Published Jul 25, 2005
I begin an RN program in August. I have worked hard in school and can't wait to start but... the one thing that does have me worried is what if I'm changing a diaper or something and the smell makes me gag??
Some of you may be cracking up right now! But I'm really nervous about that.
I'm not a complete wimp, I do have a son and changing his diapers never bothered me, but I would just feel so badly if a patient were to see me looking green!
Any advise or words of wisdom out there?
Thanks in advance!
UM Review RN, ASN, RN
Always hold your breath while doing smelly procedures. This will make you get really fast at bed-changing too. :chuckle
No joke. This is how I handled it when I was "green." Now, I still breathe pretty lightly when in rooms with GI bleeds and C. Diff patients.
Also, if you start to feel weird, just excuse yourself, go to the doorway, take a deep breath as unobtrusively as possible, and come back. You'll get the hang of it pretty quick.
oh yeah...you'll learn to do it real fast with practice.
Bring another student in with you to help. Open the windows (if you can), turn your head away. Laugh at your fellow student.
sirI, MSN, APRN, NP
I begin an RN program in August. I have worked hard in school and can't wait to start but... the one thing that does have me worried is what if I'm changing a diaper or something and the smell makes me gag??Some of you may be cracking up right now! But I'm really nervous about that.I'm not a complete wimp, I do have a son and changing his diapers never bothered me, but I would just feel so badly if a patient were to see me looking green!Any advise or words of wisdom out there?Thanks in advance!
I have been scrubbed up for HOURS on cases that were terrible olfactory insults, to put it lightly. I had to use a menthol based cream above my upper lip and breathe slowly out of my mouth (like the forensics guys). It helped, too. If you find yourself in a situation that will take a lot of time, you cannot hold your breath, you know, oxygen deprivation leads to death. Pun intended, AngioPlasty. So try the menthol trick.
Now, vomit makes me gag and, well, I have joined in the situation. Could not be helped....got to do what you got to do. I apologized and kept right on.
So, find some tricks that work for you and may your gag reflex be subdued when needed!!!!!!!!
Tweety, BSN, RN
If you throw up, well then you throw up.
I gagged at first, and every now and then still do. Usually it passes by stepping aside and getting a deep breath.
With resolve you can overcome it. Good luck.
The worst smell in the world to me is "burping" an ostomy bag. If it gets to me, I politely excuse myself and go out into the hall and take a few deep breaths. Then I go back in and just continue my work. Like it was said before, you will get very fast at changes! Good luck! :chuckle
NurseyBaby'05, BSN, RN
I have to echo Tweety's sentiments. If you throw-up, then you do. It's not the end of the world and you may even feel some relief. I've gagged and dry heaved when my pt upchucked. It's one of the only things that's a trigger for me. I did it in the bathroom away from the pt once I made sure he was turned on his side and also done being sick. My reserve is about two minutes. Plenty of time for him to finish and me to leave the room for a minute. (Thank God!) I gagged and got some fresh air in the hall and all was well. I later explained to the pt. about my abrupt exit and he was cool. He didn't feel bad at all.
Roy Fokker, BSN, RN
I later explained to the pt. about my abrupt exit and he was cool. He didn't feel bad at all.
I also think it's a bad idea to skip breakfast/lunch. Somehow my tolerence runs low when my stomach is running low on food too. If I'm reasonably fed, I can handle pretty much anything.
Try what works best for you - I think it's great you are coming up with these fears and starting to atleast gather an idea of how to deal with them so that in the eventuality that you DO face them you won't feel completely lost :)
First let me state...I can handle any body secretions except anything that comes from the mouth. Now on to my story.....
When I was in nursing school, I worked at a CBRF. One of our residents was suffering from vomiting. He would vomit in the wastebasket. Usually no prob. Combination of holding your breath and breathing through my mouth got me through it and most of the time I was able to glove up ahead of time. However, when some of his vomit landed on my ungloved hand, I started gagging. I couldn't help it. I had to stay w/ him because he was standing and I was afraid he would fall (he was 90 yrs old). Well, we ended up taking turns vomiting into the wastebasket. Between his heaves, he just laughed at me. It was awfully embarrassing at the time but his laughter got us both through it. :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
So the moral of the story...if it happens, it happens. You are human before you are a nurse.
Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN
Small dollups (enough for the menthol, not too much that the pt. can see) of VapoRub under the nostrils can help with the strong odors.
Just don't try to stifle the puke. Itr burns when it shoots out of your nose lol.
I agree with what everyone else has posted.....what usually gets me thru is light mouth breathing and when I have to look at something really nasty (ie: a Stage 4 decub with necrotic tissue and slough) I kinda "blur" my eyes at first....then look at it straight on. I don't know why this works for me, but it does. I also can't look at vomit.....so I do the blur my eyes trick when I have to empty the emesis basin.
Whatever gets you thru.....
I really try to envision pleasant things at that point. I think in nursing there is always something you could vomit over. It's at that point I flash my mind to the beach or the mountains and then go about the business of cleaning up/dressing up what I am required to do.
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