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Nursing School Lessons


So, TINS, TIWFDASL, years and years and years ago. I was in nursing school clinicals, and working for EMS in Da City. This was so long ago, that HIV/AIDS was not even on the horizon.

One day in clinicals, I was cleaning up an incontinent patient, and my instructor motioned me outside once I was done and the patient tucked in to a nice clean bed, and he, himself, was clean and dry and in a clean gown.

She began: “Mr. McFee, You did very well keeping the patient covered so that he would not get chilled as you bathed him. There is, however, one item I ought to call to your attention.”

“Yes, ma’am? What is that?”

“I noticed that you were wearing gloves. That concerns me, because your patient might feel insulted at your wearing gloves for personal care.”

I responded, “So, you are telling me that the fact that I am wearing gloves to clean a patient who has been incontinent, of stool at that, might be seen as insulting?”

“Yes, Mr. McFee, that is exactly what I am telling you.”

“Well, ma’am, I worked last night, on the ambulance. I spent the night crawling in and out of cars, and over broken glass, removing injured people. I probably have a thousand little cuts on my hands alone. I am pretty certain that any patient of mine will get over their hurt feelings way before I recover from Hepatitis B. But, you are the instructor, and I am the student. Let’s write down your directions for me in this matter, and make a couple of copies. We’ll both sign each copy. That way you will have a copy, establishing what you directed me to do, I will have a copy and therefore cannot claim that you never told me to do what you told me, and there will be no questions moving forward what I am to do.”

She looked aghast. “I am not going to write that down! No way!”

I smiled. “Thanks for the counseling session. I will certainly keep your words in mind, moving forward!”


8 thoughts on “Nursing School Lessons

  1. It is hard to believe a preceptor was *that* clueless even in the days before HIV, but I’m sure it was true.. Did she have an issue with men in HER profession? Besides, if the patient was bad enough off to lose bowel control they probably weren’t oriented enough to even remember you were wearing gloves.

    This story gives a whole new spin to “document, document, document”.


  2. OMFG! The mantra around here is new gloves for every procedure even though it’s with the same client. And, if you ain’t willing to put your directions down in writing, then you know you’re wrong. Besides, how will the patient FEEL about getting a blood-borne disease from their butt cleaner. (full disclosure: one of my former co-workers never wore gloves doing client toileting. He’s gone. He also ate the client’s canned cat food despite being repeatedly told to knock it off.)


    1. “…he ate the client’s canned cat food…”

      Srsly? Holy dawg, I think you win this week’s edition of “Can You Top This?”

      Thanks for the moment. And, the comment.


      1. And, when our hero spotted a piece of dropped steak gristle on the floor, he asked “You gonna eat that?”. Boy, did I hear about that the next day! There is more; I will spare you. He’s kinda-sorta working PRN now… God help us.


  3. Moar McFee! Esteemed BierMonkey (my personal moniker for you), you should publish your experiences in a book; at the least, you could step up the pace of blog posting. However, given that you are busy herding cats alongside cameos in new episodes of the reality show insane asylum known as modern healthcare, you are excused and thanked.


  4. I remember those days fondly… at nursing school and the old bats that despised men in the profession. I worked nursing homes and with staffing agencies while in school and we didn’t wear gloves for bed changes. Once assigned to a local hospital for an aide, I put my application that morning after my graveyard shift and by the afternoon that day was hired! I never went back to nursing homes. They had a House Orderly position that I filled. Worked directly under the 3rd shift Nursing Supervisor. I wore gloves all the time then…. I learned more about nursing then what was being taught at the nursing program at the Community College.


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