about the bladder issue

  1. Hi there everyone.

    For several years I have wanted to become an RN. Now, after a few years I have finally found a way financially to go back to school. Now that I'm on the edge of really doing this, I have a few concerns.

    I am a 31 year old female. I have the opposite blood pressure problem of most people, I have low blood pressure. Most times I am 90/60. That said, if I don't drink ALOT of water I get dizzy and I am a fainter. Thing is if I take care of myself, I am just fine, perfectly healthy. If I can't drink alot of water (necessitating bathroom trips every 2 hours) I get weak, dizzy, etc. I read this board all the time and I read about not getting to drink fluids, inability to run to the bathroom, and lack of meals during shifts. That's my other issue, eating. I have fussy blood sugar and if I don't eat at least every five hours I can faint from that too. Example, I've had a finger stick of blood sugar at 38 when I couldn't eat and then got weak. Even if I don't faint, if I go too long without eating I fade out mentally and I would be dangerous to patients.

    Here's my frustration. If I am able to drink water which would require a bathroom stop about every two hours, and eat at least every five hours I can work just as hard as anyone else and be just great. If not...I can zap out. Literally.

    So when I read on the board that RNs can't go to the bathroom, I know it is because they are so busy. Do RN's have to give report and sign out their patients in writing to another RN just to zip into the bathroom for a few seconds? Or can an RN just say to a co-worker RN, I need one minute, to go to the bathroom please watch my patients?

    Thing is, the things I need to function are what we all need to function at a basic healthy level. I just don't know how much of a problem these concerns of mine are regarding blood pressure/blood sugar and working in nursing.

    Any info and advice is appreciated.

    p.s. I am interested in Med/Surg nursing, and possibly psych.
    Last edit by consideringnursing on Mar 31, '05
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    Quote from consideringnursing
    p.s. I am interested in Med/Surg nursing, and possibly psych.

    Med/surg seems to be one of the busiest nursing jobs out there and probably isn't the best fit for you. It's physically exhausting on top of being busy, and that's not good for your body either. I worked in med/surg as a CNA while in nursing school and remember vividly that I barely got my breaks, and the nurses were just as busy with meds and charting.

    Now I work in Neonatal ICU and it's usually much nicer in regards to getting time to eat, drink, and pee. HOWEVER with any job, there are times you have the shift from heck. I've gone a full eight hours without a single break, bathroom or otherwise. But those shifts are few and far between.

    Psych, on the other hand, might be a good idea. Outpatient nursing is a possibility as well. You just don't want to get into a situation where you have patients calling you constantly that need your help RIGHT NOW. Sick, bedridden inpatients can't wait, but a patient in a doctor's office usually can, you know?

    The nurses I work with who are diabetic often carry things like granola bars in their pockets. If it's obvious they're not going to get a break anytime soon, they'll sneak off into the locker room or something, and quickly eat their snack, gulp some water from the water fountain, and get back to work. It's not good to do all the time, but it sure beats fainting. Try to stay as hydrated as you can during the time you aren't at work. Chug a ton of water before you clock in, as well as any chance you get during your shift.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by Gompers on Mar 31, '05
  4. by   live4today
    welcome to allnurses "consideringnursing"!

    [color=#4b0082]i personally do not believe that a person should ignore their own health to work as a nurse or any other other occupation. if you value yourself as a human being worthy of the same rights as every other human being, you will see to it that you always empty your bladder when you know you need to, eat when you know you need to eat, and rest when you know you need to rest.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]do not get caught up in the hectic pace of nursing, and ignore your own needs. nursing is hectic and stressful most days. know that going into hospital floor nursing. it's nothing you can change no matter how fast you try to work, or how many potty breaks and meals you skip.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]if you do not take care of your own health, no one else will. in today's world of employment, a warm body is all they care about. drop dead or leave your job, and another warm body replaces you. don't take working for an employer personal. they leave jobs for many reasons too, and another employer or boss steps in to the open position.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]go ahead and be a nurse if that is your heart's desire. just keep in mind that you can choose to be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. stay healthy for you first. if you are sick all the time, you can't take care of anyone else anyway.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]i wish you well in nursing!
  5. by   RN4NICU
    Well said, cheerfuldoer. Excellent advice for not-yet-nurses, new nurses, and experienced nurses alike (or anyone else, for that matter).


  6. by   live4today
    Quote from rn4nicu
    well said, cheerfuldoer. excellent advice for not-yet-nurses, new nurses, and experienced nurses alike (or anyone else, for that matter).


    thank ya very much rn4nicu!
  7. by   consideringnursing
    Thank you all for the replies! About running to the bathroom quickly to pee? Can an RN just tell another RN, I need one minute to run to the bathroom, or must they give report and sign the patients out to the other RN in writing for literally a one minute bathroom run?

