Poo or Get off the Pot

A humorous post on poop for all of the nurses out there. The essential bodily function that embarrasses most people.


Poo or Get off the Pot

My first day as a nursing assistant, I arrive in my pretty new scrubs and meet the nursing assistant who will be training me. I greatly enjoyed everything we did that day and was perfecting things I had learned in nursing school-taking vitals, checking blood sugar, I/Os, ambulating patients and so much more. Towards the end of the day, my trainer asks me to go get a plastic spoon after my lunch break. Confused, I hunted down the plastic spoon and she then proceeded to tell me we would be using this to scoop poop from a bedpan to send to the lab. Grossed out I move forward and dived into the beginning of my career and one of my many encounters with poop. I also brought my own spoons to work after that for lunch!

The other #2. Crap, poop, ****, poo, doo-doo, poop emoji, the runs, and so many more I have not listed. As a health care provider, one of the most common complaints people have is about poop and it is one of the most common things I see every day at work. If you think about it everyone poops... you hope.

People are funny about poop, I have seen grown men cry about not pooping every 12 hours, teenage girls claiming they only poop every 18 days and do not need a bowel regimen, people wondering why they're constipated but refuse to believe you when you explain side effects of the narcotics they are prescribed, not understanding why you need to wash your hands post poop. Poop is a funny thing.

One of the many life lessons I had in nursing involved poop and one of the many names for it. I was working in an inner-city hospital in the ICU, I had just come in on night shift and was told to immediately transfer a 3-year-old to the general care floor so I could admit an intubated baby. I take report, call the accepting nurse and go to see the patient in question. I walk in the room and he is screaming at the top of his lungs. I go up to him and put the crib rail down and ask him what was wrong. He screams at me "I gotta boo-boo". I'm thinking "Crap, how did he get hurt? Filling out an incident report is going to take so much time!" I start examine him looking for this boo-boo and cannot find anything. While I'm doing this, his mom is giving me the look that translates into "you're an idiot". I then ask her if she wants to try and calm her son down and I may have been making it worse being a stranger. His mom then says "he's trying to poop, boo-boo means poop"

Imagine me turning bright red and stuttering I'll be back. I rush out of the room embarrassed to my co-workers who all burst out laughing when I explained what was going on and then proceeded to tell me their first "boo-boo" stories with patients.

Pooping is essential to health and way too many people in this world are constipated. Think about people's diets, sedentary lifestyles, narcotic use, lack of water intake which all leads to constipation and then a miserable person. Pooping is a good thing, please don't ignore constipation in yourself or your patients and you will probably need to educate your patient one day (if you haven't already) it is not normal to be screaming in pain with poop, miralax will not give you the runs seconds after drinking it, our grandparents got it right with prune juice- that stuff is magic for constipation, it's not normal to poop once every 18 days and most people don't drink enough water (I'm so guilty of this one).

Nurses know much more about poop than the general population and we should be educating all of our patients and their families about this. Even though I'm not a bedside nurse anymore, I'm sure I will always be able to smell a GI bleed and C-diff from a mile away and I will always immediately send a sample to the lab if a bedside nurse tells me the poop has the dreaded smell (way worse than typical poop smell). Health care providers are probably the only people you will meet who will be more excited about your farting and pooping than yourself.

Peace, love and happy pooping

Pediatric Nurse practitioner, blogger, foodie, Tupperware lady. Blogs as Adventures of Michelle

3 Articles   12 Posts

Share this post


474 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

Sitting on the throne is therapeutic for me. It is relaxing just to let go and read something nice.... Good times

Specializes in New Grad 2020.

My best work is on the can or in the shower. Relaxing I have better ideas and it clears the mind. Awesome deep thoughts

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,982 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

Nurses have the greatest poop stories...and they're made fresh daily! Ba-da-boom!


3 Posts

I love love love my poop stories, but it gets awkward when I try to tell them to non-nursing professionals... :rolleyes:

I agree with the first two posters- sometimes when I don't have the sensation to go I just sit on the toilet (lid closed, mind you) and turn on the fan when I need to concentrate or have an "a-ha!" moment. :x3:

My experience as a patient care technician/student nurse was very similar, and one year later I can proudly say that the smell of C. Diff poop has become the norm. When I smell my own or someone elses in a public bathroom, I cringe as I am no longer used to it! What a life.


208 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Gyn, Pospartum & Psych.

I had a developmentally delay young woman who got a hysterectomy that I was caring for. She was obviously taught the strictest of proper manners. You should have seen her laugh when I "confided in her" that we would have a "pooting party" when she finally passed some gas and told me about it. I also told her to tell her sister/caregiver that her nurse said she is suppose to poot here an not hold it in. She could save good manners in the pooting department for after she went home. :)


7 Posts

NOT a big fan of the anal catheter. Using one while making a RNs or CNAs job easier, tends to lead to poo-constinence (that's a medical term , right?), and the cost is NOT covered by Medicare - talk about a BS on the pt bill!

FranEMTnurse, CNA, LPN, EMT-I

2 Articles; 3,619 Posts

Specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor.. Has 26 years experience.

The pot is way too hard for my butt so I don't stay on it very long.


15 Posts

I agree 100%! Working in psych nursing my cna and I were tasked with taking care of an elderly man who had been medically cleared but presented with agitation. My cna had to shower him, he had a VERY LARGE BM and all the sudden he was the nicest old man you could meet. Discharged later that day. So yeah a patient needs to go poo at least every 3 days. :up:

FranEMTnurse, CNA, LPN, EMT-I

2 Articles; 3,619 Posts

Specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor.. Has 26 years experience.

I surely got off the pot in a hurry today at church. I leaned sideways to wipe myself and fell inside the box of toilet tissue sitting on the floor.