View Full Version : From a Student


coccia81
12-19-2007, 01:58 PM
Ok, this will sound strange/disgusting....I have a really hard time dealing with poop/pee. I can't change a depends or a bedpan without gagging to the point of almost vomiting. Even being in a room that smells like poop makes me gag. My fellow students know this about me and help whenever they can. (They also think its hilarious).

Does anyone else have this problem? How does everyone deal with it?

geenaRN
12-19-2007, 04:04 PM
I truly don't know how you could get through school avoiding the smell of poop or pee. I'm also interested in hearing other people's responses :)

PixelRN
12-19-2007, 04:31 PM
If I were you I would consider a career in community health nursing, where you will come in contact with very few bodily fluids.

Otherwise, suck it up (not literally, of course) and get over it. Nursing will get a lot more messy than just a little pee and poop. Wait till you get to blood, vomit, and the horror of all horrors, SPUTUM!!!!

:santaclaus:
Merry Christmas

(I was trying to find a smiley that puked but instead I'll settle for Santa Claus.)

Julie
12-19-2007, 06:31 PM
If I were you I would consider a career in community health nursing, where you will come in contact with very few bodily fluids.

You can't guarantee that you won't experience them withing people's homes I am afraid (speaking as a district (home) nurse).

I guess you get used to it, plus in my opinion there are worse things - vomit and peoples false eyes to name but 2 (yes someone handed me their eye to clean once!)

NurseSean
12-19-2007, 08:21 PM
I think the writer about community nursing, not home care. Community nursing involves policy planning, health promotion/prevention program implementation etc. Whereas, as you know, home care is going to a patient's house to perform direct care. So, very little body fluids.

I know some places use them interchangeably, but they are very different.

Sean :)

You can't guarantee that you won't experience them withing people's homes I am afraid (speaking as a district (home) nurse).

I guess you get used to it, plus in my opinion there are worse things - vomit and peoples false eyes to name but 2 (yes someone handed me their eye to clean once!)

P/J
12-20-2007, 12:36 AM
sorry coccia81, but you are going to have to get over it, and you will in time. I have the same problem and I find that when I have a problem (I flush and dry reach) I tend to be thinking about it and not the patient. I have been cleaning up someone and they were a bit tender down there, as soon as they winced my mind moved from what I was handling, to helping my patient be more comfortable.

When I get nervous I start breathing through my nose which doesn't help. I spoke to my educator about it and she suggested that I ask people their own strategies, and that I would get over it eventually. Everyone has their weakness, I can handle everything but feaces, but others have problems with blood, sputum, urine, etc.

But don't worry too much over it, the more experience you get the better you will be with it. Move fast when you have to be involved in it. See it not as poo and pee but as digested material or see it as a full pan (but it could be full of anything). When there is a smell in the room, it is because there is someone dirty in the room. If someone is soiled (even with urine) you might have to wash them. Clean gown and bed linen! If it is feesable air out the room, by opening a window and door. Many hospitals now have aroma therapy for patients. Depending on hospital protocol you might need patient consent, but some lavender oil in hot water will soon permeate the room, and most people like it.

Learn the tricks to be diapers of patients (nurses will show you). Breath through your MOUTH only. And focus on the patient and their care not the finer details of what they have just done to spoil your perfect shift until peeing in the diaper you just put on them, because they thought that because you put it on them they can just go in it instead of calling for a nurse). Hope this is of help.

Julie
12-20-2007, 03:06 AM
I think you are right Sean. In the UK community nursing is about the care of patients with long term conditions, the elderly and others who choose to be in their own homes but who need the input of a nurse.

Public health nursing is about health planning, protection and illness prevention.

Having said that, as a nurse you can never say never and a patient might think it slighly odd as you run out of the door having encountered something unpleasant!

MyOwnWoman
12-20-2007, 10:04 AM
Hmmm, problems with poop and pee huh? How about vomit, sputum, GI bleeds, maggots in wounds, maggots in eye sockets, C-diff odor, pseudomonas odor, or a patient that has been found on the floor after 3 days that is covered in old and new feces and urine? Let's not forget the person who has been in a fire and the smell of burning flesh that stays with you for days. I'm sure there are other odors that I've forgotten to mention.

