I am the only retcher?

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Just wrapping up first clinical rotation (Med-Surg I). I find myself retching more often than not in the presence of stinky nasty poop. Seems like it is getting better and I haven't actually ralphed yet. It seems like it is the combination of sight, and smell that does it. I'm a dad and used to change my daughter's diaper OK but these tube feeding poops are nasty. If you are a gagger, does it get better?

Specializes in Hospitalist Medicine.

Vick's vaporub right under the nostrils kills any bad smell. Keep a small tin of it in your pocket :)

Poop doesn't bother me, but the smell of vomit does. If I use the Vick's, problem gone.

Kuriin, BSN, RN

967 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Good idea, SopranoKris. It depends on the poop for me. If it's steatorrheic, then yes, I will dry heave while getting rid of it in the bathroom. Vomit and Poop both have that affect on me. Never actually vomitted before, though. Haha.


449 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Orthopedics.

A little peppermint oil, Burt's Bees chapstick, or Vick's vapo inhalers go a long way :) Just rub a little under your nose before you go in the room or put it on the inside of a mask. Trust me, no one likes the sight or smell, but if I'm with my nurse or other students cleaning it up, we distract each other by talking to the patient (or each other if the patient is vented/sedated/cognitively not with it), and wrapping it up reaaaaallllyyyy quickly in the chux.


311 Posts

Poop bothers me a lot too...I thought it'd get easier over time, but it doesn't. I'm getting a dog,hopefully that'll desensitize me a little.


1 Article; 1,265 Posts

Specializes in Hospice.

This isn't funny, but I love it anyway.


1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry.

I am a retcher over sputum. Poop doesn't bother me much. If the smell is horrid, then I mouth breath and turn my head a bit away while cleaning. Its nasty, but everybody does it and its doable. I haven't had to get a sputum sample yet, thank God and I have been told it's not common. But when my kids or husband get the junky coughs, just the sound of sputum coming up gets me retching. I had to check out my daughters for color looking for infection and almost lost it. Blech.

Specializes in Med-Surg ICU.

In a pinch you can put a mint tea bag in a mask! Really helps with C. Diff!

Lev, MSN, RN, NP

4 Articles; 2,805 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

There's always the N-95 masks for really bad cases. Even a simple face mask helps.


784 Posts

Poop bothers me a lot too...I thought it'd get easier over time, but it doesn't. I'm getting a dog,hopefully that'll desensitize me a little.

It doesn't... I have 4 big dogs, it never gets better, LOL... I get to clean it up at home AND work ;-)


112 Posts

I was thinking "desensitization training", you know, like if you eat a few tomatoes here and there, eventually, you can tolerate them in a sandwich...


22 Posts

This very topic is what kept me from pursuing nursing school for so long. Now I'm about 6 weeks away from my first clinical and getting increasingly more worried about it. My instructors have given us tips such as the Vick's or strong Altoids and mouth breathing, however I'm still terrified I'm going to gag in front of a patient.

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