1st health-care job; fear of disabilities

  1. 0 Greetings everybody,

    I will be an RN in two years and as such, I decided that it is imperative that I acquire some experience taking care of people. It only makes sense!

    I have a long and unenviable criminal record-but with no barring offenses, only a plethora of misdemeanors/DUIs/drug possession charges (no convictions). Anyway, that part of my life is over, but it only ended two years ago and many places aren't very willing to hire me. My parents' friend runs a home care agency and is willing to trust me to work for them. I'm grateful for the opportunity but there are two problems...

    ...1)I'm uncomfortable with disability (before you bite my head off, please realize I'm not defensive about it and want for this to change) and 2) also very bad at talking to people if there's little genuine interest. I'm a kind person, I'm very articulate, but I don't have the greatest ability to fake interest/be soothing/comforting if it's not completely genuine. I'm also painfully aware that my tone of voice and facial expressions belie my actual kindness. I'm never intentionally mean, you see, but I am often nervous and distracted by my own thoughts.

    As for #1, I am afraid of the smells and sights of those people who most need my help. I am overwhelmed by my sense of pity for them, to the point that being by them makes me uncomfortable. I am the first to realize that many people don't want to be pitied, but treated/spoken to like the very normal people they know themselves to be. But that pity combined with my fear of the more unpleasant-okay, I'll say disgusting-aspects of their situation (bodily excretions, etc) really makes me nervous.

    I know I'll get used to it, but to get down to it: how do I cope with it until it becomes normal for me?

    As for #2, I will ask: how can I make it clear that I'm a kind person when the physical aspects of my presence say the opposite?

    Thank you so much,
    Perry
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  3. Visit  HerrGolf} profile page

    About HerrGolf

    Joined Jun '10; Posts: 6; Likes: 2.

    10 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Biffbradford} profile page
    0
    I don't have any answers for you. I think you'll have to work that out yourself. However, you can't learn to swim unless you get in the water, so keep working at it.
    Last edit by Biffbradford on Jun 16, '11
  5. Visit  leslie :-D} profile page
    2
    perhaps i'm showing my ignorance, but shouldn't you be concerned if you could even get a license, with your long criminal record?

    at the bottom of this page, you may want to ask in the forum, "Nursing License With A Criminal History."
    or you could call your state's BON.
    while it certainly would help you to work on your personal 'shortcomings', i'd hate to see you do that in hopes of becoming a nurse only.

    you could always volunteer somewhere (ltc facility, hospital?) and practice on being mr. charming.
    until then, best of luck.

    leslie
    Esme12 and OCNRN63 like this.
  6. Visit  HerrGolf} profile page
    1
    Quote from leslie :-D
    perhaps i'm showing my ignorance, but shouldn't you be concerned if you could even get a license, with your long criminal record?
    I've contacted my state's BON. There's nothing in my record that automatically would bar me, but every licensure is dealt with individually and more importantly, how a potential employer would react is not 100% predictable. I have read and posted on that forum; I feel that many forumers experiences are not uncommon but that it's not an absolute rule that I'll be unable to find work. In fact, despite a reputation for pessimism, I feel hopeful; it's the first time in my life that I feel I have a goal and it's been much easier to live as a responsible citizen than it had been when I was moving from crisis to crisis.

    Quote from leslie :-D
    while it certainly would help you to work on your personal 'shortcomings', i'd hate to see you do that in hopes of becoming a nurse only.

    you could always volunteer somewhere (ltc facility, hospital?) and practice on being mr. charming.
    until then, best of luck.
    leslie
    Well, you're right, changing these shortcomings is useful beyond nursing, but I haven't been forced to address them (though perhaps it'd have been helpful, though I'd have probably been unwilling to listen until the past few years anyway!). But yes, what I need to learn is HOW to be charming. If only I were a sociopath and it could come naturally...
    leslie :-D likes this.
  7. Visit  roser13} profile page
    1
    May I ask what leads you to nursing?
    dudette10 likes this.
  8. Visit  Rob72} profile page
    5
    People have different mechanisms for dealing with the aspects of the field that don't necessarily "suit" them.

    As a nurse, you will assess, and ideally, that starts with yourself. With that in mind:

    long and unenviable criminal record-but with no barring offenses, only a plethora of misdemeanors/DUIs/drug possession charges (no convictions).
    Your difficulty with empathetic expression to some degree comes from a long history of self-gratification and self-justification. I believe you and I would define "pity" the same way- there is no personal attachment, it is a me/them paradigm. The epiphany comes when you realize that their "poop" may be more on the outside, yours is on the inside. "There, but for the grace of God, go I..."

