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I have a little down time so I'll cast a peeve of mine.

I just can't stand anyone who comes to work with cologne or perfume.

Don't these people know that in a hospital that there are patients w/ respiratory problems, and that the odor could trigger a bronchospasm?

One other thing: Nurses and their damn fingernails.

I can't count how many nurses that I have worked with who have long NASTY fingernails.

Not that I object to pretty fingernails; however, nursing is not a place to be sporting long fingernails. As we all know, long fingernails are not sanitary and therefore can promote nosocomial infections.

So in another words, don't wear the Channel No.9 and those skanky Lee Press On Nails to work.

Jenny P

Specializes in CV-ICU.

SubQ, you are so right about the perfume and cologne, however, you don't go far enough. I remember when I had my son 21 years ago, the nurse who first came in to coach me through the labor had just eaten supper and then got in my face to tell me to "Push!" with her garlic breath--- I had to tell her to get out of my face because I was so sensitive to odors at that time. Since then, I have been very careful not to wear anything that gives off any type of odor at all when I go in for work. The nails, well, that would take another story.

I have read articles that said here is scientific evidence that those stick on nail attract and hold bacteria but there is no evidence that painted nails make a difference in bacteria. I was told that long nails have more bacteria under them when I was a student. Have not seen any scientific data on long nails.

I agree with you 100%. What really changed my way of thinking was after I had a subarch hemmorage and had the constant vomiting. I will never forget finally getting to rest through some of the vomiting and in walks a nurse with perfume on and I started all over again. wasn't able to tell her to leave so take it from someone that's been there, save the perfume/cologne for your dates/mates

Perfume is a BIG No-No in the neuro world. It can trigger all sorts of reactions in our pts from vomitting to seizures. As far as the nails go, not only do I find it irresponsible and unprofessional, but as a nursing student a baby in the hospital where I was assigned died from a fungal infection traced to the fake fingernails of her nurse. Use a little common sense.

I have to agree with the others. I am all for self expression- but only when it is safe and fun for everyone around. I have another odor that you all might not have thought about. I worked in a busy ED, the lounge was far away- but we had a microwave in the med room for patient meals. We also used it quite often for MICROWAVE Popcorn. One day I went to another ED for a migraine, had to wait several hrs (I wasn't going to die after all, I should have just said it was the worst headache of my life haha) and the clerks had microwave popcorn- the heavy butter odor which is normally heavenly to me, almost made me loose my cookies all over everyone. We never use the med room microwave now for anything like that (Warm up the coffee yes, but no heavy odor stuff) ok enough said.

kday,

Thanks for including cigarette smell to the other offenses listed above! I can't stand the smell of someone who has just smoked a cigarette, and someone who chain smokes and has OLD smoke smell on them flat out nauseates me! I can't imagine what it does to someone who is sick enough to be in the hospital. I wonder if these smoking nurses and others that have patient contact really don't realize how bad they STINK or if they just don't care. Jeez. Smoke when you get off work, people.

Hi!Just a suggestion.You should look into instituting a scent free policy in your hospital.Our hospital adopted one about 5 years ago.There are signs everywhere,a big one at the main entrance about the smoke/scent free environment with a "please respect others" message.It's great because it is alot easier to remind someone of the policy from time to time than suffer over and over.A great way to get this started is to use the migraine/asthma approach rather than pet peeve.I mean it is a health conscious building right?As for the nails...our hospital has a dress code policy that includes this.I can say thank God I have never encountered that problem my entire 12 years of nursing!It's a scary thought of what's living trapped underneath those nails and see them eating...YUCK!How do these people don gloves?Good Luck!

st4304

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Infusion.

I have a co-worker who will get an instant HA if around perfume. For Xmas, we had a secret Santa gift exchange. It seemed everybody received hand lotion from Bath & Body Works. These lotions had strong enough scents that several people were accused of wearing perfumes. So now if giving the gift of hand lotion (when you wash your hands a hundred times a day, what would we do without lotion?) we give unscented or take the smelly stuff home.

I agree with all of you. I am one of those "instant" headache people around strong perfume. I was sitting beside my daughter the other day in church and I whispered to her "Do you smell that strong perfume?" She said no, but then I realized it was her. She said she had no perfume on but only body lotion. Well, it about did me in. Most of that Victoria Secret, Bed, Bath, etc lotion reeks! But getting back to nursing, please brush teeth after lunch or get a mint. I was leaning over talking to a very confused Alzheimer's patient one time right after my "Mexican lunch" and she rarely said anything, but she was able to tell me, "You have stinky breath!" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

No where is smoke on clothes causing resp problems more prevelant that in a NICU or nursery. We have had infants have severe reactions when their parents came in to visit after smoking.

