Teaching Women ISC: Nurses' Perspective

Posted by Bev Collins, February 19 2020

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For many women, Intermittent Self Catheterisation (ISC) is a simple and effective solution to managing their bladder problems. However, obstacles can arise when teaching and learning that can impact long-term adherence to the therapy.


We spoke to 3 nurses who regularly teach ISC, to find out what key challenges they face when teaching women ISC.  Here are their responses.

What do you think your patients feel when they come to your clinic to learn ISC?

‘Nervous. Anxious. Embarrassed’
‘Scared. A clinical situation is fine, but they then have to start thinking about where and how they would do it at home’
‘Worried, that it is going to be difficult, and it is going to hurt’

Although ISC is a simple therapy, there can be a lot of emotions surrounding the prospect of learning the technique. While initial anxiety is understandable – after all ISC is a completely new way to manage a basic body function – there is really no need to worry. Nurses who teach ISC are experienced at putting patients at ease and the procedure itself is not that difficult.

What do your female patients find most difficult when it comes to learning ISC?

‘Understanding their own anatomy’
‘Finding the right position to insert the catheter’
Finding the right space to put the catheter in’

While women tend to accept the need to perform ISC quicker than men, they often struggle more with overcoming physical barriers. The nurses we spoke to confirm that reaching and locating the entrance to the urethra is the single most challenging issue for women learning to perform ISC. To help them better understand their anatomy, nurses teach women the best position in which to catheterise and will often use a mirror, diagrams or visual aids. Despite initial concerns, most women find that after a little practice, ISC becomes second nature and can be performed without much disruption to their normal daily routine.

Wellspect recently surveyed nurses across the UK to explore common challenges that occur when teaching women ISC, to read the full survey report click the button below:

Download the Survey Report

If you're interested in learning more about women's bladder health and the common treatments, use the button below to download our handy guide:

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Topics: Women's Health, Bladder Management, ISC