathroom, door wide open looking right at me continuing the conversation. There she was, pants around her ankles, mid-stream.

I must admit, I was incredibly embarrassed by this. I attempted to not to let me notice, as I did not want to embarrass her. I finished with the patient, spoke enough to end the conversation politely, and walked out of the room feeling dirty.

I know she meant no harm by this, but really, I just don’t get how some people are just okay with sharing certain things. To me, the bathroom is a personal and private venture. If you are my patient, it is one thing, but geez lady, I just don’t need to see all that. Just like in procedures, we reveal only the parts of the body needed to maintain privacy and preserve modesty, and I would think people would want to do the same for themselves.

And maybe this is just me being weird, but I get so uncomfortable when my 20 something female patients who are walkie talkies just walk around the room butt-naked. No particular reason, just walking around butt-naked having a conversation about the weather.

Just because I am a nurse does not mean I need to see every inch of your body. Also, while we are on the topic of things I don’t need to see as a nurse.

Your poop. Unless I ask to see it, or the bowl is full of blood: flush it — please.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    6 months ago


    Ok, I have been in the medical/nursing field for 40 years. I have seen a lot of patient nudity, and I tried to minimize it as much as possible. But there are situation. where nudity just is and you have a job to do: wound care, place catheters, bathing (though you can drape as much as possible), and prep for surgery. Just do the job and get it over with in a professional manner. I used to have to catheterize female patients, and I always looked for a female nurse to do it for me. If none were available, I asked the patient if they would mind if I did the deed, as I was it. They always said: :Just do it." I was efficient and made sure curtains were pulled around the bed, and I draped as well as I could. They were grateful for my professional manner.
    I went to the delivery room one time to draw blood. The young woman was completely nude laying on a table in labor. I asked if she wanted a sheet over her and she said no. I put the tourniquet on her arm and drew the blood. I averted my eyes so I would only see her arm. Still I got an eyeful, but I was calm and very quiet and got the labs, I thanked her for being cooperative and left. There are so many incidents like this in my nursing career. Then two years ago, I began the first of the my two surgeries. The first one was just a lap-cholecystecomy. It was routine, but I woke up a little dizzy and had to urinate. The nurse sat me up and then I stood up and she held the urinal and my penis so I could pee. I appreciated her matter of fact manner. Then a year later I had to have penile surgery from a female urologist. This was difficult at first, but she was so nice. She examined my penis and the rest. Then next visit she had to have an ultrasound of my penis, to do this she had to stick needles in my penis to inflate it for the ultrasound. Her female assistant held my penis while she gave the shot. This was a little weird, but I knew they were doing their job. After the surgery, I had to be examined by her a week later. Then at six weeks, she had to inflate the penile protheses for the first time. That was very strange, but again she was kind. So that was the year of my serial nudity with nurses, doctors and technicians. Last week, I had a complete skin check done at my derm. doc's office. Again with the nudity. This is just a part of medicine and nursing which will not go away. We, as professional, need to adjust our attitudes, be discreet and be very professional about what we have to do. Thanks, Gary, RN

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Good One.... dental implants

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