Nurses share their grossest work stories

Don’t read this on your lunch break

During a recent podcast, nurse administrator Vernell Davis discussed reasons a nurse might be written up.The most common was being late to work. .Another reason was not letting our nurse leader know far enough in advance that you won't be able to work.Failure to communicate promptly and accurately can result in a reprimand, Davis said.Behavior issues, such as outbursts or expressing your personal opinions at work, can lead to a reprimand

Nursing is tough. It takes passion, a strong work ethic and a stomach strong as iron. According to a Feb. 2023 report by Zippia, a recruitment services provider, 95% of nurses within the past three years have reported feeling burnt out. Up to 30% of U.S. nurses quit their jobs in 2021, with 27% of nurses citing burnout as the main reason for doing so. And the current annual turnover rate is 27.1%.

To help illuminate the general populace on the many woes of the modern nursing industry, these nurses decided to share some of their worst — and grossest — work stories.

“During an admission assessment, I discovered maggots crawling out of a patient’s foot,” registered nurse Kati Kleber told Women’s Health Magazine. “I was fairly new to the job and had no clue how to deal with both the maggots and the unforgettable stench, so I had to pull in a more experienced nurse to help me remove and dispose of them. It was a pretty eye-opening experience, to say the least!”

Of course, Kleber is not alone. Nursing is a profession that often comes with strong stenches, unexpected liquids and even more gut-wrenching solids.

“I’ve seen so much stuff crammed into people’s anal cavities that I’m rarely surprised by it anymore,” Nurse Anna told Vice. “We once had a guy who had a bad infection on his butt, as well as a brutal perirectal abscess caused by having his pets lick the open wounds. I typically have an iron stomach, but seeing that almost made me throw up.”

Nurse Jen Hamilton was interested in seeing what some of her fellow nurses’ worst horror stories stacked up, so she took a call to action on TikTok. The stories that followed are not for the easily squeamish.

“I was an intern on my night rotation and the nurse paged me because my patient had gone into a fibrillation with rapid ventricular response, essentially just a really fast and irregular heartbeat,” Dr. Erick responded on TikTok. “The patient was very delirious and pulled out all of her IVs, so the nurses were trying to get more IV access. Unfortunately, she was very volume overloaded and very difficult to find a vein. I found a big, juicy foot vein and I was going to go for it. As I was putting the IV into her foot, she kept saying, ‘I have to have a BM (bowel movement). I have to have a BM.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, just go to the bathroom. You’ll be fine.’

“I was very flustered because I needed to get this IV, and I was ‘Ma’am, just poop! You’ll be fine!’ I had forgotten that this patient had C. diff diarrhea, and she obliged me. Before I knew it, a rocket of explosive diarrhea had jettisoned out of her butt, hit the footboard, and splashed right into my face.”