So today we had our 3rd week of lab. Lab has been focusing on the head to toe assessment. We had to learn to do the head to toe assessment last year, but we did that as nursing students. This year we are learning to do the head to toe assessment as nurse practitioner students and let me tell you, there is a difference.
Nurses can assess, but they can't diagnose. Nurse practitioners, like medical doctors, can diagnose, write orders for further tests, and/or write orders for drugs. So you have to learn to do the assessment on an elevated level.
There are lots of things between the head and toes: cranial nerves, heart sounds, lymph chains, muscles, reflexes, boobs. Yes, boobs.
Everyone has a lab partner. This is good because you need a real body to feel real aspects of the human anatomy. It's nice to use your partner as your constant "body", however, your partner gets to use your body too.
So, today we go to lab and our professor is set up in the middle of the lab with a box. She opens it and there are the boobs. She props the dummy boobs up and begins to explain about the breast exam. It was awful. The whole class was anxiously nervous. To make matters worse, she kept moving the boobs so the whole class could see them, and just like real boobs, they jiggled. Every time the boobs jiggled a nervous laughter filled the room. The professor was unaware the boobs were jiggling and kept telling us there was no reason for us to be nervous and we all needed to relax and take charge of the situation. Then she'd move the boobs again and they would jiggle and we would laugh. So she showed us how to make deep circles around the boobs starting distally and then moving proximally to the nipple. The exam ends with a tweak of the nipple, that is the incorrect way to say compress between the forefinger and thumb.
Then it was time to break off in pairs and reveal our pairs. It was somewhat embarrassing. But we just owned the situation and did it. I'm so ticklish though and was practically laughing the whole time. I just stared at the ceiling and endured it. When I had to do my partner it wasn't nearly that bad and she didn't respond as I had which made it easier for me.
It was a crazy experience, but it could definitely be worse. Other specialties (midwifery, women's health) have to use their partners too and as they say, "they know each other inside and out". I'll have to learn how to do pelvics and testicular exams too, but luckily for that we get surrogates. People the school pays for us to use - I have both a male and female day scheduled for that. Like I said, it could be worse.