Poop and the dirty side of nursing?

  1. Hi,
    I am an MA student, I plan on going into nursing after I finish my program to become an RN. I've done a lot of research on the field and I've read so much about the upsides and downsides. I know that no matter the field, not matter the job, poop is inevitable. I for one don't think I'm too good to clean up poop, and really I'm happy to help however. And I am in no way trying to be insensitive or disrespectful but my only issue is with the smell. I know many say you'll get used to it and I'm sure I will but I'm just curious, where you work, are you allowed to wear a mask and gloves when cleaning up poop? If so, I'd have no trouble dealing with it.

    Also, side question, as a new grad how do you get yourself enough experience to work in the ER?

    Thanks!
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    About dariannarnold

    Joined: Aug '16; Posts: 5; Likes: 1

    20 Comments

  3. by   Asystole RN
    You don't get to wear gloves when cleaning poop, you have to use your bare hands unless they have ebola or something.

    Don't worry, you get used to it. Its the getting it out from under your nails that really sucks.
  4. by   Asystole RN
    Seriously though, not all specialties deal with poop and bodily fluids and when you do protective equipment such as gloves is mandatory. I haven't cleaned someone up in years. When I started working outpatient infusion my poo days ended. Infusion therapy, vascular access, home infusion etc all generally do not involve poop.

    If you want to get into the ED you will eventually, nowadays they will hire new grads directly into the ED sometimes. If you don't get directly hired in work somewhere else until you can get hired in.

    Good luck!
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from Asystole RN
    You don't get to wear gloves when cleaning poop, you have to use your bare hands unless they have ebola or something.

    Don't worry, you get used to it. Its the getting it out from under your nails that really sucks.
    Not completely OT: Monty Python bit from the 70's. Scuzzy boyfriend is meeting aristocratic father of the girlfriend for the first time.
    Father: "So what do you do for a living young man?"
    Boyfriend: "I clean the toilets in the underground (subway)!"
    Father- sputtering to maintain composure: "Is..... is there much chance for advancement?"
    Boyfriend: "Why sure! If you do a good job, after 5 years they provide you with a brush!"
  6. by   BonnieSc
    I almost never wear a mask but I think I'm supposed to? There've been times I've regretted not wearing one. Some nurses and aides wear them all the time. One of my aides, I know if he's reaching for a mask, I should too! As asystole says gloves are mandatory, and these days I think you'll find masks available anywhere you'd be cleaning up poop, even if not everyone wears them--because there are situations where we really are supposed to wear them, like for suctioning people. The hospitals/clinics don't want any lawsuits so they'll make sure they're around.
  7. by   brownbook
    Check out You Tube, 3 steps on how to deal with poop as a nurse. It should be mandatory for all medical professionals to watch this short video. Someone else on All nurses posted this video, I wish I could take the credit.
  8. by   gere7404
    There's times at work I'm like, "how the hell is this on the ceiling?!"
  9. by   LunarSkyRN
    Really, as others have said, you do get used to it, and there will be times you don't even register that it's poop - it becomes just another task.

    In the mean time, practice breathing through only your mouth. Eventually you will be able to do so with barely parted lips and no one will know you're mouth breathing.
  10. by   CardiacDork
    I think you're the one that wanted to be an ICU nurse.


    Boy, you're in for a ride!


    Break out the wipes, ladies. We're getting a GI bleed .... Smell that sweet metal aroma? That's a GI bleed.... Nothing like the smell of sweet iron to wake you up at 6AM
  11. by   Conqueror+
    One of those little blue/yellow masks with a drop of essential oil inside in a scent you like can go a long way. I have been a nurse 20+ years and still hate the smell. Just a little hack of mine.
  12. by   ProfRN4
    Quote from CardiacDork
    I think you're the one that wanted to be an ICU nurse.


    Boy, you're in for a ride!


    Break out the wipes, ladies. We're getting a GI bleed .... Smell that sweet metal aroma? That's a GI bleed.... Nothing like the smell of sweet iron to wake you up at 6AM
    Every ICU nurse I know cleans their own patient. They provide total care for their patients, much more so than floor nurses. So yeah, poop definitely depends on the specialty you're in.
  13. by   ChipotleNurse
    My mom (who is a nurse) advised me to enroll in a CNA program before going to nursing school to see "if i really wanted to be a nurse". On the first day of my CNA clinicals I had to clean up very runny diarrhea on a 300 pound bedbound resident. Needless to say I was very distraught and disgusted because I had never in my life had to do something like that, and it didn't help that I got a very difficult first experience. I even considered changing my major after that day. (I know dramatic right). But on my 2nd clinical day, I got used to the poop. Now I'm a CNA, and I don't really see it as poop, but just something that needs to be cleaned up. It all honesty, you really just get used to it. I'm glad I got that out of the way before nursing school! Lol

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but masks won't do anything for the smell right? I mean the mask is just there to prevent contact between the environment and your mouth, and nose but you're still breathing in the air through the mask... So you can still smell it I'm pretty sure.
  14. by   compassionresearcher
    That's why I always worked in peds...theirs is cuter and smaller; comes out wrapped in a pink ribbon too.

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