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Smelly Co-Worker

Nurses   (58,989 Views | 279 Replies)

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What would you all do about a co-worker with an odor problem?

This gal LOOKS clean but she smells BAD. The beginning of the shift is fine, the middle of the shift and things get bad. I see her sneak off to the bathroom with BO Juice in hand but she still smells bad.

It isn't always body odor. Sometimes it is but it is something different. I feel weird about explaining exactly what it is, but it is usually a very strong, different odor. Please understand, this is not once every now and again, this is daily. It's a rare day that there is no odor.

To my knowledge we have never had a patient complaint, but I don't know why. She is a sweet nurse, very good at what she does, very skilled at her profession, but she stinks!

I really don't think it is a lack of showering, she comes to work and smells fine. Within a few hours it is bad.

Suggestions on how to tell her? I don't want to hurt her feelings but geez...

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Marie_LPN, RN is a LPN, RN and specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

12,126 Posts; 32,287 Profile Views

Is it a fried-food kind of smell?

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nurse4theplanet is a RN and specializes in Critical Care, Pediatrics, Geriatrics.

1,377 Posts; 8,776 Profile Views

Does she sweat excessively...like hyperhydrosis (is that what its called???)

this is sooooo awful...like you want to tell her, but you don't want to offend her or hurt her feelings. I would WANT to know if I stink...but perhaps its a medical problem that she is aware of since she runs to the bathroom as you say...

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1,758 Posts; 11,270 Profile Views

It may be a medical condition. I think that perhaps she needs to be talked to by someone up higher who recieved an annonymous report of this?

This is a sticky situation

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845 Posts; 5,190 Profile Views

Is it a fried-food kind of smell?

No, more of a dead and rotting kind of smell.

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845 Posts; 5,190 Profile Views

Does she sweat excessively...like hyperhydrosis (is that what its called???)

this is sooooo awful...like you want to tell her, but you don't want to offend her or hurt her feelings. I would WANT to know if I stink...but perhaps its a medical problem that she is aware of since she runs to the bathroom as you say...

I'm pretty sure she knows. That's what makes this so sad. Her hair is always very clean, she always smells nice at the beginning of a shift... it's later in the day that it happens.

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845 Posts; 5,190 Profile Views

It may be a medical condition. I think that perhaps she needs to be talked to by someone up higher who recieved an annonymous report of this?

This is a sticky situation

No, the manager is not a nice person and certainly not tactful.

If this was a problem of lazy behavior and not showering then I say let her have it. But that isn't the case. Something is WRONG. I mean medically.

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meownsmile is a BSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

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OK,, well there could be other reasons. Is she taking some OTC herbals, onion, garlic tabs? Does she have an ostomy that you maybe are unaware of? People who take some of these herbals such as the ones i listed dont realize how bad they really smell when it has permeated their systems. Also there are spices used in certain ethnic foods that produce odars in body secretions we (americans) sometimes find offensive.

Just a thought. But then that is why we (americans) were fairly easy to find, and they could remain hidden from us easily during the Vietnam era. They could "smell" americans, different diets yeild different odars in the sweat and sebatious glands.

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845 Posts; 5,190 Profile Views

OK,, well there could be other reasons. Is she taking some OTC herbals, onion, garlic tabs? Does she have an ostomy that you maybe are unaware of? People who take some of these herbals such as the ones i listed dont realize how bad they really smell when it has permeated their systems. Also there are spices used in certain ethnic foods that produce odars in body secretions we (americans) sometimes find offensive.

Just a thought. But then that is why we (americans) were fairly easy to find, and they could remain hidden from us easily during the Vietnam era. They could "smell" americans, different diets yeild different odars in the sweat and sebatious glands.

No. Okay, here is the truth. She smells like dead rotting fish. There, I wrote it. Sometimes it is BO but usually it is dead rotting fish and it is beyond gross. But she is amazingly sweet and kind. Her personality in many ways makes up for the odor, but the odor is still really bad.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

2 Followers; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 318,398 Profile Views

I once had a coworker who smelled nicely in the morning. The clues that he had taken a shower that morning were present (wet hair, fresh scent of soap, etc.), but by midday he was stinking. This occurred daily. :sniff:

After about 1 year several of us confronted him as tactfully as possible. He indifferently said, "I'm not a teenager anymore, so I don't need to wear deodorant!" Some folks mistakenly believe that body odor lessens as we age. This man was showering daily; however, he saw no need for deodorant.

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LeahJet has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU,ER.

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omgosh...look at the ad above this thread...not so sure everyone can see...but it says... "fishy vaginal odor?......www.enzara.com..."

hhmmm....is there someone that monitors the discussion and puts in the ad?

weird.

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NurseLatteDNP has 11 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in Education, Administration, Oncology.

825 Posts; 11,252 Profile Views

Maybe you can kind of direct a conversation to body odors after talking about something else. She might open up and say something first. I have the same problem about a fellow student with a HORRIBLE breath smell. :eek: I would never say anything, I just turn my head away.:bugeyes:

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