experienced RN's please chime in!

  1. hi everyone! after two years of fighting very hard to graduate, i am proud to say that at age 35, i passed my comp exam on aug 23rd! (albeit 2 weeks late behind my class due to a case of legionnaires disease i had caught on my honeymoon!) i literally had a better statistical chance of winning the lottery... and believe me, i wish i would have!

    being a second career nurse i was eager to use my new skills and took a job immediately on a med surg unit. but at age 35 (not old, but not 20 either) and already a long time migraine sufferer, i had found that i had additional aches and pains after 12 hour shifts devoid of food or time to pee. my previous experience was limited to 6 hour clinicals.

    i am concerned that i won't be able to make it working 12-14 hour days. i have also found a prevailing attitude amongst a fair number of nurses that it is not ok to be a person that needs to take ibuprofen, let alone any other med and am just not sure that i should be a floor nurse if i have to get glared at when i go for the advil so that i can actually feel my feet and keep working. i understand the narc problems reported with some nurses, but i am not one of them and do not appreciate the prejudice volleyed at me merely because i was given a weak body, but a strong mind and spirit.

    being approved of by my peers is something that i had thought about alot in and before nursing school because of my migraines and the long hours, but never thought it would be as big of a challenge as it has turned out to be. i guess denial is a powerful motivator.

    i worked 6 shifts and was unexpectedly hospitalized for 10 days for acute pancreatitis and cholecystectomy/ercp. it was as much of a shock for me as much as it seemed to be irritating for my manager, as i was sure it was all a result of some poorly prepared, hospital-made egg salad and i would only be out for a day or two. but a lipase level of 10,000 does not lie.

    much to my despair, the nurses at the neighboring hospital near my house were very rude to me and i even overheard one say that i had so many meds in the cart that how was i supposed to be a nurse?! i'm not sure what that had to do with her providing me with appropriate patient care.

    it does not give me much hope for the future of nursing to see so few nice men and women amongst a pit of bitter souls no doubt created by the very environment in which they work. i am sure that not all of them started out as dried up she-devil outcasts from hell, but it still makes me sad for the patients, now that i have been one and have seen the other side. my only weapon was my nursing knowledge and the strength to advocate and make my nurse come in off of her unauthorized smoke break on a smoke free campus to unhook me so i could desperately pee. but what about the poor 90 year olds who can't even speak?

    as a graduate nurse, i have provided excellent tlc and have been told so by my patients. they say that my touch is calming to them and that tells me i am doing my job. i have never had a complaint about my clinical skills. i pride myself on my work ethic and willingness to learn and better myself, but the hospital terminated me today anyway because i could not take the nclex since i was in the hospital and am now unlicensed.

    i'm really starting to feel as though i've made a huge mistake picking this career because it seems like i just don't fit the mold regarding attitude or physical condition and unit managers who are stuck between nurses needs and understaffing.

    i guess my question is - are the nurses right? are some people (like me) just not cut out to be nurses even if they are good at their job? should i look at other possibilities besides floor nurse, and as a new grad what options would be open? how should i handle future job interviews if i want to be honest about my migraines and not flag myself, as it is apparently not enough to simply be honest.

    can anyone offer some insight, or should i just hang it up and go back to working in a cube?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   ortess1971
    Quote from strugglinginva
    hi everyone! after two years of fighting very hard to graduate, i am proud to say that at age 35, i passed my comp exam on aug 23rd! (albeit 2 weeks late behind my class due to a case of legionnaires disease i had caught on my honeymoon!) i literally had a better statistical chance of winning the lottery... and believe me, i wish i would have!

    being a second career nurse i was eager to use my new skills and took a job immediately on a med surg unit. but at age 35 (not old, but not 20 either) and already a long time migraine sufferer, i had found that i had additional aches and pains after 12 hour shifts devoid of food or time to pee. my previous experience was limited to 6 hour clinicals.

    i am concerned that i won't be able to make it working 12-14 hour days. i have also found a prevailing attitude amongst a fair number of nurses that it is not ok to be a person that needs to take ibuprofen, let alone any other med and am just not sure that i should be a floor nurse if i have to get glared at when i go for the advil so that i can actually feel my feet and keep working. i understand the narc problems reported with some nurses, but i am not one of them and do not appreciate the prejudice volleyed at me merely because i was given a weak body, but a strong mind and spirit.

    being approved of by my peers is something that i had thought about alot in and before nursing school because of my migraines and the long hours, but never thought it would be as big of a challenge as it has turned out to be. i guess denial is a powerful motivator.

