Stank Face during Clinical: How to prevent?

  1. I know I am a very expressive person, but I love people and I know I am doing a duty when cleaning an individual during clinicals. I didn't notice until my last simulation during fundamentals that I have a stank face when dealing with bodily fluids. This is not phlegm or bile liquids, more like poop and pee. Its hard because inside I am like this person really needs my help, how could people just leave them like this, but my face is like a train hit it with emotions. I dont want to hurt my patients feelings . Can someone help and assist without suggesting botox ?


    StankFace Nursing Student
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    About hepnande

    Joined: May '16; Posts: 4; Likes: 5


  3. by   AliNajaCat
    Pretend it's your baby instead of an adult.
  4. by   emmjayy
    Put a face shield on.
  5. by   pixierose
    Good first step -- you recognize this is problematic.

    Perhaps it might help to pretend it's a loved one you are helping. My father was in the hospital, and I remember one nurse in particular that had a "stank face." It broke my heart and I seriously wanted to slap it off her face -- my dad was already mortified as it was.

    I will always remember that humiliation of my father's ... it has haunted me many times. This experience keeps the "stank face" *completely* off.
  6. by   FolksBtrippin
    I also have a very expressive face. It gets me into trouble sometimes.

    Sometimes I look very angry when I'm just concentrating, or thinking hard. I've learned that if people ask me if I'm okay when I'm thinking, it means I'm making a face again.

    I deal with it like this: I just consciously relax my whole face then add a little smile. It works. It's totally put on, but it works.

    Practice in the mirror. Then put that face on before you give care. Maintain it.
  7. by   HouTx
    One of the most valuable attributes of a care provider is a Poker face. Srsly. Patients & their family members take their cues from us. If we look panicked, uncertain, disgusted, etc... there's nothing we can say to offset their negative perceptions. We must maintain self-awareness (SHIELDS UP) when we're engaged in patient care. This is a fact that I have always stressed to students & new nurses. There have been many studies which indicate that the presence of a "serene, calm" nurse can lower BP & Pulse rates of vulnerable patients, so I'm sure that the converse is also true.

    Over time, you will become accustomed to dealing with noxious stimuli - Just like the experienced parent who tackles those horrendous diaper disasters without any qualms while everyone else is clearing the room as quickly as they can. But, no matter how experienced you are there's usually that one thing - that will ALWAYS get past your shields. For me, it's loogies. Srsly. It's a struggle to maintain composure with any activity that involves loogies.
  8. by   rachaelofcourse
    I carry an essential oil (lavender or citrus) with me to work and wipe a little under my nose before I go into a... smelly situation. Helps a ton!
  9. by   AceOfHearts<3
    I've gotten used to cleaning patients up, so that doesn't bother me anymore. I'm not a big fan of wounds, especially festering ones, so I'm always afraid I'll make a face when doing wound care. I solve this by always putting a face mask on before doing the care. If asked I just say it's something that I always do, even when not required, for infection control purposes.
  10. by   Esme12
    A face mask and vicks vapor rub under your works wonders. If the patient asks why you have a mask say you have a bit of a runny nose.
  11. by   Horseshoe
    Try to put yourself in your patient's place. What kind of face do you want to see looking at you in your most embarrassing, vulnerable moments?
  12. by   windsurfer8
    Don't do it. Move on. Next question. Life aint that hard.
  13. by   Nurse2BeCam
    I'm not a nursing student yet, but I've been in situations like this in my past career. I had the "stank face" too before I became the patient and knew how it felt. After giving birth to one of my children I had an accident stumbling to the restroom since my legs were still partially numb from the epidural. There was blood on the floor and I was alone so I called my nurse. When she walked in to help me, her face was of pure disgust. The image of her face is ground into my brain. I wanted to cry, I was so embarrassed. I will remember how I felt when I saw my nurses face and hopefully never have to make any of my patients feel like that once I'm a nurse.
  14. by   la_chica_suerte85
    It requires a lot of practice. I have a bad case of RBF and I have a very expressive face as well. I just had to keep reminding myself at the start of clinical and throughout that I needed to "fix my face." It just takes time. Also, you can wear a mask while cleaning someone and that will help you practice remembering to "fix your face" without feeling like you're offending someone.