I'm hoping for advice or ideas concerning a coworker who has body odor

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    I am hoping for some advice or ideas concerning a situation with a coworker.
    I am a charge nurse and work with a nurse with HORRIBLE hygiene. She comes to work in wrinkled scrubs, with unwashed and very greasy hair. She has a very noticeable B.O. smell that worsens throughout the shift. Her teeth are stained and dirty, so her breath is atrocious.
    I am definitely not the first person to notice these things, but no one wants to say anything about it to her. It is at the point that her patients have made comments concerning it.
    We (coworkers and myself) have tried being indirect---talking about poor hygiene or new beauty products/trends around her, hoping to "help." That was a bust.
    After hearing patient complaint, I took the issue to my manager. That was 6 months ago. Now it's summer in Texas--things are even worse!
  2. 10 Comments so far...

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    Just start calling her Nurse Stinky. No, I am kidding. The boss needs to call a meeting and discuss this matter of factly in private. There is no easy way to say your dirty and you smell. It has to be done by the boss.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
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    Oh wow. The floor manager or whoever needs to sit her down and document these happenings.
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    Is it possible that your manager did meet with this nurse when you first brought it up? Perhaps you should follow up with your manager about your concerns, and let her/him know that the problem has continued.

    Somebody (a supervisor or manager) needs to have a direct conversation with this nurse, in private, and with sensitivity. This nurse may be completely unaware of her body odor, and it could really embarrass her or hurt her feelings if handled badly.
    RmCU_nA likes this.
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    I think our boss did address it, but apparently it needs to be done again. I know it is a sensitive subject and will be hard to address. Definitely, don't want her feelings hurt.
    But since patients are actually complaining, I think it needs to be addressed again.
  7. 0
    Quote from TX.RN.Shannon
    I think our boss did address it, but apparently it needs to be done again. I know it is a sensitive subject and will be hard to address. Definitely, don't want her feelings hurt.
    But since patients are actually complaining, I think it needs to be addressed again.
    why don't you take her aside and be very kind, but straight forward about it? maybe the manager addressed her needing to iron her scrubs, but wasn't able to address the odor. it's not an easy thing to do.

    i had to tell a co-worker she smelled one time. it wasn't a nurse. i approached my manager about it, but my manager didn't feel comfortable doing it and asked if i would. the girl later thanked me and said she went to the doctor and had something going on that caused the B.O...i can't remember what she said it was.
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    It's just hard...we're friends. But I know I need to.
    A big part of her problem, I think, is not showering daily. She has said before that she does only every couple of days. The other girls and I, who were part of this conversation, said we couldn't believe it. But she said she didn't think she needed to do it any more often.
    Thanks for the advice.
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    Isn't this a violation of dress code? Bring it up that way perhaps. It is a danger to patients too. Being a nurse she should know better. Or perhaps there is underlying mental illness..
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    Daily showering is really hard on the skin, and has the potential to upset the balance of your native microflora, making you more susceptible to infection.

    There is a very distinct possibility that your co-worker has a medical condition that is the cause of her malodor.
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    Ther are many PH balanced cleansers and soap bars that do not disturb the acid ph of your skin and even products that will restore it. Those with Napca in it are really good too. With that aside ,I think the only way to really fix it is to have someone in managment have a meeting with her.I am certain it violates the dress code. She needs to be given a verbal warning..then a written one after that so she takes the issue seriously as apparently the last talk did not change things. Sometimes you have to hit people where it hurts (in the wallet) before they change. There is one great deodorant that you need an RX for that actaully shrinks your sweat glands.. I have an OTC version of it..that stuff really really works GREAT. You apply it at night and it has very good instructions.
    ~*Stargazer*~ likes this.


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