    i worked 6 shifts and was unexpectedly hospitalized for 10 days for acute pancreatitis and cholecystectomy/ercp. it was as much of a shock for me as much as it seemed to be irritating for my manager, as i was sure it was all a result of some poorly prepared, hospital-made egg salad and i would only be out for a day or two. but a lipase level of 10,000 does not lie.

    much to my despair, the nurses at the neighboring hospital near my house were very rude to me and i even overheard one say that i had so many meds in the cart that how was i supposed to be a nurse?! i'm not sure what that had to do with her providing me with appropriate patient care.

    it does not give me much hope for the future of nursing to see so few nice men and women amongst a pit of bitter souls no doubt created by the very environment in which they work. i am sure that not all of them started out as dried up she-devil outcasts from hell, but it still makes me sad for the patients, now that i have been one and have seen the other side. my only weapon was my nursing knowledge and the strength to advocate and make my nurse come in off of her unauthorized smoke break on a smoke free campus to unhook me so i could desperately pee. but what about the poor 90 year olds who can't even speak?

    as a graduate nurse, i have provided excellent tlc and have been told so by my patients. they say that my touch is calming to them and that tells me i am doing my job. i have never had a complaint about my clinical skills. i pride myself on my work ethic and willingness to learn and better myself, but the hospital terminated me today anyway because i could not take the nclex since i was in the hospital and am now unlicensed.

    i'm really starting to feel as though i've made a huge mistake picking this career because it seems like i just don't fit the mold regarding attitude or physical condition and unit managers who are stuck between nurses needs and understaffing.

    i guess my question is - are the nurses right? are some people (like me) just not cut out to be nurses even if they are good at their job? should i look at other possibilities besides floor nurse, and as a new grad what options would be open? how should i handle future job interviews if i want to be honest about my migraines and not flag myself, as it is apparently not enough to simply be honest.

    can anyone offer some insight, or should i just hang it up and go back to working in a cube?
    you're right, the hospital environment is not a very sympathetic one...you will find in any specialty, there are those that will look at illness or injury as something you should be blamed for. my friends that don't work in healthcare are astounded by this..what it comes down to is just ignore those people. your health is the most important thing and you can't be penalized if you are under a doctors care. there are plenty of nurses(and doctors too!) with a chronic illness so you are not alone and you are still capable of being a nurse. these same nurses that are dogging you would expect the world to stop if they got sick. i wouldn't quit nursing, but i might start looking for another place to work, yours sounds particularly toxic. hang in there-you sound like a good nurse!
  4. by   PANurseRN1
    It does not give me much hope for the future of nursing to see so few nice men and women amongst a pit of bitter souls no doubt created by the very environment in which they work. I am sure that not ALL of them started out as dried up She-devil outcasts from hell, but it still makes me sad for the patients, now that I have been one and have seen the other side.
    You completely lost any sympathy from me (and I'm a fellow migraine sufferer) with this. Why did you even post that you wanted feedback from experienced nurses? You clearly wanted to just rant against older nurses with this post. I could have offered you a fair amount of advice as a nurse with 21y of experience and a migraine sufferer since childhood, but after reading that, forget it.

    What a totally hateful thing to say. :angryfire
  5. by   rnin02
    I work with plenty of nurses who take Advil (or Tylenol, or someother OTC pain med) regularly during their shifts. Big deal! Its a hard job, you are on your feet constantly, by the end of my shift I'm sometimes so stiff and sore it hurts to sit! And the stress of being a new nurse doesn't help migraines either, I remember that from when I started nursing. You just need to do what's right for you, and find a new hospital after you pass your NCLEX. Try to work part time if you can at first, to get used to things. And make sure you enjoy your days off.
  6. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    With the nursing shortage being as severe as it is, I would wager that there are dozens of nurses on your floor who are taking pain meds regularly. Musculoskeletal injuries are extremely common among health care professionals, and they are usually pressured into returning to work far sooner than their bodies would like. Others, like you, may be afflicted with severe migraines and need to address their pain in order to function. I get dehydration headaches at work from not having enough time to drink anything on my breaks. Until I figured out what was causing my headaches and started carrying a bottle of water around with me, Aleve was my best friend. Oh, and let's not forget dysmenorrhea! Your coworkers need to mind their own business. You're not self-medicating with narcotics or muscle relaxants... so what's the problem?
  7. by   Justhere
    Take this time to figure out what part of nursing you want to work in. Alot of new grads feel they need to go work Med-Surg before they move to the area they really want to work in. But I feel if you have a calling to a certain type of floor go there. My MIL has migraines and has worked as a nurse for 12 years. I have a list of things that have gone wrong with me and hate when I go in the hospital and have to give my medical hx due to being so long.
    Tonsils 1975
    Nasal Septum repair and polyp removal 1987 and 2002.
    C-section 1994 and 1999
    Cholesectomy 1995
    Appendectomy 1997
    Exp Lap due to ovarian cyst March & December of 2003, & 2004
    Bilateral Inguinal Hernia Repair 2005 (and need it again, tore back lose 5 months later)
    Hospitalized due to HA that was causing numbness on left side of face (hospital couldn't figure out what it was) so once I went home I quit all my meds and started them back one by one and found out it was my cholesterol med causing the HA.
    Then my list of allergies has grown and nurses love to pick on them especially if it contains a lot of narcotics because they then believe you are just drug seeking a certain drug.
    Iodine (vomiting and had an allergy test that said I was highly allergic)
    Codiene (severe chest pains, thought I was having a heart attack)
    Vicodine (itching)
    Morphine (vomiting, I know that is not suppose to be an allergy but if you do it 15 minutes after you get it, it is not to fun to have when you had abdominal surgery.)

