Strange question, but I need to ask - page 2

Can anyone identify pt problems/issues by smell? I am precepting right now; while assessing a pt yesterday my preceptor said "her sputum has that pseudomonas smell"...she smelled like gauze to me.... Read More

  1. by   santhony44
    Sometimes strep throat has a distinct smell. It's not there 100% of the time but it's obvious when present.

    I've heard of other people being able to smell cancers and I believe it though I've never had the experience myself. I've also read of "cancer dogs" detecting cancers also so don't doubt that some people have a keen enough sense of smell to notice it.

    Years ago there was a urologist at my hospital who used some sort of chemical or drug when he did cystoscopies- I never did find out what it was. I could step off the elevator and know we had one of his cysto patients on the floor (this was back in the day when hardly any testing was outpatient). No one else could ever smell it but I always did.
  2. by   all4schwa
    Quote from nd_mom
    When someone is sick in my house it has a very distinct smell.
    not in a bad way, but i can tell when my mom has a fever just walking in the room.
  3. by   RNNPICU
    I can always recognize the smell of C-Diff, rotavirus. Also the urine of a DKA patient. Very noticeable.
  4. by   NoWaNrN
    I'm a new nurse, as I was standing in the middle of the hallway doing my med pass at a LTC facility an older nurse came walking down my hallway and said I smell ganggreen? I was like Oh okay and tagged along with her to "sniff" it out to see if any one had it.
  5. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Yes definitely rotavirus.
  6. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    I have smelled psuedo and cdiff. Also cancer, but it was advanced both times. I am a smoker, which blunts my sense of smell. I quit for a couple of months a few years ago and the smells drove me nuts!!! I am very sensitive to smells anyway. I smelled BV the other day while in the checkout line and the only possible suspect was 4 feet away. Trich has a definitive odor also. If you work around these types of things a lot, you learn the smells.
    To clarify on the pseudomonas, I think it has a sickeningly sweet rotting odor. Not an entirely accurate description, but close.
  7. by   weirdRN
    I have learned that my nose is a valuable tool. I have on several occasions, smelled a smell in a resident's room and been on the money when they were admitted to the Hospital for antibiotics or died with in a few days....

    I was thinking of all the smells I know...

    Pseudamonas, Strep, UTI, URI, CDiff, GI Bleed, Cancer (I work in LTC, so it is always advanced) Ketoacidosis, Gangrene, MRSA/VRE, E. Coli and Death.
  8. by   NurseCindy2000
    I have been a nurse for over ten years. I have sniffed out C-Diff, DKA,Cancer, stomach virus,GI Bleed,Pseudo, and other infections. Usually once any of these things are smelled you will remember it. All of these things have a very distinctive and individual odor. For me pseudomonas smells like grapes. and sometmes I have seen a bluish drainage on the dressings. As a nurse, your nose and your eyes, will lead you to a lot of underlying problems that an untrained person will never pick up on, and can't spot.
  9. by   tiroka03
    If I smell something when I walk into a room, I try to identify it. However, I don't go around sniffing offensive smells just to see what they are. Remember you are bringing that smell along with the bacteria which produced it, into your body. I don't get paid enough as it is, - I am defeintly not a test lab for smells. It's my nose and my body, and I really don't want to use it to sniff out dieases. When I was in nursing school we were told to sniff peoples urine to see if we could smell an infection -does it smell strong, ect. No thanks, never did it, and won't be starting anytime soon. Sometimes a smell just reaches out and slaps you, that's different. But, it's not in my job description to intreprete peoples body odor.
  10. by   NurseCindy2000
    As a nurse it is your job, that's what we do. But if your just in it for the money then your reply is understandable. And as a nurse you should know you as a nurse you don't catch diseases from smells. That's like saying you will catch cancer if you look at it. Come on.
  11. by   Butterfly0328
    Quote from tiroka03
    If I smell something when I walk into a room, I try to identify it. However, I don't go around sniffing offensive smells just to see what they are. Remember you are bringing that smell along with the bacteria which produced it, into your body. I don't get paid enough as it is, - I am defeintly not a test lab for smells. It's my nose and my body, and I really don't want to use it to sniff out dieases. When I was in nursing school we were told to sniff peoples urine to see if we could smell an infection -does it smell strong, ect. No thanks, never did it, and won't be starting anytime soon. Sometimes a smell just reaches out and slaps you, that's different. But, it's not in my job description to intreprete peoples body odor.
    Imagine decades ago before being able to test for diabetes etc. when health care providers had to "taste" the urine in order to detect glucose. Yuck!! Thank God for advancement in technology!!

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