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.
3. GI Bleed
4. Full ostomy bags
6. Urine soaked clothing
7. Fecal matter
8. Alcohol pads
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
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
42. Cigarette smoke
44. Plastic from sterile materials
45. Faint smell of normal saline
46. Band aides
47. Orange juice
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.