how to deal with the funky smell?

  1. Hi! Much like most people in this forum, I'm also interested in becoming a WOC nurse. Now, I have a pretty strong stomach for gross stuff but having read and heard other people's opinions when I announced my plan to be WOC nurse, I was wondering if any of the experienced nurses have tips on how make it through the nasty part of this specialty?

    I usually dab vaseline around my nostrils if it's smells really funky but more often, I'm always okay with it. My sister is amazed that I seem to have no acute sense of smell

    Do you have any tips?
  2. Visit orangepink profile page

    About orangepink, NP

    Joined: Aug '05; Posts: 289; Likes: 223
    FNP; from UT , US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   mommy.19
    I have only one solution: fixing the problem that is causing the smell! Get them to a doc that can remove the necrotic tissue that is causing the smell or do a TISSUE (not drainage) culture and see what grows and give an ABX
  4. by   jujuseah
    It is reasonable to wear a mask and fix that smell, that's important. If you can, do some debridement, irrigate with Normal saline (unless dr wants a PP wash or chlorohexidine), the smell should be lesser.

    But I try not to wear a mask because it might be offending to the patient but if you cant do it, you better get a mask!
  5. by   Nittybelle
    When i first started wc i dealt with the odors psychologically. Basically i told myself the patient needs me to be focused on treatment, not the smell. When i am concentrating on the wc itself, the smell doesnt bother me. Now i am at a point where i lean in and purposely smell some wounds when i feel there may be infection. Some smells are indicative of specific infections, like psuedomonas (sp) Wierd, huh? With time you should get used to these odors and won't think twice.
  6. by   NC29mom
    Another good way to control wound odor would be to use flagyl (on the wound bed). Amazing how well it works. Usually apply 1-2 capsules (sprinkle over wound bed) Qday for 7 days. Just a little FYI...
  7. by   finchfamily4
    I had a physician dab tincture of Benzoin under his nostrils. It's strong stuff & sticky - you won't notice the smell after that!
  8. by   americanTrain
    Spearment or peppermint oils on the sheets if patient at home, not so sure that would go over well
    at a LTCF
  9. by   VivaLasViejas
    A little Mentholatum or peppermint oil dabbed under your nostrils helps immensely, and is pretty much unnoticed by the patient.
  10. by   MSciRN
    I work as an outpatient wound care RN and I smell some nasty stuff daily. I am also 7.5 months PREGNANT! Like the previous post said, the patient needs us to be focused on treatment, not the smell. It would be very unprofessional to turn away in disgust. In my wound care center, we use hurricane spray to battle the smell. Its an analgesic with a black cherry scent. And, if that doesn't work, breath through your mouth. I should also add, after seeing 30 patients a day, only 2 or 3 (sometimes more, sometimes less) smell really bad and you get used to it.