    I now work in the nursery so I'm not doing alot of heavy lifting so I don't aggrivate my hernia's, hope to stay away from the hospital as a patient as long as possible.
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from strugglinginva
    being a second career nurse i was eager to use my new skills and took a job immediately on a med surg unit. but at age 35 (not old, but not 20 either) and already a long time migraine sufferer, i had found that i had additional aches and pains after 12 hour shifts devoid of food or time to pee. my previous experience was limited to 6 hour clinicals.

    i am concerned that i won't be able to make it working 12-14 hour days. i have also found a prevailing attitude amongst a fair number of nurses that it is not ok to be a person that needs to take ibuprofen, let alone any other med and am just not sure that i should be a floor nurse if i have to get glared at when i go for the advil so that i can actually feel my feet and keep working. i understand the narc problems reported with some nurses, but i am not one of them and do not appreciate the prejudice volleyed at me merely because i was given a weak body, but a strong mind and spirit.
    [font="comic sans ms"]why are your twelve hour shifts devoid of food and time to pee? there isn't much that can't wait for five minutes for you to take a bathroom break (i would argue that cpr would be one of those things). and getting your lunch is part of taking care of yourself. i can understand where you have the occaisional bad day where one patient codes and another has to be transported with you at his side, but every day should not be that bad. take the time and eat your lunch. you can't be very therapuetic with a growling stomach!

    and as far as the meds, why doesn anyone else need to know when you're going for the advil? you're not taking it out of floor stock, are you? (don't, even if it does seem to be common practice where you work. you don't need everyone watching you do it and speculating about your health.) if you're just pulling a dose out of your purse and taking it, why does anyone else even need to know about it? you're not making a big production out of how miserable you feel and how much you need your otcs, are you? if you are, that would explain the glares, and possibly some eye rolling. your co-workers, who are probably already overworked, don't want to hear about your body's weaknesses because they're probably anticipating the need to cover some of your work load. try to downplay the migraines and aches and pains as much as possible, especially while you're new.

    starting a new job and being the new kid on the block is always difficult. try to give it some time before you conclude that it isn't for you.
  9. by   wonderbee
    I have bad knees. Had bad knees when I was in NS working as a tech too. My first day on the job as a tech, my preceptor told me that I should think about not becoming a nurse because I couldn't run downstairs with her. Just like that. Man, they're out there ladies and gents. Where's the compassion toward each other? So far in my job as a nurse, there has never been a situation which required me to run up or down any stairs.

    Fortunately, I work on a unit where the nurses do look out for each other for the most part. It is rare and there are limits. Most of us are walking pharamcies with our own home brought stock of ibuprophen, acetominophen, cold meds. It's a job where you don't get to call in sick much so you drag your aches, pains and illnesses into work with you. If you didn't come in with any, the hospital will generously give you aches and pains and illnesses when you go home.

    Perhaps some have more health issues than others to deal with. It's hard to ignore the fact that one was terminated for this reason so the subject needs dealing with. I don't know of any nursing job where a new grad doesn't need to spend a year on a floor or unit of a facility doing shift work, full time. Knowing that, maybe you should avoid 12 hour shift work and look for a facility that does 8's or 10's. Also consider working with younger peds pts who are lighter and easier to deal with on a physical level. There might also be some outpatient entry level positions in some of the labs like EP lab or GI lab where there is a willingness to orient a new grad though I do recommend that you get a year in of med surg whether it's peds or adult. It's a foundation for your future. Once you get a year in, you can go anywhere like say a doctor's office or school nursing or whatever. You can go part time or casual if your financial situation allows and health insurance is covered. The main thing is that you get through the first year. Don't take any sign-on bonuses that will hook you for two years. Hang on to that ibuprophen. If it gets you through the day, whose business is it?

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