Nurses grossed out by spit/mucus - page 2

I'm starting this thread in hopes that I will read of some techniques to help me overcome my aversion to mucus. I can deal with foul BMs, emptying JPs and NG tube containers, draining clotty... Read More

  1. by   LadyBugLass
    What upsets me most is not just the lung butter, but that patients just CANNOT WAIT to show you their sputum. They get all worked up and stuff, like they want to show you that they have a winning lottery ticket in the emesis basin. I know you have to see if it's "infected" and get specimens and such, but the excitement level kinda freaks me out, like I am supposed to hand out stickers or something. Plain spit and clear mucous don't really upset me, but the infected gunk just SMELLS...ugh.

    Other major smell gross outs?

    1. Yeast infection smells
    2. Ensure smell that clings to your hair and clothes (sweet and cloying)
    3. Old, stale urine smell (like a men's room urinal)
    4. Cigarette smoke on someone who does not bathe or do laundry

    The number one, most revolting thing that I hate about healthcare?

    Broken bones.

    I used to be a paramedic, no less, AND my kid broke her arm once, AND my husband's knees have sent a surgeons kid to college. Now, I can DEAL with it...BUT I DON'T LIKE IT!!!!

    Just typing the word CREPITUS makes my skin crawl.
  2. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from InTheBlood
    This is an interesting topic. You know I conducted a little informal poll in my unit, and I'm not sure of the reliability. It seems that females GENERALLY dislike sputum/suctioning/etc. more than males and that males GENERALLY dislike cleaning s..t more than females do. Just an interesting tidbit from within my unit. Nothing really bothers me anymore. I'm famous for saying, "I would wipe someone's *** with one hand while eating a sandwich with the other".
    I guess I'm the oddball then LOL - boogers, snot, sputum, ET suction...bring it on. I'll suction your patient if you'll clean up mine. I can suction and drink a milkshake at the same time. Thank God there is a place in nursing for all of us.
  3. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from LadyBugLass
    What upsets me most is not just the lung butter, but that patients just CANNOT WAIT to show you their sputum. They get all worked up and stuff, like they want to show you that they have a winning lottery ticket in the emesis basin. I know you have to see if it's "infected" and get specimens and such, but the excitement level kinda freaks me out, like I am supposed to hand out stickers or something. Plain spit and clear mucous don't really upset me, but the infected gunk just SMELLS...ugh.

    Other major smell gross outs?

    1. Yeast infection smells
    2. Ensure smell that clings to your hair and clothes (sweet and cloying)
    3. Old, stale urine smell (like a men's room urinal)
    4. Cigarette smoke on someone who does not bathe or do laundry

    The number one, most revolting thing that I hate about healthcare?

    Broken bones.

    I used to be a paramedic, no less, AND my kid broke her arm once, AND my husband's knees have sent a surgeons kid to college. Now, I can DEAL with it...BUT I DON'T LIKE IT!!!!

    Just typing the word CREPITUS makes my skin crawl.
    I've had enough ortho problems myself that bones and joints don't bother me. I used to order takeout from the OR while we were wrapping up a total joint replacement. First time I felt crepitus, I thought it was cool, LOL.

    The most revolting thing about healthcare for me is odors. I am very sensitive to them (hair trigger gag reflex) and I could wear a mask soaked in peppermint oil - they would still bother me.
  4. by   mattsmom81
    What gets me is the patients who deliberately wait til you are within the line of fire and let you have it...from flatus to sputum/vomit/blood, etc you name it.

    What is even WORSE is healthcare workers who withold info about infections like Hep B,C, 'suspected' TB and HIV so coworkers can't use that little extra bit of caution when the body fluids start flying through the air.

    And please...don't anybody give me the line about 'we are supposed to treat everybody like they're infectious blah blah'. We do NOT routinely go into every room fully garbed for infectious flying-through-the-air body fluids, it isn't practical, nor do we have the time and resources...we are selective. We all deserve the opportunity to make an informed decision about how much PPE we use. It's to the point out there where I suspect passive aggression is behind withholding of such vital information from other healthcare workers....unforgiveable IMO and if I had my way it would be prosecutable. This from someone who was exposed in this way...ordered by a charge nurse to go and troubleshoot a patient without being informed of what he already KNEW and to be careful. I walked right into it, assuming another RN woud NOT send me in unprotected.. Boy was I stupid, eh?. (no I no longer work there and yes this is fully documented in case I convert)
  5. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from mattsmom81
    What gets me is the patients who deliberately wait til you are within the line of fire and let you have it...from flatus to sputum/vomit/blood, etc you name it.
    (
  6. by   rnmi2004
    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! I'm a private duty nurse right now for a woman with severe congenital mental problems, and she has a suction machine in her room due to dysphagia. I haven't had to use it yet but I'm sure I will soon because she's been coughing a lot more lately. I'll let you know how I do! It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to look at it, but I'm pretty sure blindly jabbing the yankauer around in her mouth wouldn't be a very good idea.
  7. by   LadyBugLass
    Another funky smell? If you have worked in ER or trauma surgery, you'll know this one...

    Fresh blood from a drunk driving accident.

    It has a strong metallic scent mixed with the sweet alcohol odor. Even more peculiar is that mixed with the smell of BLEACH, because that is what we used to clean off the spineboards and KED's on the ambulance about 10-12 years ago. I would recognize that horrid stench in my deepest sleep!:zzzzz
  8. by   Farkinott
    Quote from darlene k.
    boogers and mucus make me want to puke too. i do have to suction trach patients, so i just make sure that i don't let that "stuff pile up". i go ahead and suction so that it doesn't get to the point that that goober is the size of a golf ball. you will quickly learn, when you hear that *noise* of the trach pt bringing up their mucus , to get the hell out of the way (run)! ewwwwe, i feel sick now.
    of course the worst thing about receiving a lung transplant is bringing up somebody else's sputum!
  9. by   LadyBugLass
    Quote from farkinott
    of course the worst thing about receiving a lung transplant is bringing up somebody else's sputum!
    oh, that is so nasty.
  10. by   HisTreasure
    Thank you, Jesus, thought it was only me. I CAN NOT STAND mucous. My goodness, just typing about it makes me want to gag. My husband has had this bad cough for a while now, complete with green phlegm. He spits it in empty 20 oz. soda bottles if they are handy (which they always are in this house, since I am hopelessly addicted to Pepsi) he spits on the sidewalk as we are walking to the car to take our kids to church or daycare. I hear him bringing it up in the bathroom, and the splash of it hitting the bowl water, and I want to throw up! So gross on so many levels. My nursing school peers laugh at me all the time, and make suctioning noises when I come around ever since our instructor told us that most likely we will be doing trach care at our first clinical. What am I going to do?
    Last edit by HisTreasure on Jul 10, '04 : Reason: Typo
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Mucous is soething i've never gotten used to in the past 11 years. The hacking sounds that precedes it makes me think "ok, that's grody".

    Vomit or the sounds of it doesn't bother me. It used to, but i overcame it.

    GI bleeds still stink. Not to the point of making me nauseated, but to the point of thinking "i don't want to hang in this room without a step out into the hall for fresh air."

    Ischemic bowel is a smell like no other as well. Dead hamster is the only way i can describe it.

    My latest can't-stand-it odor is the bowel obstructions. The surgical removal of compacted poop. Needless to say, there's a big Sam's Club jar of Vick's in my locker now.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    flatulence passed through a high colostomy makes me heave, gag and want to faint. i'm pretty good with all the others.
  13. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Oh jeez, how could i forget about colostomies? :stone

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