EP 114: Grossest Parts About Nursing

Grossest Parts About Nursing 

Being a nurse has its ups and downs and perhaps we’ve seen it all. But what about the grossest parts of nursing? In this episode, we are going to be discussing some of the nastiest and grossest about nursing that we have to deal with.

Every nurse has that one gross story to share. When it comes to patients we’ve seen it all from vomit, poop, skin, blood, and so much more. 

The Respiratory Secretions

Respiratory secretions are the nastiest to me out of all of them. But there definitely is something satisfying from properly suctioning a patient and seeing their work of breathing change.

Secretions come in all sorts of colors green, brown, yellow, and red. They also come in all kinds of textures, thick, thin, or frothy. Nurse, Techs, Resp. Therapists and Physicians all suck them out. 

Oral Care

You can tell when someone hasn’t gotten oral care done in a while, it happens in-house and out. 

You will be surprised by what you will find in a patient’s mouth when doing oral care, especially among older patients. 

Vomit

Vomit and peg/ng outputs are bad as well. When a patient is about to vomit nurses are usually the ones running for a basin and you’re lucky if you catch it in time. You’re either catching vomit or cleaning it off your patient. 

Vomit has many different characteristics. Vomit comes in all different colors, green-yellow, brown, and red. It can be coffee ground, thick, watery, and it always smells.

Unfortunately, every so often you see a nurse get a baptism by vomit or from a g tube. 

Elderly Genitalia 

Vaginas, peniss’, and buttholes, nurses see it all. Never in my younger years would have I predicted the number of genitals I’d be seeing. Yes, you go into nursing understanding that there will be genitals just not all the time. Nurses see patients naked all the time, to the point where it almost becomes a no big deal. 

The glamour of our sexual reproductive organs fades over time, especially if you have an overweight patient. Genitalia is also prone to not being taken care of, especially if they are contracted or have been getting full care for a long time. It’s sad to see but also one of the grossest. 

Wounds

Nurses wee a lot of different wounds. We like to say the bloodier the better but that usually refers to traumas that come in. The grossest wounds are the unstageable pressure ulcers that have been forming on someone’s coccyx for the last 3 months.

Tunneling and undermining is a unique process where the breakdown extends under the skin to the fat and muscle tissue. A bad case of tunneling leads to an increased risk for infection but also gives off a nasty odor, drainage, and color.

Poop

We saved the code browns for the end. Nurses see so much poop we have a chart memorized. We call it the bristol stool chart, where if you have 3 number 7s in a shift you might have c diff. Every nurse will have a giant poop story, if you haven’t then it’s building and your day will come.

Nurses all have that day where the poop is so overwhelming that it literally drips off the bead and even on your shoe. Or that time when your patient stood up and that triggered a cascade of unfortunate events. 

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