I use Vicks in my nose covered with a mask for the strong odors, but other than that, I thought most nurses can clean up poop with their left hand while eating a sandwich with their right.

Good luck in getting your fellow nurses to clean up poop and pee during your nursing career!

PS: After re-reading this post, it sounds so harsh and I don't mean to be; but the reality of nursing is that you will, at one time or another; more often than not, be up to your eyeballs in some sort of bodily fluid. Heck, I've even had a trach patient cough and spit a hocker on me that wrapped around my wrist....talk about gagging!

geenaRN
12-20-2007, 02:50 PM
Ugh... pseudomonas... HATE that smell. GI bleed poo is pretty bad, too.

Humans sure are capable of generating some pretty icky odors. :bawling:

Julie
12-20-2007, 04:03 PM
What about that malaena stool smell (blood plus poo)!? Gangrenous wounds are pretty bad too. Sad to say that horrid type wound smells used to make my mouth kind of water. Not because I liked them but because I welcomed the challenge!!

geenaRN
12-20-2007, 05:23 PM
What about that malaena stool smell (blood plus poo)!? Gangrenous wounds are pretty bad too. Sad to say that horrid type wound smells used to make my mouth kind of water. Not because I liked them but because I welcomed the challenge!!

Um.... Julie? That's kind of weird. :secret:

Julie
12-20-2007, 05:28 PM
Thats me!!
:curtsey:

awdry_02
12-20-2007, 07:29 PM
i guess you should learn how to live with it..

every one has their own points of weaknesses. you just have to try to overcome these things.

by the way, that is just the beginning or the start of some (gross) stuff your going to encounter.

little by little, step by step you will get use to it. and soon enough you'll get over it:proud:

Marachne
12-20-2007, 10:00 PM
yeah, I think creepy crawlies (i.e. maggots) are one of the worst. I've never been bothered by sputum like some folks, even when having to do some heavy duty suctioning -- what I hate is the reaction of the patient -- I hate it when I feel like I torturing someone, even if it is for their good!

As for smelly wounds, I was so happy when they started letting us use metronidazole on really odoriferous wounds -- it helps so much, and think about what the poor patient is dealing with living w/the smell!

The worst wound ever--Julie, I doubt you'd be salivating, more like crying like the rest of us--was a patient with advanced rectal cancer. The wound started mid thigh, when out to the hips and up to the coccyx. Took about two hours to change and he had c-diff so was stooling constantly this foul nasty stuff. Tried to change it every few hours, but.... Poor man couldn't sit or lie down -- slept kneeling on pillows draped over the bed, leaned on a bedside table for support instead of sitting...and had the most beautiful teenaged daughter. Whole situation was heartbreaking.

P/J
12-21-2007, 04:42 AM
It is the thought of it which is getting to you. I have smelt and been covered by some strange things, and pseudomonas is nothing compared to a lot of them. STORY TIME **The nurses kept talking about a pts wound which was infected and smelt. I went in there to clean and repack it, the sight of her spine was what got me (back ulcer 20cm x 8cm, visible spine). I cleaned it and repacked it with no fuss after the inital shock. Left the room with my educator and she turned to me and asked how I did it without gaging, all I could say was 'I'm a microbiologist, I've smelt worse!'. I was used to the smell of pseudomonas so it didn't phase me.

But back to my last post, you just have to stop thinking about it; think about the patient and how they will have a sore bot-bot (yeh real medical terms here) and if you don't clean it properly.

Mr Ian
12-23-2007, 11:27 AM
ok, this might get moderated out of the forum.... but...

old nurse orientation story here...

Quiet back ward for slow rehab psych (loosely meant 'lifers' in the mental house). Usually ran smoothly and everyone got on ok with everyone. So any opportunity for a giggle.

old charge nurse directs staff nurse to get the broom and wipe marmite/vegemite and peanut butter onto it.

new starter comes in and is getting the orientation in the office from charge nurse.

staff nurse comes in with broom saying 'one of them patients has been doing a manual evacuation again with the ward broom'.

charge nurse says 'who?'; staff nurse 'not sure'

Charge nurse takes broom, looks at it, smells it.. wipes his finger through it and tastes it. Then tells staff nurse 'That tastes like Bryn's, go check him out will you'.

