Tossing Your Cookies...

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in Nothing yet - Interested in the O.R..

As a pre-nursing student, one of my biggest fears of becoming a nurse (other than harming/killing a pt) is tossing my cookies or fainting on the job. I am not very squeamish at all, and can handle most things (vomit, feces, blood, etc), but I am still worried. :uhoh21: all you nurses out there, what was that thing that activated your up-chuck reflex or caused you to pass out?:lol2:

Specializes in LTC.

Sputum and fresh GI bleeds make me work really hard at not losing it in front of patients. I have never passed out, though.


300 Posts

Specializes in LTC/Rehab,Med/Surg, OB/GYN, Ortho, Neuro.

GI bleed, c-diff, pseudomonas, abd incision coming back open and intestines spilling out... I can handle all that and still eat lunch no problem. Put me around sputum when I'm not expecting it to come out, and I lose it every time. Never could figure that one out.


67 Posts

Specializes in Nothing yet - Interested in the O.R..

Now I gotta know...what is sputum?

I just Googled...that IS nasty!


74 Posts

I have to second (or third!) sputum. I don't even know why it makes me want to vomit because it's by far not the grossest thing I've ever seen, but it does.

Specializes in cardiothoracic surgery.

GI bleeds and this 90 year old with the absolutely most horrendous pressure ulcer ever. It smelled like stool, I was almost gagging changing that dressing! She died a couple days after being admitted to our floor.


89 Posts

Massive lactulose stool when I was in my first trimester...makes me wince thinking of it.

Specializes in ICU.


Oh, wait...

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

i can handle it all...sputum, bleeds, vomit, feces, nasty tumors, wounds - you name it.


show me a clogged toilet and i lose it...

which is precisely what i did at one special clinical.

the toilet was filled w/toilet paper, urine and feces - to the brim.

one look and i vomited, and the bowl ranneth over.

ugh...i am getting queazy just thinking about it.


roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

It has occurred to me over the years that every nurse has one (usually just one) bodily output that they absolutely cannot deal with. One nurse that (figuratively) loses her cookies over mucous can clean the most massive Code Brown without batting an eye. And vice versa. It actually is rather convenient, because when you work within a team, your co-worker can help you with your weak spot and you do the same for them.

Personally, while I don't particularly enjoy cleaning up bodily emissions from any orifice, I haven't come across one that I can't handle. What almost made me pass out was walking into the OR at a hand surgery and seeing fingers lying on the sterile table, separated by several inches of sterile towel from their owner-hand. Go figure.


310 Posts

I had to collect a stool culture on this terrible liquid, mucous, stool. I thought I was a man, but I dry heaved.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

When I was a student I was suctioning a trach tube and when I took the tube out to oxygenate the patient, some of the mucous dripped. I had to turn and barf in the wastebasket, and then continue on.... Mucous is my weak spot still!

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