HELP! Masking the smell of feces!

  1. 1
    I am a first-year nursing student in my second semester of Clinical rotations. My biggest fear in pursing Nursing was not being able to contain my disdain for foul smells. Last night was my first true test on how I might be able to handle said situations and in my eyes I failed massively. I can stare at and watch some of the most grotesque things but the minute the smell hits my nares I'm donezo. Last night I was simply the holder/pusher while my classmate did the actual dirty work but even that almost had me on the verge of vomiting right where I was standing. I tried thinking of a million other things than what was perspiring. I even attempted to breath through my mouth, however, my jaw was clenched shut for fear of what would happen if I opened my mouth. All humor aside,(or not) I walked out feeling defeated and questioned if I am capable of being a "good" nurse. I'm begging for advice/tips/encouragement. Anything to take with me next week to clinical's!
    -Sincerely.
    vianne likes this.
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  4. 34 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Some smells are hard to "cover" with anything. If you suspect that you may have a patient that you need to clean up after that's got a particularly foul odor, you may want to put a surgical mask on with a little Vicks or similar-scented stuff put right under your nose. That can sometimes mostly overpower the odor.

    The other day I just jumped in and helped a CNA out who was having to clean up some very loose stool. (Yes, I'm an RN student, but I'm not above helping!) I have to tell ya, the odor was nowhere near pleasant. I'm certainly getting used to those odors and sights... but the one thing that was awesome is that the CNA knew where some kind of air freshener was and used it. I'm going to have to find out where that stuff is kept and have some always handy because it can make a huge difference to both me and (more importantly) any other patients in the same room.

    There are still some odors that will completely do me in and make me heave until I can't do it any more, but if that happens, find a way to step away semi-gracefully and let-er rip. We may be nurses, nursing students, or CNA/CNA students, but that doesn't mean that we're not human!
    mso819 likes this.
  6. 1
    We all have our crosses to bear. To help decrease smells in the area, coffee grounds placed in strategic areas really help. Mouth breathing is the best way to get by, but nothing says you can't where a mask while you are cleaning, apologize to the patient, they probably feel bad about it too, and will understand, sometimes if you do it right you need to assess how to use humor with your patients and that can help you get by. I grew up on a farm so that never bothered me but lots of thick mucus would sometimes get to me. I have actually gagged with my patients and we looked at each other and both burst out laughing. Usually it will get better, but I know some nurses who have been around awhile and they still have issues with some smells. a little bit of vicks, or noxeema placed under your nose helps a lot, I have used it when dealing with cadavers.
    mrnightinggale likes this.
  7. 4
    I have learned the wonders of peppermint oil. We can call our pharmacy and they will tube it up. I pour small amounts into medicine cups and place in room, outside door, in hallway- as out of sight as possible. It smells fresh and works especially well with c diff and high output ostomies bring emptied frequently.
    LibraSunCNM, ICULINDA, kiszi, and 1 other like this.
  8. 13
    Quote from gigglestarsRN
    I have learned the wonders of peppermint oil. We can call our pharmacy and they will tube it up. I pour small amounts into medicine cups and place in room, outside door, in hallway- as out of sight as possible. It smells fresh and works especially well with c diff and high output ostomies bring emptied frequently.
    Just do not apply peppermint oil to your temples like some idiot who shall remain unnamed *coughMEcough*, thinking that she could treat it like her lavender-scented oil she uses at home.

    My.. I mean... This idiot's eyes were burning and blinking like crazy.

    I must have looked like a lecherous winking creep having a series of petit mal seizures.
  9. 2
    Sometimes, there are just things that smell so bad that you can taste it. Anyway, do mouth breathing to avoid smelling it. Also, some hospitals have scent-free deodorizer sprays and peppermint oils. Use them. Use masks if you need to. And if you still can't take it, spray something on your mask before putting it on.
    vianne and Esme12 like this.
  10. 3
    If bad smells bother you that much don't ever have kids.
    are_you_a_llama, Back2Cali, and kiszi like this.
  11. 6
    Using shaving cream (the foamy kind) when wiping butts is a "two-fer". It helps clean and cuts the odor down immediately.
    vianne, SinMiedo, brillohead, and 3 others like this.
  12. 0
    I am non smell girl. I have always had issues with smell. You can buy Ozium...a wonderful anti smell spray small enough for your pocket. I also always carried Vicks vapo rub pocket sized and would place some in/under my nose or camphor oil. I kept a dispsable mask in my pocket that I would put on for really bad smells to focus the menthol smell. Remember it will NOT be smell free your goal is tolerable. You do get better at it as time goes on.

    Ozium .8 oz. - MyPilotStore.com
    NOW Foods Camphor Oil 1 fl oz Liquid - Swanson Health Products
    NOW Essential Oils Peppermint Oil 100% Pure | drugstore.com
    Vicks VapoRub Topical Cough Suppressant Ointment, 1.76 oz
  13. 1
    Smells are my kryptonite too. You just learn to deal with it. Mouth breathing has been my savior most of the time.
    Esme12 likes this.


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