50 odors from a nursing floor

Let’s face it: Nursing can sometimes be unpleasant… and often one of the most objectionable parts is dealing with the myriad smells that come from patients and the environment.

Not all of the smells are bad, though.

Fresh linen is always nice for instance.

Some scents are particular to certain units and some are universal.

If you are affected by smells, consider investing in a small tube of VapoRub to put under your nose, allowing you to endure and to help your patient.


2. Gangrene

3. GI Bleed

4. Full ostomy bags

5. Blood

6. Urine soaked clothing

7. Fecal matter

8. Alcohol pads

9. Bleach

10. Fresh clean gloves

11. Tube feeding solution

12. Day’s old sweat on a patient

13. Fresh linen

14. Sterile gloves

15. Fresh IV tubing

16. Little old lady perfume

17. Fresh flatus

18. Freshly opened 4x4s

19. Opened coccyx wounds

20. The dirty utility room

21. Cheap soap used in bed baths

22. Spilt insulin

23. Oxygen from a nasal cannula

24. The fresh scent of your replacement’s soap

25. Freshly printed paper

26. Fecal matter from colon cancer patient

27. Fruity smell of ketoacidosis

28. Disinfectant

29. Hand sanitizer

30. Hand moisturizer

31. Hand soap

32. Yeast infections

33. Inside of a airborne precautions mask

34. New disposal gown smell

35. The break room on holidays

36. Trays from the cafeteria

37. Lingering smell of epic code brown

38. Air freshener sprayed to chase bad smells away

39. The break room refrigerator

40. A freshly made bed that never held a patient

41. Alcohol

42. Cigarette smoke

43. Marijuana

44. Plastic from sterile materials

45. Faint smell of normal saline

46. Band aides

47. Orange juice

48. Coffee

49. Popcorn

50. Old paper charts

Of course, there are more than just fifty smells that nurses deal with every day. Even different rooms have their own smell about them.

Patient body odor and hygiene in general can play a large part in the smells experienced by nurses. In nursing homes, you may even be able to smell the remnants of perm solution on a patient’s head if she’s been to the beautician that day.

Not all smells in nursing are necessarily bad. Some can make your stomach turn, but some can remind you of why you became a nurse, and provide a welcome respite as you move through your day.

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