What I would expect is first that the nurse would want to check that the reason you’re getting up so frequently is that your bladder is not fully emptying when you wee naturally. They can do this by means of an ultra sound scanner - which comes in a portable form so could be done at your home. What they do is scan your bladder when it’s full and then after you’ve been to the loo to see how much residue is left in your bladder. (They may not do this, she (I assume it’s a female, equally I’m assuming you are!) may just work on the assumption that you are retaining urine.)
Then assuming it’s decided that you’re going ahead with ISC, she will talk you through the process. Essentially what happens when you self catheterise is that you pass a hand held small catheter into your urethra and to the bladder. You can do this either sitting on the loo or directly into a collection bag (through tubing that attaches to the end of the catheter. The process is done in a ‘clean’ but not ‘sterile’ way. The catheters themselves are sterile, and you should wash your hands before starting, but you can’t expect to do it in a completely sterile way. You just use a wet wipe to make she the exterior of the urethra is clean and that’s it.
The nurse will talk about the different makes of catheter and generally will have a stock of samples to show you. The best kind of catheters are those which are made of hydrophilic plastic. This means they become lubricated with a small amount of water (which is contained within the package), and are much more frictionless so easier to slide in. The nurse I saw asked which one I wanted to try. Being a complete novice I just said ‘anyone will do’! I would suggest that when you are first learning to do ISC, opting for a catheter which is fairly rigid but also hydrophilic is a good idea. A good make is Coloplasts Speedicath. There are several different variants, you can get one with an attached bag, which is a good idea to start with. They also do a very neat little one called Speedicath Eve (very discreet packaging). But there are many more to choose from.
What I would try to avoid is a catheter that’s too flexible. If you imagine trying to thread a piece of cooked spaghetti into a straw with a blindfold on and keeping the spaghetti from touching anything but the straw, you’ll see why a more rigid catheter is a good idea, especially at first.
Often people learn to do it while looking in a mirror. It definitely helps to have had a look yourself before the nurse comes. We are frequently woefully unfamiliar with our own anatomy ‘downstairs’ so to speak. So have a look so you know what the urethra opening looks like and where it is found is helpful.
I started doing ISC sitting on the bed with my legs up and a mirror positioned so I could see what I was doing, and with a connecting tube going to a bag lower down. (At that time I could manage to manoeuvre myself into such a position!) Some people manage to do it on the loo with a mirror right from the start.
The nurse needs to see that you are capable of doing it for yourself so will have to be quite up close and personal. I used to be very reserved and shy about doing things like having someone watch while I tried to poke a tube up my urethra. But pretended I wasn’t! These days I’ll show almost anyone anything if they want to see. But then I’ve been doing ISC for about 7 ish years now.
After a few months of doing ISC twice per day, I decided just to try and do it sitting on the loo without being able to see what I was doing. To my great surprise I managed it first time and have done it that way ever since. My bladder is a bit of a drama queen and after I’d had a huge relapse some years ago, it stopped being able to wee ‘normally’ at all, so I use a catheter every time I go.
This whole process might be done over two or three visits, or just in one go, it depends on how it’s managed in your area.
Once you’ve got started with ISC, you’ll be set up with a delivery company who will deliver your catheter supplies, usually monthly. It should all run fairly smoothly, if you later want to change to a different type or make of catheter, you can request samples to try out to se which you like best.
Good luck with it, there are lots of us on here who use ISC, so if you have more questions just ask.