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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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