Identifying and differentiating smells

Posted
by Martial Martial (New) New

Has 5 years experience.

All of us have encountered the smells that come with nursing. What I would like to propose with this topic is to gather as many personal opinions of associated smells to diagnosis.

The purpose, to see if enough similarity exists in opinion. If so, that it may lead nurses (and of course myself) to quicken time to treatment.

Here's a few of mine:

DKA: acetone breath (well known, i know; use the nail polish remover packet if you need a reminder)

C.diff: I can smell something similar to cooked ground beef mixed with stool (one strain anyway, there is another that seems to get by me in early stage infection)

Upper GI Bleed, when vomited: beef burgundy soup (this was on one pt experience, NPO several days, with coffee ground appearance)

Bladder infection: if Foley in place, differs from "typical" medicine scented urine

Christy1019, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nursing. Has 11 years experience. 879 Posts

Remind me to never eat any beef dishes at your house if they come out smelling like c diff and gi bleed Lmao. Jk

K+MgSO4, BSN

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience. 1,753 Posts

Pseudomonus in a wound.

Malena

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience. 2,938 Posts

K+MgSO4 said:
Pseudomonus in a wound.

Grapes.

Christy1019, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nursing. Has 11 years experience. 879 Posts

Ooh I just thought of one... BMs after lactulose smell like buttery popcorn lol

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience. 142 Articles; 9,972 Posts

The odor of vomited feces is unspeakable. I can't even come up with a comparison.

Speaking of feces, I used to work on an LTC unit where I could always tell who had recently had a BM the instant I stepped onto the floor. There were about half a dozen residents with their own distinctive odor, and they were individually so smelly that I didn't even have to go down the hall: "Oh, the MOM must've worked on Marian".....:roflmao:

Do-over, ASN, RN

Specializes in CICU. 1,085 Posts

What is with the poop that smells like mothballs?

Wicked GI bleed = slaughterhouse

Martial

Martial

Has 5 years experience. 2 Posts

Thanks for all the posts so far!

So yeah, the beef references are probably iron, but it does lend to preferring bird or fish for the next few days.

Christy1019, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nursing. Has 11 years experience. 879 Posts

Do-over said:
What is with the poop that smells like mothballs?

Wicked GI bleed = slaughterhouse

I always attributed that more to the person that pooped rather than the poop itself lol

redmielita

redmielita

31 Posts

I've noticed the individual poop smell thing too! At the group home, I can tell who needs to be changed without having to check Depends. It's a useful skill.

Wave Watcher

Wave Watcher

Specializes in Community Health/School Nursing. Has 7 years experience. 751 Posts

emtb2rn said:
Grapes.

I vomited a little. Ok, the grapes not so much but the wound. It's the wound. Oh, lawd. ?

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

:nono: this thread! No, now!!!:sniff: