How often do RNs clean up poop? (thinking about majoring in nursing)

by gwchem gwchem (New) New

I am thinking about majoring in nursing, and I was wondering how often RNs clean poop, vomit, etc. I could handle cleaning up stuff like that every once in a while, but I can't imagine cleaning people's poop for the rest of my working life.. >_

I remember one of my friends who had a mother working as a nurse said all she did was clean poop everyday :(

Please respond quickly, thanks!

Edited by gwchem


Specializes in MICU for 4 years, now PICU for 3 years!. Has 7 years experience. 459 Posts

It's definitely something you see each and every day... It's not a task I enjoy, but you do it because it's part of the job. There are many different things that a RN does in the course of their day. Why don't you contact a local hospital and see if you can shadow one day?? I know my hospital lets people shadow... it would give you a good sense of what a nurse does during the day. Best of luck!

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 21 years experience. 2,602 Posts

I clean up poop on a daily basis. It may not be my patient, but sometimes I need to help a co worker. Poop is a part of nursing that I don't enjoy, but it is part of the job. Just like vomit and blood.


CoffeeRTC, BSN, RN

Has 25 years experience. 3,734 Posts

ummmm...all the time. If you are a bedside nurse, you are gonna hafta do these type of things. Now, that doesn't mean every day, every shift. Its going to depend on where you work, if you have CNAs or techs, if you are around or taking care of the pt when it happens....etc.

I'm a LTC nurse and some days I don't have to do "hands on care" but if I am there, it happens, I have time etc...I take care of it.

You will find a bunch of posts about this or how to deal with smells or other gross things.


TakeTwoAspirin, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP. 1,018 Posts

Other than the occasional "accident" (aka Code Brown), in OR nursing you certainly wouldn't expect poop cleaning to be a daily event. Sometimes you can get on a roll for a couple of weeks or more!

donsterRN, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Cardiac Care. Has 10 years experience. 2,558 Posts

I guess the bottom line is that you do what you need to do to take care of your patient.



1,975 Posts

Some days a lot and some days none at all. If a patient needs it you do it. It's not my fave thing but I always feel bad for my patient because I'm sure it 1000x worse for them being the one sitting in it and needing to be cleaned.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery. 17 Articles; 5,259 Posts

I am sure you meant no pun by your post, Donster, but it was still funny. :)

I clean whatever needs cleaning - if it's vomit from the bedrails, poop from a backside, blood from a perineum, or whatever. I like patients to be clean, and I'm guessing they like it too.



Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience. 442 Posts

You'll be surprised what you learn to deal with... I'd rather clean poo all day than deal with some of the people I have dealt with. I take pride in the fact that I can clean poo, smile and reassure the patient who is humiliated that it is my job and I don't mind.


Has 18 years experience. 8,343 Posts

On my unit, who finds the poop/vomit/whatever, cleans it. We all chip in and help. Those who walk away or call for the NA don't last long.

SharonH, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Geriatrics. Has 20 years experience. 2,144 Posts

The great thing about nursing is that there are so many opportunities and different areas to work that you may never have to clean poop again after your clinicals, although to be honest you will probably have to work in an acute care for at least 1-2 years to get some experience before you can get away from that sort of thing for good.

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