I remember my first time inserting a catheter…


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There are few things more terrifying than that moment when you graduate from a mannequin with perfectly engineered anatomy to a real, living (and sometimes kicking) human being. Especially when it comes to getting up close and personal to your patient with a catheter…for the very first time.

Needless to say, the success rate isn’t exactly optimal among first-timers, and if you’re one of the unlucky ones, things can really get weird. Fascinated by your responses to one nurse’s description of her first fumble on our Funny Nurses Facebook page, we thought we’d gather a few of our favorites into a single, cringe-worthy post.

Prepare to relive your own “first time”:

1. “My first time inserting a catheter in a male patient, I noticed a lot of movement under the sheet. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was getting it erect for me! I was a student at the time and I was thinking, ‘Did they forget to tell me that in lab?'” —Jessica B.

2. “My first time, the patient was so nervous and had already had two other students attempt it. I asked her what I could do to help her relax, she asked me to sing ‘The Sheldon Song’ from The Big Bang Theory. And I did…ya do what ya gotta do.” —Jen I. 

3. “My first IDC was a 90+ yo lady who proclaimed loudly, ‘It’s a deep dark tunnel down there!'” —Kathryn J.

4. “I remember trying to help a new nurse with a male patient. She couldn’t get it in. He had a large…prostate…lol. I kept trying to explain how to point and stretch. I finally gave up and said, ‘Choke the chicken!’ She got it!” —Marsha Y.

5. “I’m convinced every woman has a decoy meatus.” —Kara M.

6. “Had a horrid instructor for my first cath who said she was only giving me one try, which of course I botched. She huffily took a new catheter, said, ‘This is how you do it’ and failed, too! LOL. Couldn’t laugh, then a bit afterwards, my patient said, ‘Well, we showed her, dearie’ and I thought I’d die. Karma.” —Maria D.

7. “I had a pt with two penises! I was brand-new out of school and asked the charge nurse, ‘Which one do I try?’ She said, ‘Do both until you get a urine return!’ Talk about a shocker!” —Susan N.

8. “There are times that I utilize the ‘Jedi Method.’ When you have looked and poked so many times, stop looking. Stand up, take a deep breath and just make the movements without looking. Nine times out of 10, this works for me. Is it the most sterile? Of course not, but seriously—what Foley insertion is ever truly sterile?” —Mark O.

9. “My first was a very large male patient in the ED with severe CHF exacerbation. Well, everything was large except his penis. I literally could not find it. It was so small it was almost even with his skin. Before that day I never knew it was possible for one to be that small. That situation broke me in quickly!” —Heather R.

10. “Still looking for the ‘wink.'” —Rose B.

Have a story? Don’t be shy—share away in the comments section below!

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