How do you handle the smells?

  1. If you can get over the visuals, how do you manage the smells? To me smells are what usually trigger me to gag so what's the best way to overcome that and remain professional?

    I heard someone mention vapor rub or alcohol swabs but I'm not sure how healthy it is breathing that in all the time?
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    About Aly529

    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 142; Likes: 68


  3. by   stephie_love
    Breathe through your mouth! That's what I do
  4. by   FLArn
    Halls Cough Drops if it's not too bad. For very bad odors, wear a mask with a couple drops of cologne dripped on it.
  5. by   neuroms
    You can try Vicks for a while, but at some point you have to desensitize. That involves finding some really horrific smells, focusing all of your willpower, and trapping yourself in proximity to it. Once you've done this a few times with awful smells, it gets a lot more difficult to initiate that gag reflex.
  6. by   CAT-CNA
    put perfume on the shoulder of your scrub top and smell it whenever u are around the bad smells, pretend you are scratching your nose :-)
  7. by   Juwon
    Quote from CAT-CNA
    put perfume on the shoulder of your scrub top and smell it whenever u are around the bad smells, pretend you are scratching your nose :-)

    lol u just made me laugh, i should try that
  8. by   Florence NightinFAIL
    I've smelled diarrhea covering a whole bed that had hardly any smell and farts that could stun an elephant. If the smell is bad enough - doesn't matter how much you try to mask it - it's going to get through.

    The worst I think are the smells that linger with you - sometimes I'll be walking out of the room and I'll keep smelling it and and when I ask the people around me if they can smell the stench - they look confused and say no! So I tend to walk around paranoid for a bit thinking that the smell is on me etc.

    I wonder though - how do you guys tactfully spray a room after a really bad BM/Smell? I feel so bad when I do it and the patient apologizes - or they're quite but I know that they hear the spray and probably feel bad.

    Can I tell I'm loving these smilies
  9. by   Aly529
    Thanks everyone. Some really good ideas!

    I will also purposely smell bad things from now on to get use to
  10. by   Akeos
    If it smells bad to you, it probably smells bad to the patient too. I once had a man that while the nurse was changing his colostomy bag he would spray anti-odor spray until the bag was changed!
  11. by   casi
    For things like GI bleeds and necrotized flesh I will normally slip something nice smelling under my nose (normally I use lavender oil).

    Otherwise I agree with mouth breathing. I used to say that when emptying a colostomy bag I'd do it with a smile so I could mouth breathe

    With time you do start to become desensitized to smells.
  12. by   Whispera
    I use Hall's Mentho-lyptus coughdrops and those little Listerine gel-strip things made for freshening breath. If you pop 3 of those in your mouth, you can't concentrate on much other than them, sensorily. Vicks Vaporub tends to look shiny unless you put it inside your nostrils. Who wants a shiny upper lip?

    Coping with the smells is always a work in-progress for me.
    Last edit by Whispera on Apr 23, '11
  13. by   Anne36
    I have just spent 2 days in my first clinical in extended care facility and have not smelled anything bad yet! (did I get lucky?) We are not allowed to wear perfume. I think I might throw some Halls in my pocket just in case.
  14. by   ~Transplant Nurse~
    Toothpaste sandwiched in between two masks. Not very discrete, though. I cant mouth breathe- I feel like I'm eating it.