New starter passes or fails depending on response.

Bodily fluids don't bother me a lot tho I've had limited exposure to them anyhow.

geenaRN
12-23-2007, 02:09 PM
Charge nurse takes broom, looks at it, smells it.. wipes his finger through it and tastes it. Then tells staff nurse 'That tastes like Bryn's, go check him out will you'.

New starter passes or fails depending on response.


Pray do tell the responses you got :laugh:

MyOwnWoman
12-23-2007, 09:34 PM
Charge nurse takes broom, looks at it, smells it.. wipes his finger through it and tastes it. Then tells staff nurse 'That tastes like Bryn's, go check him out will you'.

New starter passes or fails depending on response.

Bodily fluids don't bother me a lot tho I've had limited exposure to them anyhow.


I have to admit.....if you could take that without breaking out into a sweat, a grin, or a down out laugh...you'd probably fit in with most of the patients at least.

KimRN
12-26-2007, 03:57 PM
I use Vicks in my nose covered with a mask for the strong odors, but other than that, I thought most nurses can clean up poop with their left hand while eating a sandwich with their right.

Only when pregnant did I have problems with this, but I always thought the vicks on a mask was a good idea.

Mother Jones, RN
12-26-2007, 05:50 PM
Here's a tip that I learned a long time ago about dealing with a "code brown." It's a fact, poop stinks, and there is nothing pleasant about poop patrol. When I was in nursing school, I use to see old time nurse crush up mint leaves and rub them under their nose before dealing with any smelly mess. The mint scent was very helpful, and kept me from upchucking my cookies on more than one occasion.

MJ :pepsi:

P/J
12-26-2007, 06:04 PM
The mint scent was very helpful, and kept me from upchucking my cookies on more than one occasion.


Thanks for reminding me. I have heard of using two STRONG mints; chew one, to get the initial burst, while sucking on the second. You can get some strong ones which are small. XXXX is one that is available in Aust.

KimRN
12-27-2007, 11:48 AM
ok, this might get moderated out of the forum.... but...

old nurse orientation story here...

Quiet back ward for slow rehab psych (loosely meant 'lifers' in the mental house). Usually ran smoothly and everyone got on ok with everyone. So any opportunity for a giggle.

old charge nurse directs staff nurse to get the broom and wipe marmite/vegemite and peanut butter onto it.

new starter comes in and is getting the orientation in the office from charge nurse.

staff nurse comes in with broom saying 'one of them patients has been doing a manual evacuation again with the ward broom'.

charge nurse says 'who?'; staff nurse 'not sure'

Charge nurse takes broom, looks at it, smells it.. wipes his finger through it and tastes it. Then tells staff nurse 'That tastes like Bryn's, go check him out will you'.

New starter passes or fails depending on response.

Bodily fluids don't bother me a lot tho I've had limited exposure to them anyhow.

Back in the day, I worked nights in a post-CCU where the PM nurses were, shall we say "old fogies". In those days we would check sugars using urines (no glucometers in existance!). We gave report in the same room as the sugar testing equipment.

So one day Joe, my fellow nurse, brings in a full urinal. Only it was full of apple juice. He starts to test the urine then decides against it. He holds it up to the light like a fine wine and then takes a swig of it right it front of us!

He smacks his lips and says..."Hmmm, that's a 4+" and then walks out of the room!

Luckily I knew what he was doing, but the PM nurses nearly passed out on the bench! Ah, life in the old days......:beer:

TheBean
01-06-2008, 01:32 PM
I second (or third) Vicks Vaporub. I just rub a little under my nose and it's all that I can smell.

Hey- is it just me or does this sheep look like he's trying to pass gas? :sheep: I know, sometimes I have the brain of an eight year old.

KimRN
01-06-2008, 08:02 PM
I second (or third) Vicks Vaporub. I just rub a little under my nose and it's all that I can smell.

Hey- is it just me or does this sheep look like he's trying to pass gas? :sheep: I know, sometimes I have the brain of an eight year old.

Probably standing behind the dancing elephant :elephant: