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You Could Learn a Lot from a Dummy! (I did.)

Updated: Feb 28

Front Range Community College offers a wonderful Certified Nurse’s Aid (CNA) training program. The state exam is brutal; there are 25 different skills with multiple, order-dependent steps. It’s a lot for students to remember. For that reason, the college hired me to capture the skills on video so that students could review them visually. This proved to be a great idea; more students than ever have passed the state exam as a result.

We spent a full day filming, The instructor, Suzanne Sevy, demonstrated all the skills from start to finish. A former instructor served as the “elderly patient,” and the current instructor demonstrated a variety of skills, such as how to weigh a patient, how to dress a patient with an affected limb, how to safely transfer a patient to a wheelchair, how to feed someone who cannot feed themself, how to brush a person’s teeth, how to take a blood pressure, how to place and remove a bedpan, etc.

Some skills were demonstrated without the patient, such as how to measure urine output (fake urine used for filming of course), how to wash your hands correctly, and how to don and remove gloves and gowns without cross-contamination.

For more delicate matters, such as how to wash the nether region, we filmed with a mannequin. Notably, the mannequin was named “Burt,” and (s)he sported both a man’s head AND female genitalia. Interesting! Mix-up at the factory, perhaps...I’m not sure. Or, maybe some students had a little fun at some point...the body parts appeared to be interchangeable.

I learned a lot that day. If I ever need to intimately care for someone, thanks to this amazingly knowledgeable instructor (and Burt), I know know how to fold and use all the different parts of a washcloth in order to bathe said person’s perineal area.

In all seriousness, though, it was fascinating to see everything that these CNA’s need to learn in order to do their job right. I have gained a new respect for those in that field. Yet another day of exposure to yet another part of this world I otherwise would not have known.

Just another day at the office! (Or should I say, orifice!)


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