What type of gross things do registered nurses have to do? - page 5

by Neisha_

I'm going to get straight to the point. Is it true that nurses have to change "poopy" diapers/patients and or deal with dead bodies? I would love to get into nursing, but those are my deal breakers. PLEASE HELP. All... Read More


  1. 9
    Quote from DizzyLizzyNurse
    Really....you get over it. It's amazing that one day the smell won't bother you and you'll be able to finish doing something with bodily fluids, wash your hands, and eat your lunch!
    When I worked in the hospital, I had a colleague who would say "you're a nurse. You should be able to wipe butt with one hand and eat a sandwich with your other."
    rubato, phoenixnim, poppycat, and 6 others like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from KelRN215

    When I worked in the hospital, I had a colleague who would say "you're a nurse. You should be able to wipe butt with one hand and eat a sandwich with your other."
    ^This!!, lol!!

    I was going to say something similar to that...you beat me to it!!!
  3. 2
    You know, it's really not as bad as you might think at first. Like a lot of things, you get used to it.

    I have kind of a weird sense of humor so I kept an informal list in my head of the different body fluids with which I was accidentally "annointed" and actually celebrated when I finally got doused with the last conceivable human substance (to date anyway, I guess there's always something different out there I may not have "experienced" as of yet).

    My biggest fear was that I would not be able to handle emesis. I had visions of the pt upchucking, followed by me losing it as well. That was probably the biggest surprise of all. It really doesn't seem to bother all that much (and trust me, it's happened to me a few times now).

    Anyways, maybe do some volunteer work, just see how it goes. Many times things seem much more intimidating than they actually turn out to be.
    GrnTea and loriangel14 like this.
  4. 0
    Quote from KelRN215
    When I worked in the hospital, I had a colleague who would say "you're a nurse. You should be able to wipe butt with one hand and eat a sandwich with your other."
    Yeah... I've heard that one too. Definitely not THERE yet. lol But I can do it all without the eating.
  5. 10
    Do you ever babysit and have to change a baby? Have a toddle barf up too much yogurt? Tell a seven-year-old to blow his nose and then toss the kleenex? Do you resent it or figure it comes with the territory? There's your answer.

    As to the rest of a laundry list of unpleasantnesses (so helpfully expanded by some of the above posters ) a little more perspective is in order. Part of your fear is that you will be incapacitated in some way by encountering these things. In this culture, illness and death are so often communicated as terrible, awful things to be avoided or prevented at all costs. In past centuries, your family members would have known better of personal experience, because grandma would have died at home, children would have died of communicable diseases, young women would have given birth at home (a messy business, BTW, not like you see it on TV), people would have had chamber pots under their beds that would get emptied in the morning, and all manner of bodily functions would have been commonplace. You, alas, have been sheltered from these realities, none of which have changed over millennia. I can, however, assure you that as you go about your training you will learn that these things are perfectly normal, that millions of nurses and other caregivers have been in your shoes and learned to care for real live (and dying, and dead) people anyway, and you can too.

    Death is far from the worst thing that can happen to anyone. A dead body is beyond fear and pain, and that can be a very good thing indeed. A respectful handling in its last moments in care is something you'd want for your loved one's remains or, in time, yours. You can have the privilege of performing those duties as a nurse.

    Or not. I worked in a humongous ICU for a long time; we went many, many months without a death. We were sorta supposed to prevent that, y'know? I don't know where anyone gets the idea that all you ever see, smell, or do in nursing involves excreta, ejecta, or death. It's such a small part, a minuscule part, of giving intelligent, educated health care to people and families that most nurses you talk to will laugh and tell you they stopped thinking about it years and years ago. Barely makes the radar.

    You will not be sixteen forever, fortunately. You will mature and learn from people more experienced than yourself, and only then you can choose how to proceed with your life. There should be few hard limits at this age; poop and postmortem care are insignificant in the infinite scheme of things. Be brave, mature, and thoughtful; without minor fears to limit yourself you can do great things. Be a nurse.
    sharpeimom, Horseshoe, phoenixnim, and 7 others like this.
  6. 2
    Every nurse has one thing that totally grosses them out. For some it's certain wounds, for others it's vomit. For me, it's mucus. I throw up when my I have to wipe my own son's nose, it's that bad. For some reason, when it comes from a trach, it doesn't bug me. But from a person's mouth or nose, I lose it. I still have to deal with it, I try to hold the barfing until I'm done with whatever procedure I'm doing.
    Savvy20RN and Corvus like this.
  7. 2
    You have to mentally disconnect. I am going into nursing, and I hate all bodily fluids. I have made it up in my mind that the only thing you can do is DISCONNECT!!
    phoenixnim and avaloncar like this.
  8. 11
    Pretty sure the OP decided to become an ultrasound tech around page two or so.
  9. 0
    If you think bodily fluids and stool are bad, wait until you see a maggot infestation in a human. But if you intend to enter the health care field, you are bound to see EVERYTHING as the years go by. There is no avoiding it. Even the clinics see gross stuff here and there.

    I agree with trying out CNA to see if you like it.
    Last edit by CrazyCoconut on May 20, '13
  10. 0
    Poop is just the beginning. Vomit, lung excretions, blood, pee that's been thrown at you...and a ton of poop. They are just part of the job and eventually you can finish chewing your dinner while cleaning it without being phased. Working with dead bodies is not as bad as you are thinking. You are young - explore your options. Sometimes a career adviser at the local junior college can help you figure out your direction in life.


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