reality check

Nurses General Nursing


Hello everyone,

I know a woman that's going to school for nursing and and I asked her if she was going to work in a LTC to gain a little experience and her reply was "I'm going to be an RN and they don't have to wipe butts." Does she need a reality check? Don't ALL nurses have to do some crappy work (pardon the pun) at some point in their career? Opinions would be greatly appreciated.:)

Peeps Mcarthur

1,018 Posts

Patients' bowel movements don't always coincide with the proximity of the CNA. They do seem to have some sort of attraction to any meal breaks you might get.:p

This person that does not want to "wipe pt's butts" should reevaluate the career path they are on. Do they think being an RN is glamourouse?:cool:

I have not been a nurse yet, but as an RT I have assisted on many "code brown" teams(by the way, it's almost never that color).

I never assisted a CNA, only LPN's and RN's. The patient, in a vegetative state or not, would appear in distress having some sort of pain of a physical or emotional state about it. I imagine they experience the burning of thier skin, and the degredation of having to lie helpless in thier own excrement.

They would express great relief and mouth "thank you" around thier ET tubes, and wipe tears from thier eyes. The vegetative patients would stop sweating, and mumbling, and fall asleep.

Mind you, I never rushed to assist in any of those procedures, and I can't recall not being grossed out, but I can say that "wiping patients' butts" is not beneath an RN, it's above them. Relieving a persons suffering, and restoring thier dignity is a calling of the higest order!

That's why I think that person should reevaluate thier career choice. As a nurse they'll be sharing the most catastophic times of someones life, and will be asked to carry that burden for them until they're able to do it themselves. If they see that as something beneath them, then they won't be a very good nurse, and they should find something else to do.

I think that for those reasons, the phrase "reality check", as you put it, was very appropriate.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

Believe it or not I have actually worked with nurses who have as little physical contact with a patient as they can get away with. They will order an aid in to clean up a mess or disappear until another nurse finds the mess and cleans it. They are never very good nurses, just good paycheck picker uppers. You can't give good care unless you get in there hands on and do things for people. That is when you do the psyco/social assessments that the educators tell me ADNs can't do. That is when you talk to a patient, when you hear things from the family, see things that you would not know other wise. It is my favorite thing and the thing I am best at. Once I heard a nurse talking to an MD about a patient he was sure did not have the money to cover the expensive medications he needed. He was right, the man was too embarassed to admit he couldn't afford the medication. Turns out here in Pa we have a perscription program that could help the guy out. The nurse and the MD got a Social worker in to get the guy signed up. You have to have contact with a patient to get a feel for these things.


1,091 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

Yeah.............. OKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

let's see there are 8 RNs in our dept, and no CNAs, NO NAs, no nothing............hmmmmm only 8 RNs? I guess the patitents will never get cleaned up...... LMAO!!!!!!!!! Right!!!!!!!!!!!! NOTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!! WE all do it!!!!!!!!! :p


108 Posts

Specializes in All Surgical Specialties.

Great response Peeps! Better than I could have said it.:D


82 Posts

01Jetta, couldn't put it better than Peeps.

They will have a reality check, but better now than later.



99 Posts

I am always amazed that people get OUT of nursing school thinking they'll never have to get their hands/shoes/uniforms dirty! Where are these schools???!! I felt like a waste disposal expert in school, constantly hip deep in feces or vomit. And this wasn't in the 40's, it was in 1987, for my BSN.

I don't think anyone should be a nurse if they have a "bubble boy" attitude towards body waste. If it was your husband or mother, wouldn't you want them clean AND by the first person there?

Now, no one really likes having someone pee on them or projectile vomit in their hair but you have to learn to laugh and shake it off. Or, be an accountant!


349 Posts

BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! WHAT PLANET DOES THIS PERSON LIVE ON?? Has he/she ever SEEN a nurse in action??? Has he/she ever been a PATIENT? LOL!! One of THE FIRST lessons you get in nursing school is POOP PATROL!! Well, don't worry...I'm sure a nasty priss like that will quickly drop her aspirations to be a nurse when she learns that *gasp!* you have to WIPE BUTTS!!! :eek:


110 Posts

I have raised three kids and have many nephews and nieces. I wiped their butts for free and the oldest is now 22. Not then nor now have one of them said , "thank you".

Last couple of nights I cleaned the same butt 5 times and another butt a couple of times. I was paid for the job and received at least one, " thank you".

Things are improving.



213 Posts

Let me present a different view than those who have been doing "dirty work". I used to work in a hospital Telemetry unit where we had enough CNA's to do the ADL's of the patients. It is true I never had to clean butts, change beds, feed patients etc. My hospital was smart and used their RN's to do med tx's, give meds, monitor pt's status, do h&p's. The stuff we are better qualified for. That is probably why I stayed there so long. I felt like a nurse. As for working in LTC. Many LTC's use RN's as supervisors and to work the Medicare floor where they do the treatments. They do not work as CNA's but as RN's. So before you get high and mighty, remember there are jobs where you will be respected for your specialized skills. You do not have to be a slave. And yes, I do think it is beneath a RN to do slave work i.e. housekeeping, cleaning patients. Bash me if you want but I am happy to be an RN under these circumstances. :cool:


6,011 Posts

And yes, I do think it is beneath a RN to do slave work i.e. housekeeping, cleaning patients. Bash me if you want but I am happy to be an RN under these circumstances.

tonchito................GASP! OK forewarned.......

Do you really mean that if a Medicare patient you are "treating" has to go poo-poo you say......"hold it there Mr. P....I don't *DO* Butts? Let me call a "housekeeping, butt wiping, SLAVE...who will come do this....I am a REGISTERED NURSE....

PS: when you are documenting the huge pressure ulcer for MEDICARE wonder what you say when the inspector says when did YOU first notice this???????

Um Urrr Ahem....well I never REALLY LOOKED AT IT cause I'm a REGISTERED NURSE and I DON'T *DO* BUTTS.

That's just WRONG!


148 Posts

Specializes in LTC, MDS/careplans, Unit Manager.

I do not at all agree with the post about RN's doing "slave work". If you go in to do an assessment of a decub or whatever, do you go and get a CNA to clean the patient up first. This could take quite some time if the CNA is in with another patient. Besides, what a great opportunity to assess skin integrity that while cleaning up a patient after a bowel movement. Am I right that you would rather have the patient suffer and lie in his/her own waste waiting for an already busy CNA than just clean the patient up yourself? Where is the compassion in that!!!

I am not an RN, but I was under the impression that nursing personnel ie CNA's, LPN's, and RN's were all advocates for the patients they care for. As far as I am concerned, you need to choose another career! I am sure you will not change your mind about this after reading my reply, but all I can say is I am certainly glad I am not a coworker of yours!!!

Just my 2 cents!



I have worked in LTC along side some great RN's that were not afraid to clean a little poop!!

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