I TOTALLY agree with the above posters on this topic!! My instructors in nursing school made us very aware of how offensive/disgusting a pt. in the hospital finds perfume, and we weren't allowed to wear it. I've had pt.s complain to me about other nurses wearing strong perfume (like they bathed in it), having bad breath, and hurting them with her acrylic nails when she checked their cervix (OUCH!!). I'm a fanatic about brushing my teeth and good "breath hygeine" specifically to avoid the scenario JennyP described...gross! One more thing no one has mentioned yet is cigarette smoke smell. We have a postpartum nurse who just REAKS of cigarettes (she's a chain smoker), and patients complain about her frequently. There have been multiple instances where patients have refused her as a nurse and demanded a new one because of her smell...she smells like an old ashtray. Yuck! What a disgusting thing to have in the room with your NEWBORN.

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Zee_RN, BSN, RN

Has 17 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

Bless you all. I thought I was the only one. People look at me like I'm psychotic when I say perfume and other scents should be forbidden in a hospital.

I had a patient who ended up going for a stat head CT in the middle of the night (involving monitoring equipment and an accompanying RN since she was an ICU patient)after her night nurse had come in wearing perfume and brought on severe headache and vomiting. Pt's headache lasted over 24 hours and Dilaudid was only thing that took the edge off. A repeat CT scan performed next day brought up complications when the escorts came up wearing perfume! I also get headaches from strong scents so I can relate. FORBID the stuff! (We do have a policy but I've never seen it enforced; I brought this up to my manager but she has bigger fish to try at the moment--staffing!).

As a former respiratory therapist I agree with the posters that mentioned bronchospasm reactions to perfumes and nausea related to same,but, i would like to take this discussion to one more conclusion based on observation of the chronic smoker.

If someone whom has smoked for thirty years smells it on your clothes they will actually CRAVE IT!

Gross,I know,but true.

Excellent topic, and certainly worthy of consideration as policy in any setting.

I USE LIGHT AFTERSHAVE & SUCK ON ALTOIDS WHEN I HAVE A CIGARETTE--NO, I DO NOT CARE, BECAUSE IT'S STILL(RELATIVELY) A FREE COUNTRY-I AM OUTSIDE WHEN I SMOKE-YES IT'S A BAD HABIT, BUT MINE OWN--GO AHEAD & REPLY NEGATIVELY--THINK IT WILL CHG MY MIND? HOMEY DON'T PLAY DAT

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

Originally posted by SUBQ:

I have a little down time so I'll cast a peeve of mine.

I just can't stand anyone who comes to work with cologne or perfume.

Don't these people know that in a hospital that there are patients w/ respiratory problems, and that the odor could trigger a bronchospasm?

One other thing: Nurses and their damn fingernails.

I can't count how many nurses that I have worked with who have long NASTY fingernails.

Not that I object to pretty fingernails; however, nursing is not a place to be sporting long fingernails. As we all know, long fingernails are not sanitary and therefore can promote nosocomial infections.

So in another words, don't wear the Channel No.9 and those skanky Lee Press On Nails to work.

Have you ever seen a nurse with Lee press-ons disimpact an elderly patient-and then come up for air to discover that her nail has penetrated the glove? O MAN...I was toast-We all told her she got what she deserved....and the nails were gone the next day...

hi there. I strongly agree that perfume is very offensive to some of our pts. Not to mention hazardous to those with resp. problems. As for long nail, real or not. This is just plain gross and unprofessional. About the poor nurse who ate garlic in her meal. Do you propose that we not eat? No amount of toothbrushing can cure that one, and we all know that!

Well let me add something else. I am allergic to the soap in the dispensers in some of the hospitals where I work. The strong fragrance gives me a HA, my nose plugs up, and my hands tingle.

Zee_RN, BSN, RN

Has 17 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

Mustangsheba: Our hospital changed dispenser soaps about a year ago. Many people in my unit (ICU) developed symptoms such as yours. (Oddly enough, no other unit had complaints.) They complained and visited the hospital employee health nurse frequently. Shortly thereafter, they reverted back to the old soap but only in ICU, where people had reactions. Push for a change; hopefully they'll find something that works better for you. (I actually was one of the rare people whose hands PREFERRED the soap most others had reactions to; go figure!)

I strongly agree with the fragrances - not just bronchospasm but migraines and skin rashes too! As for the nails, there are a few of us that play classical guitar and as a result we have slightly long nails on one hand. We don't use acrylics or clip-ons and we don't paint our nails. We take extra care in handwashing to get that soap in under the nails. I have NEVER had difficulty donning gloves or had a nail penetrate the glove. I don't file the nails on my right hand to a sharp angle and they are not really that long. Do you think it's really an infection risk?

[This message has been edited by bshort (edited March 14, 2001).]

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