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‘Is it up to me to tell my mentor they have a body odour problem?’


Do you have any advice for this student nurse?

“My mentor has a problem with body odour. Normally, I wouldn’t mind but some of our patients have clearly noticed and one of them even mentioned it to me. It can’t be nice having someone do your personal care when they smell and it must be poor infection control.

“I can’t tell if the rest of the team know. They’ve not said anything but I think it’s fairly obvious.

“Is it my place to say something?”

Claire, Bangor


Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Oh dear it's a difficult one that's for sure. Can her boss be contacted as I really don't think you should be burdened with this. I don't think I could tell her but I could put something anonymous up on whatever site she is on. The cowards way yes but better than nothing. I wish you luck.

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  • I agree with the first comment. It depends on your relationship with your mentor and others in the team whether you can discuss it with them and then one of their peers could mention it as they must also be aware too. it is one of those things when everybody hopes somebody else will mention it! the only problem is, as a student, you could end up blacklisting yourself with unwanted consequences and as Anon 11.31 says you shouldn't put a burden on yourself and especially with these potential risks.

    there must be articles on the website which give some advice as it most certainly is not a new or unique problem and something we have all encountered in the workplace and it should be up to the team leader to deal with it.

    a general discussion on hygiene leading on to personal hygiene at a ward meeting could be a good starting point? or some way of dropping a big hint!

    by devious means, and without open discussion about it with your patients, you might just be lucky enough, on this occasion, to find a blunt and rather outspoken one as there are some around...?

    Good luck with finding a resolution to this very unpleasant problem for everybody concerned.

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  • Know ALL about it and thinking of a midwife with horrendous breath!! I think she was eventually tackled but rather late on in the piece and trust me it knocked you sideways. Those poor parents having to suffer while some manager eventually decided to broach the subject. Let's remember that's what managers are paid to do and so often don't do inspite of their higher salaries.

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  • one would also expect managers to be capable of, or have training in, dealing promptly with any sensitive issues which come their way. it is their role to protect patients and their staff from the poor and unwanted behaviour of others who are under them and cause continual disharmony in their team.

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  • I think we can dream on here! sad but so true.

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  • An anonymous gift of some deodourant?

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  • I'd say it is not up to you as a student to discuss this problem with your mentor. Either speak to a member of staff on the ward who you feel you can trust, your PEF or LEM if you have one or if you really feel awkward speak to your Link Tutor at university and ask them to bring it up with the placement management.

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  • I agree with above. although it is often always best to speak directly to the person concerned, where there is a difference in perceived hierarchical levels it is probably safer for you if somebody of her own level or above deals with the problem as it obviously does not concern you alone and could lead to some unwanted consequences and even jeopardise you and your assignment. subsequent bulling and with ostracism might not be excluded.

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