    How much of the overwork of nursing is due to unavoidable working conditions, and how much is due to co-dependent nurses who let themselves be taken advantage of? Of course every department/hospital is different I know, but still I wonder about this.
  8. by   grimmy
    Quote from consideringnursing
    thank you all for the replies! about running to the bathroom quickly to pee? can an rn just tell another rn, i need one minute to run to the bathroom, or must they give report and sign the patients out to the other rn in writing for literally a one minute bathroom run?

    how much of the overwork of nursing is due to unavoidable working conditions, and how much is due to co-dependent nurses who let themselves be taken advantage of? of course every department/hospital is different i know, but still i wonder about this.

    [font=book antiqua]i'm an or nurse, and if scrubbed in, i can't just break scrub and walk out without relief. when i'm circulating, the situation is somewhat similar, but i can call the front desk for relief, if need be. i have hypertension, and most mornings, i do my best to time my medications and fluid intake appropriately. that being said, there has only been one time when i have felt the need to go so great that i have called for relief. and as for food intake, i try to eat a snack between cases. sometimes i don't have a chance to eat lunch at the typical time. all of our staff realizes that we have similar natural needs, some greater than others, and we do our best to accomodate those needs and help each other out. most people do not check in with their bodies to see how things are doing, what patterns are there, etc. i used to forget that i had to pee! i don't do that anymore. i know it's not good for my body, and i'd never expect anyone else to neglect themselves. don't portray your needs as some special disability. they are needs, like any other, and if you are honest with your team and yourself, they can be met easily. don't apologize for them. you'll do great!
  9. by   CoffeeRTC
    You can still be a nurse..there are tons of differnt nursing areas...just look at the groups on here. As far as taking a break to pee..yes you can. We just let an other nurse know, ask them to keep a eye out and go...it only takes 5 minutes max. Now reminding myself to go is another story
  10. by   Gompers
    Like it was said above, in OR you do need to get a replacement if you need to take a quick break, but most everywhere else you can just let someone know and run to use the bathroom. It only takes a minute to pee, and even if someone starts coding in that minute - you're not going to do anyone any good if you can't concentrate on the situation because you have to pee so bad!

    For instance, I work in an ICU that has separate "rooms" with a couple of nurses in each room. As long as one or two nurses is in the room at all times to monitor the babies, we can leave as often as we need to for breaks, to get supplies, etc. We don't actually sign out our patients to each other - it's just courtesy to expect others to watch out for your patients if you take a break. If an alarm goes off (or on a nursing floor, if al call light goes off) and you know that nurse is on break, you take care of the problem until they get back.

    Dunno if it's different on a busy med-surg floor, but I know when I was a CNA on such a floor we could pee whenever we wanted! We just scheduled our lunch breaks so that there was always CNA coverage on the floor for the nurses.
  11. by   Gompers
    Quote from michelle126
    As far as taking a break to pee..yes you can. We just let an other nurse know, ask them to keep a eye out and go...it only takes 5 minutes max. Now reminding myself to go is another story

    It IS another story! There are so many shifts where I realize I have to go, but either I'm in the middle of a crisis and choose to hold it for a little bit longer, or someone is in the bathroom, etc. Then like three hours later I'll suddenly realize that I FORGOT to go! Is it any wonder I had kidney stones two years into my nursing career? Now, I make sure to go whenever I have the chance, even if it's "just a little" or something.
  12. by   consideringnursing
    Thank you all! I think from reading this board, hearing about not being able to run to the bathroom or eat, I had morphed the issue into a bigger problem in my head. I guess I pictured routinely working 8 hours or so without being able to run to pee even once, and not being able even grab some food . I understand the shift from hell could happen once in a while making this happen, I was just worried it would be like this every day and I wouldn't cut it.


    I have this nightmare scenerio, student nurse picture in my head of working on a floor at a frantic pace every day and not being able to eat or go to the bathroom for 8-12 hours, me zapping out mentally, then finally fainting and being dismissed from nursing school. Then I start crying in my dream that I can't be a nurse and I saved for years to go to school, what will I do about the student loans I racked up, etc, etc. Blah blah blah. Normally I am a positive person. I think I just got myself worked up with worry that only people with industrial strength bladders and oblivious blood sugars could survive working in nursing.

    Ok, thanks to you all. I'm just going to take care of myself and watch out for hospitals that don't respect a nurse getting basic human needs met. At the same time, I don't think what I need is out of line with what we all need, except that I can pass out routinely if not met! . So I won't tell anyone about my concerns, I'll just make sure I get what I need.

    Thank you all!
  13. by   Gompers
    Every school is different, but for me, nursing school clinicals were LESS hectic than actually working. We were on the floor for LESS than eight hours a day, usually only six hours total. We usually only had one stable patient each. Though we were busy all day long (looking up meds, doing procedures with our clinical intructor, etc.) it was never a problem getting a break.

    Good luck!
  14. by   elizabells
    I'm starting nsg school soon, and I've actually started practicing not peeing for hours at a time . . . Used to go 3 times during my workday, at very regular intervals, now I aim for just once at lunch or not at all . . . :stone

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