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What Freaks You Out?


Okay, people. It's time for a nice, fun, light-hearted discussion to blow off some steam.

WHAT FREAKS YOU OUT? What bodily fluid can't you STAND? What wound gives you the absolute WILLIES? It doesn't matter if you're an ADN, BSN, LPN, CNA, PQRST, ABCDEFG...every body gets the heebie jeebies over SOMETHING...even you stomach-of-steel ER nurses!

Mine is eyeball injuries/surgery...aaaaaaaaackkkkkkk!! Gross! Makes my skin absolutely CRAWL. Or when someone gets a little cut on their finger/toe/whatever and then squeezes it to make it bleed!! Bleah!! Then there's the ever-popular RESPIRATORY SECRETIONS. I can handle poop, pee, amniotic fluid, lanced boils, pus, whatever...but give me a nasty snot-filled trach, and I'm OUTTA THERE.

Share, share, share people! biggrin.gif


Edited by Brian S.

Ahh, something lighter... let's see what freaks me out.

One nasty thing I hate is c-diff. We have a few on our floor and it's just nasty! The smell almost made me throw up a few nights ago.

Me personally I can't stand getting needles. Giving them, I'm good but getting them, no way. I had to get my titres tested a while back so I just popped over to the lab to get blood drawn. They didn't want me to go back to the floor cause they thought I was going to pass out!



traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Ok, well, I'm an ER nurse and I don't like teeth things. I don't mind if they are completely gone, but just hanging there makes my skin crawl. judi

I am an EMT as well as an RN, so I have a pretty strong stomach and thought that there would be nothing that really bothered me after being exposed to it enough. Ortho surgeries drive me crazy, even the thought of an ortho surgery gives me the willies. It's weird because, having seen my share of open fracture, I thought that this would never be a problem, but I guess you can count me out as a surgical nurse.


Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care. Has 17 years experience.

We were talking about this at work the other day (in ICU). I hate trach secretions too. Somehow, it's worse thru a trach than thru our closed suctioning endotracheal tubes. But what would really freak me out is a situation I heard another nurse describe (I haven't, Thank God, encountered it myself): once she took a patient off a bedpan and it was full of BIG intestinal WORMS. eek.gif AAAACCKKKKK!!! Other nurses also described having to apply leeches as their worst nightmare (haven't done that yet either but I think I could handle leeches before BIG INTESTINAL WORMS!!!!). AAAAACCCKKK again!

Hi kday. Pretty much most bodily fluids gross me out. Somehow, I've managed to stay at the bedside all these years in spite of this. Someone indicated in their post that c-diff grossed them out. Ever smell Kleb. or Hemop. Even seeing germy looking sputum or sputum sitting in a container caused me to barf. Vomitus, especially with food contents, has about the same effect for me. Gross.....

I use to cringe sitting at the meal table when respiratory therapists or nurses didn't think twice about discussing a patient's sputum or vomitus. Gross.....

Imagine how the patient, if they are with it, and the families must feel when they know what's going on. I've had families not visit their loved ones in ICU because of being fearful or grossed out over bodily substances.

External pins in orthopaedic surgical pts. and vomit!! Just can't stand it.

BLEAH!! The ortho comments DEFINITELY made me screech 'eeeeeeeeeeeewwwww!!' Yeah, the pins-in-the-skin thing is nasty. I had to have that MYSELF once as a patient, and thought I was gonna HURL! Thank GOD for valium!! As for the vomit stuff, I see so much puking on L&D, that I actually can tell what the patient had for dinner by looking at the vomit...ISN'T THAT SCARY? But I still can't deal when my CAT barfs up a hairball. NO WAY!! Uh-uh. Not cleaning THAT up!

What a refreshing change of pace from the venting...

I'm an OB nurse, so anything that comes out the "bottom half" I can handle! I'm even OK with vomit. But snot, sputum, or any other respiratory secretion absolutely grosses me out! I must also look away while a woman gets an episiotomy. The aftermath is OK, it's the actual cut that bothers me. Must be the equivalent of a guy watching another guy get kicked in the testicles!

Thanks for the humor you guys!


I hate emptying NG cannisters, esp if it is real mucousy or chunky!! And I hate vomit or spit--makes me dry heave!!

