Hi, everyone! During our brief time together, let’s discuss the frequently forgotten but essential skill of making a bed. Some readers are thinking, “Why are we discussing this topic, and why should I be an expert at making a bed?” So, for those that are unfamiliar with the importance of mastering this essential skill, I will shine a light on its significance in a nurse’s playbook. As a nurse working in the real world, you are chiefly responsible for all aspects of patient care. Some readers are saying, “Yes this is true, but I can delegate this task to a certified nursing assistant.” Then, I will quickly rebut, ” Touché you are certainly correct, but who will you delegate that task to if you don’t have a certified nursing assistant?” Typically, after that remark, I gaze upon a bewildered expression that simply translates to ” It looks like I will be delegating that to myself.”

For some nurses, making the bed while a patient is occupying it would be a mere walk in a park. While for others, this simple but important skill will be like climbing Mount Everest with limited training. Certainly you know that it’s possible to climb this mountain. However, my point being, “How long will it take to complete this task?” As a working nurse, it is paramount that you provide the best care, but is just as important that you are efficient because every patient must be seen. As a nurse working in an inpatient setting, I have witnessed nurses struggle with this essential skill when a certified nursing assistant was not present. To be frank, it is a luxury to have certified nursing assistants on the staff because many units are short-staffed, or patients are considered total cares. While working on various units, I have heard several nurses say, “They did not teach me that skill in nursing school.” As a result of their claim, many of the nurses that overheard this account replied, “Every student must perform this skill during their nursing skills lab to proceed in participating in actual inpatient care. You simply forgot how to make-up a bed and became dependent on the certified nursing assistant.”

This is how a nurse looks after struggling to make a patient's bed.

A nurse’s reaction while struggling to make a patient’s bed.

As a nurse, I agree with the sentiments of my colleagues. So, I must say, with the greatest confidence, I am certain that EVERY nursing program teaches this essential skill to ALL nursing students. For those that did not grasp my feeble attempt at wit, typically nurses do not utilize those words in our vocabulary because it may not appropriately illustrate the behaviors or symptoms of a population or disease respectively. But, in this matter, as a nurse, I am confident in utilizing the collective word ALL. While working in this profession, it is important to master this basic skill because you will save yourself time. Also, you will visualize the fruits of your labor intact and not coiled under a patient’s feet or scattered on the floor.

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So, current and future nursing students, I challenge you to master this important skill. While in the nursing lab, if a fellow classmate expresses displeasure because he or she believes that this is not a nursing skill. Please pass along the knowledge that nurses handle all aspects of patient care.


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Ashley Wagner
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