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Strong scents in patient care areas

Has 6 years experience.

Okay, so maybe it's because I came from asthma/allergy where there was a strict "no perfume" policy, but is it acceptable for an MA to have a scented Plug-In thing at the nurse's station? It's in the middle between the halls where pts have to walk past to get to their rooms. I've asked her a couple of times to turn it down or off because it gives me a headache. I made the comment that I was surprised she was allowed to have it there and she asked why it would be a problem to have one. The manager is a non-clinical person and our clinical supervisor thinks they smell good. Is it just me or is it inappropriate to have any scented stuff in pt areas?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in OR, education.

My bet would be that if it were addressed at a higher level, it would disappear. We are not allowed to use anything requiring electricity without approval from either maintenance or biomedical engineering. Best bet is to check policies- it may be a technicality, but there's probably something you could use and present to your manager about it not being permitted.

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Has 34 years experience. Specializes in Gerontology.

Those things make me ill. I bet it bothers a lot more people than she realizes. Occ health might be able to help you get rid of it.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Ugh. I remember when I was working in hospice, I had to do an admission in an assisted living facility. They had those air fresheners that spray every few minutes. By the time I left, I was sucking on my albuterol inhaler and popping Imitrex.

I would check with the policy, but if all else fails, try getting a note from the doctor.

I'm sensitive to fragrance as well but instead of insisting on its removal I would try to come up with an alternative/compromise that I could better tolerate for the sake of coworker relations.

JBudd, MSN

Has 39 years experience. Specializes in Trauma, Teaching.

Ah, if it is giving you headaches they need to remove it. Just tell them of your allergic response, "smells good" doesn't overcome work place considerations. If she doesn't understand why it would be a problem, repeat over and over "I am having a reaction to it! and if I can, so can our vulnerable patients".

My workplace has a policy in place, no perfumes nor colognes, for any worker, clinical or not. Recently one clerk had on such heavy scent that my tech couldn't stay in the same area (her manager got to deal with the policy violation). In the pre-policy past, I had a clerk who would literally swell up and have difficulty speaking, and if her inhaler didn't work she'd leave work. Which meant I got to be charge and secretary.


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