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Scared Of Poop!!!!!!!!! Help!!!!!!!

First Year   (122,811 Views 175 Comments)
by nursingstudent424 nursingstudent424 (New Member) New Member

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I'm starting my nursing program on Jan.25th, and i'm really, really excited. Ever since I can remember I've always dreamed about being a nurse. I'm a medical assitant at a cardiologist office and I love working hands on and I love my patients to the point that I can't wait until I become a RN and work at a hospital. During orientation we were told that our first practice cite will be at a nursing home :uhoh3:. One thing I'm actually not looking forward to doing is looking at poop!!! I could deal with blood, I can deal with pee, but i'm actually scared of my reaction to looking at poop and changing patients, I'm scared I might:barf01:

I've changed a childs diaper before and i've had no problem...but I have never changed a adults diaper nor smelled or been up close and personal to it. I'm so afraid of how i'm going to react to it...does anyone ever felt this way? Does anyone have some advice or suggestions??? Is it true that it's just like changing a child. I'm scared of the smell and how i would react to it. HELP!!!! i feel recidiculous...:trout:

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labrador4122 works as a Registered Nurse.

17,527 Visitors; 1,921 Posts

I'm starting my nursing program on Jan.25th, and i'm really, really excited. Ever since I can remember I've always dreamed about being a nurse. I'm a medical assitant at a cardiologist office and I love working hands on and I love my patients to the point that I can't wait until I become a RN and work at a hospital. During orientation we were told that our first practice cite will be at a nursing home :uhoh3:. One thing I'm actually not looking forward to doing is looking at poop!!! I could deal with blood, I can deal with pee, but i'm actually scared of my reaction to looking at poop and changing patients, I'm scared I might:barf01:

I've changed a childs diaper before and i've had no problem...but I have never changed a adults diaper nor smelled or been up close and personal to it. I'm so afraid of how i'm going to react to it...does anyone ever felt this way? Does anyone have some advice or suggestions??? Is it true that it's just like changing a child. I'm scared of the smell and how i would react to it. HELP!!!! i feel recidiculous...:trout:

poop is part of nursing, if you don't like it then you shouldn't be a nurse.

Your post is just like my friend who after seeing poop on an old naked man quit nursing school after the second month of the first semester.... he had school paid for with a hospital scholarship, a job when he finished..... and he would tell me things like what you just posted.

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Gauge works as a Computer helpdesk.

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My 1st semester of clinicals was at a nursing home this semester as well. I didn't like the whole cleaning up other people's butts, but I just kind of gritted my teeth and went with it. I got lucky and didn't have to change any diapers or anything like that, but I would have to wipe for some after they finished. It isn't fun by any means, but it gets over quick.

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Lovely_RN has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

9,593 Visitors; 1,121 Posts

If you can change a baby diaper and not get sick you can change an adult diaper no problem!

Truly there is no difference they are both poop and they are both stinky. It's a mind thing because we accept that babies cannot control their bowels but it is abnormal for adults to not be able to so we are repulsed by it.

You have to control your mind and not allow yourself to become ill. You're making it out to be bigger than what it is and it's likely that when the moment comes you will maintain your composure for the sake of the patient and do what needs to be done.

Just remind yourself that you are there for the patient and trust me it's more unpleasant for them than it is for you.

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swee2000 works as a LPN.

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Just remind yourself that you are there for the patient and trust me it's more unpleasant for them than it is for you.

So very true.

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nursemike has 12 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Neuro Nurse.

1 Article; 14,669 Visitors; 2,345 Posts

Guys, we're getting a lot of First Year in Nursing Posts that might more properly fit in one of the student boards. In this particular instance, a new student might well want to hear from working nurses how they deal with it, but I encourage all students to check the "Students" tab for things like NCLEX concerns, etc. It isn't that students aren't welcome, here, but you may find your concerns already addressed. This forum is intended mainly for the issues faced by working nurses in their first year--and there are lots of them!

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nursemike has 12 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Neuro Nurse.

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poop is part of nursing, if you don't like it then you shouldn't be a nurse.

Your post is just like my friend who after seeing poop on an old naked man quit nursing school after the second month of the first semester.... he had school paid for with a hospital scholarship, a job when he finished..... and he would tell me things like what you just posted.