    The empathy is easier if you view the elderly dementia patient, with his dirty diaper, as yourself, passed out with the pool of vomit from too much Crown/beer/whatever and reaching for the bag of weed to steady your nerves in the morning. Yours was a choice, their situation may or may not be, but in either event they are weakened, diminished, and needing help, as in some way you once were.

    I may be speaking hyperbole, you may never have been, "that bad off". Grace is easier, in some ways, if you were. You strike me as being insightful enough to follow my point, but ultimately (and it sounds like this is where you are) it is not enough to intellectually appreciate the connection. When we fully appreciate how much we have destroyed in life, we begin to feel a need to build, and that's a "heart" issue, not one of the mind.

    "I have been proud, arrogant, self-serving, a thief, a liar, a seducer, a cheat..."
    Now, "I am a servant..." Or it sounds something like that, if you're entering nursing with the evolution you seem to be describing.

    You're on the right track.
  9. Visit  itsmejuli} profile page
    0
    Some things just smell really bad.
  10. Visit  TheMoonisMyLantern} profile page
    2
    I think being uncomfortable with the sick and disabled is relatively normal at the very beginning. If you've never been a caregiver before how are you to know how to help them or what to say or what not to say? It takes time and education to learn how to not only therapeutically communicate with patients but to also cope with what you're seeing and to not allow their problems to become your problems.

    I say this a lot, but it really bears a lot of truth, in nursing it is not about YOU it is about THEM, say that to yourself whenever you're stressing whenever you don't know how to handle whatever it is that's going to be thrown at you and believe it or not that one little phrase will help to empower you to overcome.

    Don't worry it'll all fall into place, it'll just take some hard work and time.
    mustlovepoodles and HerrGolf like this.
  11. Visit  Rob72} profile page
    0
    Quote from HerrGolf
    If only I were a sociopath and it could come naturally...
    It doesn't, it is only trained in. Many people have sociopathic tendencies. It only changes when a life-altering experience occurs, and they are aware and strong enough to pursue the potential for change. The whole Erickson model. Where have your choices led, how can you make them positive. That is a statement, not a question.
  12. Visit  Scrubmouse RN} profile page
    1
    Quote from roser13
    May I ask what leads you to nursing?
    Sounds like since the OP cannot get a job anywhere else, her friend's parents are willing to let her work as a nurse at a home care agency they own.
    Esme12 likes this.
  13. Visit  HerrGolf} profile page
    0
    What attracted me to nursing was that I would be given a job with many immediate tasks and where I would be engaged verbally and physically on a regular basis. Being detail oriented, it also seemed to be a profession in which this tendency would be better utilized. I also feel more articulate than most and am very clear in communicating with others. A lot of these assets should show in my knowledge of pharmacology, an ability to answer patient's questions more completely and in the quality and comprehensiveness of my documentation.

    It's also nice to find a field in which the work I do matters more than it would in another profession. I know most every position serves a purpose, but it is hard to find jobs more meaningful than a nurse's. If there were some metric conceived to determine how crucial a job is to a healthy, functioning society, nursing would be listed up there. That really helps when you're tired of your job and don't feel like working hard anymore (which happens to everyone periodically). People always talk about how difficult nursing is, but for me, thinking of such service jobs as real estate brokerage, where you are held to a performance standard and must also provide emotional labor, how empty would you feel when you when remembering the insignificance of your contribution to the world?

    In other words, I need a job with a very clear purpose and which requires immediate focus.

    As for my shortcomings-and my criminal record-I can attribute both to years of bullying/absence of social support. I used to be extremely friendly and had started out as an excellent student. But when certain needs aren't met, how can you perform? And what habits are established when you're constantly having to defend yourself/being told you're not wanted. I don't want anyone's pity; I just need to unlearn certain fears which unconsciously transformed me into a sarcastic, seemingly unfriendly person who assumes no one will appreciate his touch or his company. I have very rewarding relationships in my life and a healthy social life, but my history coupled with many job failures during the years of drug abuse (guess why I began using!) have instilled a great degree of professional and social anxiety in a job which requires human interaction and professionalism more than most.

    But I am young, I am happy and I have a goal in mind. I know I can learn overtime; maybe more quickly than I realize. My worry is that it might not happen as immediately as would be necessary to show my clients and my supervisors my actual abilities. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot!

    If anyone has any anecdotes about overcoming their own fears and bad habits when beginning to care for patients, I would appreciate your sharing them with us!



    Quote from TheMoonisMyLantern
    I say this a lot, but it really bears a lot of truth, in nursing it is not about YOU it is about THEM, say that to yourself whenever you're stressing whenever you don't know how to handle whatever it is that's going to be thrown at you and believe it or not that one little phrase will help to empower you to overcome.
    Thanks for this succinct and universally useful advice.


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