Janie had an extremely squeamish stomach. She could not tolerate seeing sputum, urine, or feces samples when they were placed in their clear plastic containers on the nursing station’s ledge. The containers had to be wrapped in a paper towel or she would call for the person who dared to place it there, to come back to the station to cover the specimen. Janie’s job was to complete the request form for the proper test and place it beside the offending sample.
Underneath the ledge of the nursing station was the intercom box for the unit. Janie was the one who most often answered the call bells and made announcements for “patient care needed in room #... ”
Unknown to the nursing assistant, the specimen bottle of urine had a crack in it. When she placed it on the ledge, the urine began to ooze out. It began to drip down onto the call box. Janie had seen the sample sitting there and was filling out the request for the urinalysis. She turned to place the completed chit on the ledge with the sample and noticed the urine dripping down onto the call bell system. First she gagged, holding her hand over her mouth. She jumped up, her chair shooting across the station and bouncing off the wall. She danced in a circle, not knowing what to do. She thought “I can’t use the call box, it’s covered in urine. Even if I tried to use it, I’d get electrocuted.”
Holding her hand to her mouth, she gagged again, darted out of the station and into the hallway, grabbing the nearest person to rectify the problem. That nursing assistant brought a Styrofoam cup and placed the leaking bottle inside. She toweled off the ledge, but they had to call housekeeping and maintenance to clean and check the call bell box before Janie would even look at the intercom system again