Do Nurses Clean Poop? | Responsibilities & Duties

Yes, nurses clean poop or, as they like to say, code browns. Nurses deal with bodily fluids regularly.

It includes cleaning stool, suctioning fluids, drawing blood, swabbing patients, dressing wounds, and administering IVs.

Stool/poop creates rashes and bowel infections and causes numerous health problems if not addressed.

As a result, patients that aren’t properly treated and cleaned risk reduced wellness, comfort, and health.

Ensure patients are correctly cleaned, nurses comfort their daily lives, and provide a hygienic healthcare setting.

Not only does it improve the patient’s experience, but it also makes the environment safer for everyone involved.

How Often Do Nurses Clean Stools/Poop?

How often nurses clean stool/poop depends on their daily responsibilities.

For example, nurses working in a nursing home or in departments where patients receive treatment that causes the frequent release of stool will clean poop regularly.

Conversely, nurses in management and oversight roles will be less likely to clean stool.

Instead, they oversee nursing staff and address clinical concerns.

With that said, nurses can pursue numerous disciplines that either limit patient care experiences or eliminates them.

It includes working in clinical, legal, educational, research-focused, and entrepreneurial careers.

As a result, not all nurses clean poop or provide direct patient care.

What Does Cleaning Poop/Stool Consist Of?

The process of cleaning stool varies depending on the situation. For example, some nurses perform ostomy bag changes and clean the stoma during transitions.

This cleaning method keeps stool concealed in a bag and disposed of quickly.

In other cases, nurses may swap out bedpans, change adult diapers, or care for patients with diarrhea.

After cleaning/removing the stool, nurses may bathe patients, assist with dressing and clothing, and replace bedsheets.

Another factor impacting how nurses care for their patients is their condition.

A patient’s ability to provide self-care may be limited due to cognitive or physical limitations.

For example, nurses may assist unconscious/sedated patients or patients suffering from illnesses/injuries, cognitive impairment, or age-related conditions.

In all cases, following sanitary practices, cleaning patients thoroughly, and properly disposing of the stool are essential.

The unmanaged stool can cause sanitary issues, lead to infections, and create harmful bacteria.

Ultimately, a nurse’s process of cleaning poop/stool varies based on their work setting, responsibilities, and patients.

What Else Do Nurses Clean

Besides cleaning stools, nurses may be responsible for cleaning vomit, urine, and wounds.

Furthermore, some nurses will bathe patients, clean bedpans, assist with feeding and manage the daily care of their patients.

Properly sanitizing medical equipment, decreasing germs, and preventing harmful bacteria/infections are also important.

Although cleaning stool/poop isn’t an appealing responsibility, it is essential for proper patient care.

Nursing is a team effort; they work together to manage, lift, clean, bathe and care for their patients.

Therefore, most nurses aren’t left alone to deal with the non-glamorous parts of treating patients.

Every healthcare provider has an essential role in ensuring proper patient care.

Other Registered Nurse Responsibilities

  • Assess the patient’s medical condition (observe and interpret symptoms)
  • Evaluate patients throughout their rehabilitation
  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Educate patients about the medical process
  • Collaborate with nurses and doctors/physicians to develop patient care plans
  • Update medical records and documentation
  • Supervise LPNs, CNAs, and nursing assistants
  • Assist patients in the ICU, ED, critical care, trauma unit, and other sensitive environments

Nurses, especially registered nurses, are responsible for much more than cleaning poop.

These healthcare professionals play a significant role in all treatment areas and provide most of a patient’s daily care. Many patients spend more time being treated, monitored, and assessed by nurses than by physicians. The previous bulleted list provides a brief example of nurses’ many responsibilities.

Which Careers Are Less Messy?

Although cleaning poop is a normal part of many nurses’ jobs, it’s not for everyone.

As a result, it’s essential to mention nursing jobs that require little or no cleaning.

Nurses who prefer professions that don’t require cleaning poop can pursue careers as educators, legal nurses, researchers, nurse managers, APRNs, and even entrepreneurs.

In regards to APRNs, becoming a nurse anesthetist allows nurses to earn fantastic incomes by administering anesthesia to patients.

Due to their role and medical prioritization, a nurse anesthetist will rarely be responsible for cleaning stool.

Beyond that, many doctors, physicians, and respiratory therapist do not clean their patients.

Instead, the nurses that support them often perform those duties.

For those who want to provide care to patients but avoid the messier side working in an administrative, legal, research-based, or educational career may be best.

However, you may still have to perform those duties as a registered nurse while earning an advanced degree and transitioning careers.

Most high-level nurses, including APRNs, worked as RNs at some point and have experienced the same responsibilities and tasks.

Don’t Underestimate Nurses!

It’s easy for people who don’t understand nursing to overlook nurses’ impact, training/education, and capacities.

These healthcare providers play a significant role in all areas of healthcare.

Furthermore, they make up the majority of workers within the healthcare system. Without nurses’ support, doctors, physicians, and other medical professionals wouldn’t provide adequate patient care.

Those who pursue nursing roles can specialize in clinical, legal, educational, research-focused, and entrepreneurial careers.

As a result, they influence the healthcare system and many other businesses, sciences, and law disciplines.

A nurse’s scope of practice depends on their training and education.

At the entry level, nurses perform primary patient care that involves assisting patients with daily tasks, cleaning poop, bathing patients, and helping with feeding.

However, nurses can advance their careers, receive high-level education and become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

APRNs can prescribe medications, act as primary care providers, and even open clinics at this level.

Even more, some highly trained nurses earn six-figure salaries for their expertise.

Nurses who receive advanced education can earn their master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctorate of nursing practice (DNP).

That’s right; nurses can earn their doctorate degrees!

With that said, APRNs are not physicians or medical doctors.

However, their ability to prescribe medication, administer anesthesia, open clinics, and become primary care providers is impressive. How’s that for cleaning poop?