Experienced nurses, please help! - page 3

I am in desparate need for some help! I am having serious trouble controlling my gag reflex when faced with very strong odors, ie. cleaning c-diff patients, obtaining stool samples, etc. My clinincal... Read More

  1. by   Medic/Nurse
    For the record. As a paramedic a "corpse" of several days duration in a trailer "home" in 90 degree heat will have me breaking out the SCBA - no question. First of all, the "patient" really doesn't need my services at that point and the Vicks ain't gonna touch that funk. I would try to leave that job to the coroners when ever possible, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

    As a medic, I'd find myself fairly motion sick at times, add something foul in a closed space and well... I had a little success when I would use the pressure point wrist bands. (might have helped a little)?

    Now, I can and have vomited several times (not proud of it, but not planned either) as a medic and a nurse - sometimes you just can't help it - so.... (its not a character flaw or weakness). I think there are certain "things" that just get us! For me its snot - generally not much smell, but ick!!! (And the idea of NEVER letting the patient see you get sick is kinda funny - I think as long as you don't vomit on the patient - its not like you can help it, really). Ease up on yourself. It happens and it generally is NOT an indication of your competence or caring!

    BEST FOR ME: I have found that a mask is essential and really strong (think Altoids) mints/gum and mouth breathing does curtail some of the impulse - I think a part of "it" is mental, so think about something else (baseball, the presidents - etc) while cleaning the poo helps too.

    There are some sprays that some hospitals use for odors that work okay - spray in advance is a good practice. There are other patients to think about - and they can probably smell it too! Caution: I recently had a nurse use this device that was hooked up to compressed air at the bedside as an aerosol odor control device - I thought it would kill me before the smell

    Good Luck!


    There were these 2 ladies that shared a room at a local nursing home. One of the "ladies", although capable of going to the dining room for breakfast - preferred to "dine in" her room, so she was furnished a regular tray. The other "lady" was a bit less mobile with a different diet.

    Well, as the breakfast trays were passed every morning - the less "mobile" lady insisted on going to the bathroom - starting the day with a good bowel movement. (Regularity is good?, right) Eventually this "lady" decided that a bedpan was an even better option (and it really set off the roommate). So when the breakfast trays were passed she immediately requested a bedpan.

    Well, the other "lady" was not going to be run off (she had a right to eat in her room!) and although a source of irritation she continued to refuse to dine in the dining room.

    The CNA went to the room after the trays were "passed" and found the mobile "lady" absent from the room. The breakfast tray was untouched with a napkin note on top. "Will be back when the S******* stops!" It was spelled out in capital letters - I edited here!

    Think about it. It never really stops, does it? They kept the napkin as a reminder - thought it might even make a good tee shirt slogan! (Kidding..) Personally, I think Ms. Bedpan stinky poo has won!
  2. by   lhenson
    You guys are great! I know about the "tasting" c-diff. I smelled/tasted it all evening yesterday. I kept checking my scrub, etc., to make sure there wasn't something on me somewhere. Thanks for the encouragement, too. I really felt like I was the only one in the world with this degree of a problem. I've already bought the vicks, got a anti-nausea script, and am starting the mind over matter/desensitization route. I KNOW that my instructor will give me the same problem to deal with for my clinical exam, so I've got to be able to handle it. Thanks for everything!
  3. by   GeminiTwinRN
    I used to think "easier said than done", but ONLY mouth-breathing really does work! Do NOT breathe through your nose under any circumstances in a sitation where you are encountering bad smells!

    I recently had a GI bleed patient, and had to get a stool sample from the bedside commode. If you've been around a GI bleed before, you know how horrible it smells.. and LOOKS! YIKES! I was able to do what I needed to do by concentrating on breathing through my mouth and sort of taking my mind away from what I was doing when I was scooping up all that ick....

    Now, I'm not saying it's pleasant. No way. But at least I can deal with it without gagging.

    Hope it works for you!

  4. by   AfloydRN
    I put on a mask and put 2 drops of peppermint oil in the mask. No bad smells anymore. Peppermint oil can be sent to you from the pharmacy.
  5. by   CaseManager1947
    Yep... the secret is mouth breathing. Nothing fancy, nothing to buy, or lose (OMG where's the Vicks, Ginger OIl etc.). When you're in the clutches, rock it out with your own bad self.