Okay, I guess I'm done with lunch now. Several things give me the heeby-jeebies (or the gaggies). In no particular order:

--vomit (esp. the smell)

--lower GI bleeds (definitely the smell)

--some mouth care, as discussed on another thread, esp. brushing crusty old stained dentures [dry heave]

--any abdominal wound so large that I can fit my arm up to the elbow in it and it takes 24 rolls of Kerlix per dressing change

--anything where I have to use a flashlight (or wear a miner's helmet)to see what I'm doing, as in the previous dressing change or putting in a Foley in some large elderly women ["I'm going in--if I'm not back in 30 minutes, send in a search party"]

--any sputum that isn't crystal clear

--anything to do with fingernails, like removing a nail or evacuating a hematoma--I get sympathy pains

Sometimes it's the weirdest things that freak you out. The first time I helped a neurosurgeon put in a ventriculostomy at the bedside, watched him freeze the scalp--no problem. Drill the burrhole--no problem. When he threaded that big knitting needle through the scalp to secure the catheter, the veteran ICU nurse standing next to me and I both went, "Eeeewwwww!" The surgeon started laughing and said, "Okay, NOW you're going to get grossed out?"

I have a feeling the winner will be mucus. Gagging just thinking about it. I've seen 20 year veterans turn their heads while suctioning a trach! The noise alone! Slurrpp!

Originally posted by traumaRUs:

Ok, well, I'm an ER nurse and I don't like teeth things. I don't mind if they are completely gone, but just hanging there makes my skin crawl. judi

I knew a nurse that couldn't handle dentures! She told me it was worse in the old days before gloves and people would just pop 'em out and hand them to ya!

Funny thing, when growing up, my great grandmother lived in a long term setting. I remember the smell. I used to call it "old people smell". When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the only thing I knew for sure, I couldn't be a nurse. My first job as a nurse?........ Nursing home. Funny how things work out....The grossest (is that a word?) thing that I ever encountered in this job? A little old lady who deteriiorated so quickly, it still freaks me out. One day she walked around, catatonic like, the next, bedridden. Despite meticulous skin care....she became covered in large fluid filled blisters, almost overnight. By about week two, there was a cavity around her coccyx area that tunneled in so deep, you could clearly see her spine. The dressing changes were terrible. I left that job shortly after........ mud

I don't believe i'm going to tell these stories, but here goes....

I lost it TWICE in my whole career.... both in nursing school. I HATED ob/gyn & peds [no surprise that I'm a Gerontological nurse]. I BEGGED my teacher to NOT make me watch a live child birth. Of course, she taught me who was boss, and sent me into the delivery room with another classmate, Kelly. I kept telling Kelly, I was going to 'lose it' and she kept telling me: "no you're not, you're fine....now shut up." I backed all the way up [until the wall prevented me from backing up further].... then the baby came out, and so did my lunch. I think the patient was offended, I know her husband was- the Dr.'s & nurses just looked at me with disgust. Kelly was upset all she could say was 'you always embarass us- no matter where we go!'

The second time was during a circumcision of a newborn. All I could remember was the baby's screams echoing in the back of my head, finally, I recall a 'wave' of green cascade over my visual field, and I felt like I was asleep. I heard my teacher yell 'oh my God, there he goes.' She tried to grab me, but dropped me. The next thing I remember was being on a stretcher looking at the stained ceiling tiles.

As you can imagine,when I get together with nursing school friends, the conversation ALWAYS comes around to.... "Do you remember when Tim..." and then I know what's coming next.

lets see I do fine with just about what ever is thrown at me with excetion of those nasty gag reflexing luggies that dont come out. But once in our small town ER we had this farmers wife come in with an unable to void problem she was nasty hadnt bathed in years senerio I was working with an agency RN (this was back when I was a Tech) when we went to cath her we found chicken feathers the nurse lost it. and I was traumatized for ever. ewwwyyaaaak

This is a great thread! smile.gif I must admit that as a student so far one of the worst for me has been the GI bleed pt with the blood that just kept coming and coming! Unbelievable smell- even the guys were shaking their heads over that one. Also, I hate dealing with NG canisters. That just does not seem right. I keep thinking of what it would be like if that stuff slipped out of my hand and hit the floor...