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GUM! Can you chew it on shift?

Professionalism   (33,417 Views 164 Comments)
by SummitRN SummitRN, BSN, RN (Member)

SummitRN has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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You are reading page 5 of GUM! Can you chew it on shift?. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Ruas61 has 35 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in MDS/ UR.

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Gum chewing was a saving action for me when I quit smoking.

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I don't care how "discrete" you are, if you're chewing gum I still think you look like a cow chewing it's cud.

Gum doesn't freshen your breath any more than spraying flowery air freshener after some has a sinky bm make it not stink, it just adds another layer of smell. Yum, minty tuna salad.

To a degree the mouth is self cleaning, if your breath gets stinky after a few hours you need to see a dentist.

If you have dry mouth due to meds or a health condition get an rx for some lozenges.

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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Very sociologically interesting, how some in this thread who disagree with someone's description of gum chewing as unattractive and distracting from a professional image ... immediately tuned into sexual metaphors. Very interesting indeed.

I think it does appear unprofessional.

Picture whatever professional you wish, gender doesn't matter, in any field. I would bet that what they all have in common is a poised presence. I'm sorry, but gum chewing detracts from that, period.

What's sad is that hospitals need to instruct employees in this ... it's one of those things that should have been learned in grade school.

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SummitRN has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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Very sociologically interesting, how some in this thread who disagree with someone's description of gum chewing as unattractive and distracting from a professional image ... immediately tuned into sexual metaphors. Very interesting indeed.

I suggest you reread more carefully. It was the detractors of gum chewing who started the ludicrous comparisons of gum chewers with "cheap women" and "whores" on page 1. :jester:

If you want sociologically interesting, the phrase you used, "I'm sorry, but" has been used more than once by the anti-gun crowd in this thread. That is an expression that is typically used to preface an OPINION that lacks anything more than emotion or personal preference as a basis, though it is strongly held.

I see three positions espoused in this thread:

1. "Gum is helpful to me and there are studies that show its benefits."

2. "I hate gum chewing/chewers!"

3. "How can people get so worked up over something so minor?"

On position #3, I was thinking, some of you here must really work with a bunch of saints if gum chewing is the thing that makes you (as one poster proclaimed) want to hit your coworkers.

Edited by SummitRN

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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Do you think Ruth Bader Ginsbger chews gum on the bench? Come on, if you want to be treated like a professional, act like one and leave the gum at home.

I don't think gum should be chewed at anytime. Never mind during professional duties. jMHO

My mother always said only whores chew gum, lol. I think that is a little pejorative, but no, I don't chew gum and don't allow my kids to do so. It is unattractive at the very least. If you must, then do it in private.

I hate being around people who chew gum- the smacking, the chewing drives me crazy. I know gum chewers wills post about how discreet they are, etc, etc, but franckly. I hate gum chewers.

Personally, having to chose between chewing gum and having a job,I know which one I would chose.

It is very unprofessional to chew gum. If you are worried about your breath then brush your teeth or have a mint after you eat.

In the hospital where I work gum is not allowed - not even by people who only answer the phone and people get sent home if chewing gum in clinical areas.

We were not allowed to chew gum when I was growing up - Personally, I think it is tacky, especially people who pop their gum.

I think chewing gum in front of patients is unprofessional, for me, anyway. I will chew gum between patients, or when I am doing paperwork, but never when I am talking to a patient, their family, or doing any sort of procedure. I can't comment on what others do, but I just could not imagine doing it in front of a patient.

...

This is going to sound kind of harsh, but now I find gum chewing by anyone I see while in their work environment, who deals with people, to be totally unprofessional.

...

...

But seriously, I want to slap people in the mouth when I see them chewing gum at work. The only thing that keeps me from doing so is the fear that they'll slap me back.:up:

I have NEVER seen anyone chewing gum that DOESN'T chomp it! Seriously, you all look VERY cheap! And bad breath fears are NOT an excuse (EVERYONE has 5 minutes to brush thier teeth after lunch)!

Ok, I'm not "old fashioned"- I'm under 30. But I think chewing gum at work, when you're a professional, is completely unprofessional. Nurses are complaining that the profession is going downhill, complaints about recognition, etc- and simultaneously, more and more things are becoming more "laxed". Would a lawyer chew gum when presenting a case in court? Would a judge? How about other professions, traditionally held in high esteem? Would a teacher chew gum while speaking with a parent? Would a surgeon chew gum in theater? How about a congressman on tv? Or company management in the boardroom?

...

We need to consider how our appearances influence other people's perception of us (everyone judges by appearances, after all) and ultimately, this can effect the pt-nurse r'ship in a positive- or negative- way. I'm sure we've all experienced this in one capacity or another.

There are mints that are strong enough, and whoever said that it wasn't healthy to choose mints over gum thats rediculous-if you don't think the chemicals in the gum aren't getting you just like the mints, you're fooling yourself. Personally I find cherry fishermans friends are strong enough and can be chewed/swallowed quickly if required to tend to a pt. The argument here isn't bad breath vs. gum. The issue is whether or not gum is the best way to go about acheiving oral hygiene while at work.

And a last point, chewing gum discreetly is somewhat of an oxymoron, IMO.

So, because it's a lazy weekend afternoon, I did go back and re-read. I have quoted the 8 posters above (excluding myself) who expressed opposition to gum chewing while at work. Let's call them the OTGCWAWs.

