Dealing With Gross, Point Blank

| Working | September 22, 2014

(I work casually at a local vet clinic as a kennel hand, whilst studying to actually be a veterinarian. There is very little that grosses me out. We occasionally have work experience students come in and shadow the staff. It’s the weekend, so we are literally a skeleton staff: me, a vet, and a receptionist; no nurse. I arrive at work to be told there is a student coming to shadow me, because she is thinking about training as a vet nurse.)

Me: “So what made you think about becoming a nurse?”

Student: “Well, I really love animals, and I’m not smart enough to be a vet. The studying is just too hard. So a nurse is the next best thing.”

(I’m a little taken aback, as training to be a nurse isn’t easy either. This girl also seems to have very little interest in what I am doing, duties often done by nurses. She seems to be squeamish about getting her hands dirty as we work, which includes cleaning litter trays and picking up after dogs. During the morning, the vet comes up to us to inform us that a dog has had a rather messy accident in the consult room, and needs us to clean it up. It’s the perfect opportunity. I proceed to go clean up while she watches.)

Student: *who at this point still has not actually gotten involved helping me* “I don’t know how you do that, like touching it and stuff. I don’t think I could handle it.”

Me: *biting my tongue* “This is fairly normal for a nurse or kennel hand to deal with. And it can be much, much worse. You get used to it pretty quickly.”

Student: “So you really deal with a lot of stuff like this? Like, all this gross stuff?”

Me: “Nurses deal with it daily.”

(I then get her to hold open a bin liner so that I can throw away all the contaminated paper towels and other disposables. The smell of the cleaning chemicals we used is strong enough that you can’t smell anything else, but she is still gagging and carrying on about how she can’t handle it, and she’s doesn’t like blood, and so on. It takes all my self-control to not say anything. By the end of my shift, I am exasperated and in disbelief, although I still suggest she come and shadow the trained nurses for a better idea of the job. After she leaves, I turn to the receptionist, who is well aware that I am annoyed.)

Receptionist: *grinning* “You’re not sure she’ll work out as a nurse?”

Me: “Oh, she’ll do great, if she can find a nursing position that involves cuddling puppies and kittens all day and deals with absolutely nothing else whatsoever.”

Receptionist: “That bad?”

Me: “Who the h*** is squeamish about seeing blood and decides they want to work in a vet clinic?!”

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