Do nurses have to clean up vomit?


From my knowledge, they do have to wipe behinds every now and then and perform injections, but do nurses also have to clean up vomit? Sorry for asking this or if it may seem like a "duh" question because I'm leaning more towards the answer being 'yes', but I want a definite answer. Preferalbe from nurses who have had to do it. How was the experience? How to you deal with it? I think I would vomit myself just from the sight of it, let alone the smell :(

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 42 years experience. 4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Yes you have to clean up vomit:barf01: which can be particularly odiferous after a full meal with alcohol and pills. You just hope to keep off of your uniform, out of your pockets and out of your shoes. :uhoh3:

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative. 6,923 Posts

Oh yes. We do clean up vomit.There are much worse things as well.Suctioning trachs,dressing necrotic wounds,cleaning up those liquid GI bleed stools,colostomy and ileostomy bags,

Depending on where you work the poop wiping may be more than once in a while.I do several times a day.

You get through it by just putting on those gloves and getting down to business. I breathe through my mouth.

Edited by loriangel14

nguyency77, CNA

527 Posts

Of course not. Because nursing is all about ponies and rainbows.

All kidding aside, yes they do! If a patient throws up in the room, and your CNA is nowhere to be found, what are you going to do? Leave it on the floor so the family can slip on it and end up in the hospital, too? o_o

NurseOnAMotorcycle, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN. Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 1,066 Posts

Patients don't like to vomit on the floor/themselves/etc. They generally grab the first container they can get their hands on... Wash basin, trash can, etc.

Confused or non-mobile patients? Yes, you will be cleaning vomit.



63 Posts

Thanks for answering everyone.

Oh gosh, I hope I can handle it. I'll try the breathing through my mouth suggestion. I guess I'll never know how I'd handle it unless I try :)

Pneumothorax, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Flight. 1,179 Posts

Yep, if there's a bodily fluid to come out of a person & were in the room when it happens, u better believe it lol

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

Well, Esme went with the little yellow face spewing vomit so I have to avoid it. :clown: The short answer is yes, nurses have to clean it up.

This was actually one of my biggest fears since seeing someone vomit or cleaning up vomit (including my own) makes we want to, I totally understand you concern. As someone already said, breath through your mouth, be quick, and move on. I got over the vomit every time I see vomit phase, so will you! (P.S. I said all this wil 100% seriousness....really!)


38,333 Posts

If you work in a facility that has housekeeping or janitorial personnel, they won't clean it up, so that leaves the nurses and nursing assistants. If you are lucky, you can go for years without having this responsibility thrust upon you.


RKpianoman, APRN

Has 4 years experience. 110 Posts

Breathing through my mouth doesn't help me, because then I taste it!!!

There are much, much worse things than vomit. I've only done 2 years of nursing school and an externship, and I've already smelled smells that would make a normal person die; I'm looking forward to my next odoriferous adventure! :bugeyes:

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Most of the time, no big deal. Sometimes catches me, usually odor, and I gag badly enough to sometimes stop or start coughing enough to be noticeable. Don't let go of the basin or suction though.

When the smell is really bad, I chew the edge of my tongue.

If the body can produce it, nurses will clean it.:D

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 11 years experience. 2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Anything that comes out of the human body we not only have to clean up, we have to smell, observe, measure, document and possibly collect. Hope that helps :)