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Talkin' Shop...Volume 6...Dissecting Reader's Digest.

Holy moly. Well, after several weeks off (and by several weeks I mean 4 months) and some requests to GET ON THE BALL again with this series, here we are! School is back in session!

If you'll recall, way back in Novemberish, I decided to take apart a Reader's Digest article titled, "50 Secrets Your Nurse Won't Tell You" (Michelle, Crouch. "50 Secrets Your Nurse Won't Tell You." Reader's Digest. November 2011: 132-42. Print), mostly because I disagreed with a lot of the quotes but also because I love nothing more than to "Talk Shop".

If you want to catch up, feel free to read Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4 or Vol 5, although none of them are imperative to understanding "what's next". This is ain't no movie sequel! ;)

Okay, today we're going to take this quote:

"A lot of my patients are incontinent and I'm supposed to just use a wet washcloth to clean them. But if it's a patient who's been really nice and appreciative, I'll go all the way to intensive care to get some of the heated wet wipes, which are a lot more gentle. somebody who's constantly yelling at me? I just use the washcloth." -A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida
Hmmmm...okay, so most of my patients have a certain degree of "incontinence" during second stage (yes, most women DO poop while they push a baby out) so I can weigh in here.

We have those wet wipes and to be honest, I prefer using washcloths because A) I feel that the wet wipes leave a residue behind (who cares? I dunno, maybe no one.) and B) I actually feel that the washcloths are more gentle. No chemicals, just warm water.

Here's the other thing...I try to keep in mind what I would want someone to do for me if I were laying in that bed. Some nurses just keep swiping away the poop with the blue chux (those blue plastic-y absorbent "puppy pads"), two thoughts on that...on the one hand it's discreet, just a simple "I need to change this pad" and swipe while we pull and voila, done and done. On the other hand, most woman know they've pooped because they can either feel it or smell it.

So, while still trying to be discreet, I prefer to take a warm washcloth to really get a pushing mama cleaned up every so often for marathon pushing sessions. All women get a fairly decent "spray down" after delivery which typically is good enough until it's time to tub a short while later.

Now, I can't speak for the nurse above, but I'm assuming s/he works with elderly patients whose skin is more sensitive to break down and tears, especially if they are chronically incontinent (as opposed to only when they're pushing a child out of their womb, you know, a slight difference, right?). Perhaps the wash cloths are too rough on aged skin, which is why she prefers the wet wipes.

Regardless, it's kind of a mean statement. However, I'll agree, it can be hard to be chipper and kind to someone who is constantly demanding, unappreciative, and difficult. Everyone still deserves to be treated with kindness, however.

Like my Gram always says, "Kill 'em with kindness." Over the top kindness can oftentimes win over even the most difficult people!


  1. I think the kindness thing goes both ways. When I was 11 I was in a car accident and stuck in the hospital for 9.5 weeks. I definitely had my favorite nurses, and had the ones where I dreaded their shift. I admit that I would be extra difficult for the nurses who were not kind to me.

  2. I can relate to the nurse above because often your first response is to be kinder to those that are kinder to you. But our natural response I think we should shy away from. It's hard to walk into a room and respond with kindness when they're demanding and unrealistic about your time. Or the patient that's confused and incontinent 10 times a shift. But I think back to my grandmother who was hospitalized and she had Alzheimers and I'm sure was extremely difficult. I keep this in the back mind and try to give the same care I would have wanted her nurse to give her.


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