One OTGCWAW used the term "cheap" -- not necessarily a sexual connotation. One used the term "whore" while referencing a comment made by her mother.

The rest ... has been inferred by other readers.

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SummitRN has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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Altra, don't you find it "Very sociologically interesting... very interesting indeed" that people holding intensely negative opinions of gum were told at a young age by parental figures that gum was a vice of whores? :idea:

I really wish this forum allowed thread starters to attach polls to threads like most other forums do. It would be interesting in this thread!

Gum doesn't freshen your breath any more than spraying flowery air freshener after some has a sinky bm make it not stink, it just adds another layer of smell. Yum, minty tuna salad.

To a degree the mouth is self cleaning, if your breath gets stinky after a few hours you need to see a dentist.

The studies show otherwise. Please review the related physiology. Here's a brief synopsis: Gum chewing increases postprandial saliva secretion thereby raising oral pH, washing away food debris and bacteria/waste. This both decreases bad breath and reduces tooth decay.

That is an argument for dental hygiene alone. Then you can look at all the mental benefits anecdotal and shown by study.

I think someone suggested brushing their teeth with their finger and then eating the toothpaste as a way to brush while on shift. Seriously? Also eating toothpaste on a regular basis is not advisable.

If you have dry mouth due to meds or a health condition get an rx for some lozenges.
Are you actually trying to be serious? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Maybe I'll get an Rx for gum! :lol2:

Edited by SummitRN

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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Altra, don't you find it "Very sociologically interesting... very interesting indeed" that people holding intensely negative opinions of gum were told at a young age by parental figures that gum was a vice of whores? :idea:

Again, one poster referred to a comment made by her mother. If you have heard that from others, repeatedly enough that it bothers you, then you can direct your comments there.

The rest of the OTGCWAWs in this thread have simply expressed the opinion that gum chewing is visually unappealing or detracts from a professional appearance.

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NPinWCH has 15 years experience and specializes in Family NP, OB Nursing.

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Part of me can't believe this thread is still going. I find it crazy, and yes, I have responded to it twice, so obviously I'm crazy too ;)

I'm not sure I understand how judgmental some people have been. Even if I agreed that gum chewing makes EVERYONE look unprofessional, aren't there so many other things that make nurses look just as, if not more unprofessional?

Smoking, poor grooming, heavy makeup, lack of makeup, heavy jewelry, cartoon scrubs, long nails, bright nail polish, rumpled scrubs, dirty shoes, bad hygiene, men who didn't shave, tattoos, piercings...the list could be endless.

My point is, some people find certain things unprofessional; others don't, but can't we be professional about our disagreement?

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Mrs. SnowStormRN is a RN and specializes in Mental Health, Medical Research, Periop.

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Part of me can't believe this thread is still going. I find it crazy, and yes, I have responded to it twice, so obviously I'm crazy too ;)

I'm not sure I understand how judgmental some people have been. Even if I agreed that gum chewing makes EVERYONE look unprofessional, aren't there so many other things that make nurses look just as, if not more unprofessional?

Smoking, poor grooming, heavy makeup, lack of makeup, heavy jewelry, cartoon scrubs, long nails, bright nail polish, rumpled scrubs, dirty shoes, bad hygiene, men who didn't shave, tattoos, piercings...the list could be endless.

My point is, some people find certain things unprofessional; others don't, but can't we be professional about our disagreement?

I was just going to say, lets agree to disagree. Everyone has an opinion - this could go on forever.

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I love chewing gum. There's proper gum chewing at work. Don't stick no more then one piece in your mouth. Don't blow bubbles or pop your gum that's rude. Chew your gum on the back teeth not the front. And never chew while dealing with a family member or a resident. Where did i get this information you ask.. In a employee hand book Yes it even covered gum chewing and candy.

So chew all you like but follow these simple rules. And you will have a brighter smile and a happy mouth. Don't make me break out the Oompha Loompa song about gum chewing. Ok you talked me in to it....

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do

I have another puzzle for you

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-da-dee

If you are wise, you'll listen to me

Gum chewing's fine when it's once in a while

It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile

But it's repulsive, revolting, and wrong

Chewing and chewing all day long

The way that a cow does

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-da

Given good manners, you will go far

You will live in happiness too

Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do

Ha ha ha ha there you go... Anthony

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ShifraPuah specializes in L&D, Family Practice, HHA, IM.

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I do chew gum at work, but only when I have to care for a patient being sick, or cleaning a stage 4 decub ulcer, cleaning up stool, or performing digital disimpaction.

Why? It takes my mind off the task and allows me to focus on caring for the patient and prevents a gag reflex from occurring.

So far, no complainers and I've been an RN for 5+ years!

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When I do use toothpaste as a breath freshener, which is NOT nearly as often as I'll eat a mint or other candy that I can chew and swallow easily, I only squeeze about a centimeter, at most 2cm, worth of toothpaste out and use my tongue to rub it on my teeth. I think my saliva, or a sip of water, etc., dilutes it enough to where it's not an issue. So which is worse, a tiny amount of toothpaste or pieces of candy that can rotten my teeth?

And I would rather swallow more than one piece of candy during a shift, than one or more pieces of gum.

I will say this though, we can all certainly agree to disagree on this topic.

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