Nursing is a proud tradition. It’s also, year after year, named by top pollsters as the most trusted profession in the U.S. Vocational nursing is not, however, a glamor gig. It is hard work. The hours are long. While the job is unquestionably rewarding, it is just as challenging. Nurses, and anyone who works in the healthcare field, are witness to scenarios that most people wouldn’t dream of seeing. Here are just a few of the, let’s just call them unsightly, things that nurses see every day.
1. Wounds, Sores, Seeping Things
Vocational nurses are the go-to for changing dressing, clearing drains, and dealing with all types of topical infections. Fact: nurses become intimately familiar with puss. The first time a new nurse goes head to head with a pressure ulcer, he or she is not likely to forget it. Get the saline, latex gloves, and the masks ready. Whatever gross thing needs to be cleaned out, the shift nurse is going to have to do it.
When infirmed or terminal patients remain sedentary for long periods that can lead to a host of problems. Bodies are meant to move and when they don’t, things that normally remain liquid, like urine, become saturated and thick. Those patients require regular catheter maintenance, or flushing and clearing the solid debris from the drainage port and the rest of the tubing. The catheter itself either needs to be sanitized regularly to prevent infections and severe discomfort for the patient. Stagnant urine…let’s just say it’s a smell you won’t forget. This is why, without question, hospice care is in a somewhat literal sense, the work of saints.
3. One Word: Poop
Look: it’s a part of the job. You have to become, in a sense, poop-fluent. Patients recovering from surgery need to answer detailed questions about their bowel movements before they can go home. Nurses also have to discuss the quality of said poop before that patient can check out. As a vocational nurse, you’ll likely have to collect poop samples, and discuss poop findings with your team. Then there’s the poop that happens: on floors, in beds, in showers. (“Poop Happens” should become the motto of every ER and nursing home in the country.) Every vocational nurse has a poop story. You’ll have yours, too. Wear it as a badge of honor (the story, please, not the poop).
It’s a given that nurses see bodies in reverse most of the time. Meaning, that for a good part of the day in a hospital, surgical office, or critical care center, nurses see all the fluids that are supposed to be inside the body on the outside. Nurses draw blood. They sometimes also have to clean it up. They see it, a lot of it, in the OR, the ER, and the urgent care. You could say that healthcare is a bloody business. (Also: that’s true. It is. Very.)
We don’t mean the ones from cigarettes. We do mean the very thing that we all sit on. Nurses stick suppositories up them. They also often perform a task called manual disimpaction (see also #3). Nurses doing a lot of wiping and cleaning of many a variety of human butt. In this profession, you will see them in many types of conditions from all different types of people. You’ll have to wrap them in adult undergarments (we do mean diapers). It’s nurses, and not doctors, who have end up dealing with whatever goes on “down there.” Even if that doctor is a proctologist, consider the human butt the nurses’ exclusive domain.
If nursing were an easy field, everyone would do it. It’s the most dedicated and fearless that stick with it. Vocational nursing is tough. It’s a calling. It is also, at times, gross. It’s true. Nursing can be gross. Make no mistake about it: nurses are often tasked with doing a lot of thankless stuff. It’s one of the many, many reasons that they are such extraordinary people.
Are you ready to start your journey towards becoming extraordinary? Call us today at 310-559-0225 and find out more about why we were ranked the top LVN program in California.