I have to admit, I have at times been happy that a patient pooped. As in, Yay, I don't have to give an enema, after all! Such instances, however, are the exception, not the rule.

As a nurse, I do a lot of things I don't especially like doing. For example, I used to say I would rather do colostomy care than chart. Then, one night, I actually had a patient with a colostomy (not all that common on a neuro floor, but we do get off-services). And, you know what--it was fairly gross, but it was more fun than charting.

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I don't think any nurse would say they like poo. We do, however, get very excited about the fact that a post-op is having one. I have a hard time with it as well; however, I have found the best thing to do is keep on top of it. I work on a general surgical floor, so my life seems to center around it - too much, too little, obstructing, c-diff, blood in it, in the emesis, new colostomy, etc, etc. If I know someone is incontinent, I try to be extra vigilant about hygiene and frequent colostomy emptying. Getting to it right away helps a lot! It also is greatly appreciated by the patient.

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Curious1alwys has 2 years experience.

16,351 Visitors; 1,218 Posts

No offense to the OP, but these threads always make me laugh!! I can remember when this really was a concern back in the more naieve days.:lol2:

What you should be scared about is EVERYTHING ELSE in nursing, lol. The poop doesn't hold a candle to some of the other stuff you have to deal with. In fact, sometimes I'd call the poop the more pleasant, tolerable part!:lol2:

Anyway, the point is...you'll get over being scared....and fast. The poop really is a non-issue. So don't worry about that! Good Luck!:spin:

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prmenrs has 42 years experience and works as a Re-retired.

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Consider this from the patient's point of view.

All your life, you've been a competent human being. You got potty trained @ the appropriate age, you were a useful, productive adult, raising your own children, holding down a job, contributing to society. Now, here you are, away from your family and friends, maybe you have to be fed by someone, you don't have anything interesting to do, maybe you can't talk, hear or see very well and WORST OF ALL, you can't even control the most basic of bodily functions. You have to wear a diaper, for heaven's sake. You are totally dependent on someone else to clean you after you soil yourself, perhaps even change your clothes/bedding.

Just how humiliating is that??? Granted, some patients are not exactly "with it", and maybe even seem to enjoy "making your day", but for many, this whole business is absolutely mortifiying.

Your job, as a nurse, is to be as empathetic as possible. Reassure the patient, clean them as promptly and gently as you can (sometimes caregivers lose patience, tend to be rough, and even abusive in this poop cleaning process).

There are tricks to decrease the odor--putting Vicks Vapo-rub under your nose for example--discrete spraying (don't over-do that, esp if pt or you have resp issues like COPD and asthma), etc. Bring as many supplies as you can, and if it's a 2 person job, round 'em up. Talk to the pt while you do it, just chit-chat stuff, so that they know you recognize them as a person.

Make it a good thing; it will serve you well. Consider it a "mitzvah" as the Jewish say, a "blessing".

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Dottie78 works as a Nursing student.

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I'm not an RN yet, but my advice to the OP would be to just hold your breath and bear it! Of course, you'll always have to wear gloves, so don't worry about it getting on your hands. To be honest, I didn't always want to be a nurse, and the poop issue was one of the reasons, but once you become a mother, the fear of poop all goes out the window!:lol2: After having two children and having to clean up plenty of poop, pee, and vomit, it's not a big deal, and the thought of having to clean an adult's poop or other bodily fluids doesn't bother me at all anymore.

BTW, those were good tricks for covering up the smell, like the Vicks. I didn't know about that. I also agree that talking to the patient, making them feel like a person is a good idea. It also would probably get your mind off the smell too.

Good luck!

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Case Management RN.

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I'd frankly much rather grapple with poop and fecal matter, than have to deal with abusive family members, snippy doctors, insensitive managers, overly demanding patients, understaffing, charting for 15 residents, complaints, and poor working conditions. If poopy diapers were all I had to worry about during a typical shift, I'd surely have a whole lot less stress at my place of employment.

Seriously, poop will be the least of your concerns when you become a nurse. Consider it a good day when all you had to do was empty a couple of poop-filled bedpans, as opposed to responding to 3 unsuccessful full codes where the patients were dead, ghastly, and full of cracked ribs.

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