Experienced nurses, please help! - page 2

I am in desparate need for some help! I am having serious trouble controlling my gag reflex when faced with very strong odors, ie. cleaning c-diff patients, obtaining stool samples, etc. My clinincal... Read More

  1. by   lhenson
    Thanks for the input. I have already tried the surgical mask, but will add the vick's vaporub. I have also call my dr. to see about any prescription help. I think I am going to try the desensitizing, too. I am desperate!
    Last edit by lhenson on Oct 5, '06
  2. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from lhenson
    I am in desparate need for some help! I am having serious trouble controlling my gag reflex when faced with very strong odors, ie. cleaning c-diff patients, obtaining stool samples, etc. My clinincal instructor has given me an ultimatum-handle it or else- so please help with any suggestions!

    Thanks!
    Your instructor needs to be smacked upside the head. We are human. Sometimes things will get to us. I will say that once you have to handle these sort of situations routinely, it does get better, but there will always be a situation that gets the better of you.

    I got an admission the other day from a NH; pt needed to use the BR. The smell from her obviously unwashed body (for a long, long time) just got to me. I wasn't feeling well myself that day, and once that smell hit me, I started gagging so hard tears were streaming down my face. The pt. didn't see it, thank goodness. And I've been a nurse for over 20y!
  3. by   P_RN
    I lost my sense of smell for about a year. I was really upset, not because of the nose part, but because taste is related to smell.
    When I gradually got it back I found that doing a swish of Pepto Bismol on my tongue and the Vicks under my nose achieved almost the same as no sense of smell at all.
  4. by   Blee O'Myacin
    reflex. I think you would be disappointed with the results - and the expense of zofran or any other antiemetic which won't make you sleepy.

    I generally don't breathe through my nose. Graft vs. host disease of the gut makes C.Diff smell like a walk in a rose garden comparatively, so I've had my share of gag-able moments. I try to separate my senses from the task as well. If I think about what I am flushing, wiping, taking a sample of - etc., then I start to feel a bit queasy. So I pretend I'm baking cookies or something....

    Gagging happens occasionally. I'd be upfront about it with patients - a simple "I'm so sorry" and keep on going. I've used betadine on a mask, and vicks. I had a coworker who would vomit into the toilet when she would empty a commode, she would flush to cover the noise. It just happens.

    Besides - what is your instructor going to do? Flunk you for a biological reflex? How you handle it is key.

    Take care,

    Blee
  5. by   kit3375
    I have this very same problem. When I start gagging I can't stop!!! I keep gagging until I have to vomit. I also start freaking out because I'm unable to control this. I am a control freak and this is one thing that I cannot control. I've heard about the Vick's but I've also heard that it only opens up your nose and makes you able to smell that much better. I think I'm going to give it a try for myself. Also I've started spraying a little dab of perfume on my shirt sleeve and holding my breath and when I breathe I just breath into my shirt sleeve. Have to be careful not to wear a really strong perfume though. Something fruity and light is nice.... Good luck to you and to me!!!!
  6. by   Lacie
    After 24 years in nursing, Vicks!!!!! Dont feel alone I still gag with strong odors and also if I see anyone vomiting I gag and gag. Cant be helped. I usually turn my head and pull out the vicks then slap abit under my nose then inhale deeply!! You would think after having 2 kids we could tolerate anything but to the contrary if it didnt come from me then I cant hack it. I wouldnt survive without Vicks.
  7. by   louismama
    Vicks Vapor rub is the best for all foul smelling odors, plus with time you will get used to it, trust me.
  8. by   jojotoo
    You know, you can only smell if you breathe through your nose. Try just breathing through your mouth.
  9. by   Hnebun
    Hello-
    When working in LTC facility, I always breathed thru my mouth while chewing gum or a mint at the same time....it really helped me not to gag.j

    Or you could stick cotton up your nose and tell everyone you are having severe nasal problems ...ha ha!
  10. by   barbara1
    Quote from lhenson
    I am in desparate need for some help! I am having serious trouble controlling my gag reflex when faced with very strong odors, ie. cleaning c-diff patients, obtaining stool samples, etc. My clinincal instructor has given me an ultimatum-handle it or else- so please help with any suggestions!

    Thanks!
    A bit of ginger under the nose works wonders - either fresh (although not practical!) or in an oil. Perfumes tend to be dangerous since people (patients, families, co-workers) are often sensitive or allergic. Good luck!
  11. by   Antikigirl
    I use the ol vicks thing all the time when faced with very bad odors. A little in my nares and wow...things aren't so bad!

    One time in RN school I had to help a Rn change a dressing on a patient with a necrotic decube all along his spine. The smell was the most horrific pungent smell I have ever encountered! I had to hold the patient to the side and my nose was basically hovered over the wound! not to mention it was a sight that also made for gagging material!

    Two other students were in the room observing, one fainted the other one threw up. So I was stuck holding this man and knew I couldn't vomit or faint or I would drop the pt! So I just thought to myself...Okay..ummmm you are fertilizing your garden...that is it...think of it as fertilizer...you can handle fertilizer (and not look at the wound). Thank goodness that helped...I just thought of it as something smelly I could handle better.

    LOL...I swear though, I took so many showers after that and still smelled it...LOL! EWWWWWWWWWWWW!

    Now I keep that vicks in my pocket...you never know when a smell will hit you!
  12. by   RunnerRN
    Quote from jojotoo
    You know, you can only smell if you breathe through your nose. Try just breathing through your mouth.
    I've tried that - then you just TASTE c diff.
    And trust me, once you've tasted c diff, you associate that every time you smell it. Think I need to vomit again
  13. by   Mudwoman
    Breathe through your mouth. When it is really bad, pretend you have to get something out of the linen room or something and get out in the hall and get control. It is mind over matter many times. Whatever you do, turn your back or something and never let the patient see you gag.

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