Am I too small to be a nurse?

  1. Long story short, I went for my nursing school physical this morning and the doctor said she has concern about my size. I'm 5'3" and 92 lbs with a bmi of 16. She still cleared me for the program but I'm hoping to find others in my shoes. She said she was worried that I couldn't meet the physical demands of nursing. I have three children and I have ALWAYS been small. I weighed 54lb in the fifth grade and function normally. I can lift 50 lbs and did well in CNA clinicals. I'm not letting it discourage me but it definitely got into my head a little bit. Thanks guys!
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   Flatline
    I've worked with a nurse with no legs and 1 arm that was a FANTASTIC nurse.

    Concerns over physical size are ridiculous and based on stereotypes and incorrect biases that nurses are nothing but doctor's assistants.

    If there was any kind of physical requirement for nursing then we would have to take a physical fitness exam along with the NCLEX.
  4. by   Sbhayes09
    Quote from Flatline
    I've worked with a nurse with no legs and 1 arm that was a FANTASTIC nurse.

    Concerns over physical size are ridiculous and based on stereotypes and incorrect biases that nurses are nothing but doctor's assistants.

    If there was any kind of physical requirement for nursing then we would have to take a physical fitness exam along with the NCLEX.
    Thank you! I felt the same way at the time, but when she kind of shamed me and asked if I was anorexic or bulimic, it made me wonder if maybe she knew something I didn't. I feel fine and it kind of scared me.
  5. by   AceOfHearts<3
    I work with a nurse that is less than 5ft tall. I'm only 5ft 3in myself (but I weigh quite a bit more than you) and I work with other nurses my height or shorter (in addition to the nurse who is under 5ft). In my opinion it's a non-issue, especially if you made it through CNA stuff. Good luck!
  6. by   evastone
    I am five feet tall (if not shorter) and overweight. I wear shoes with lifts so that I can reach the top of my IV poles at work. Otherwise, my size has never held me back. As Ace of Hearts said, if you can handle CNA activities, you should have no problem. Don't let what other people say about you get inside your head.
  7. by   Sbhayes09
    Quote from evastone
    I am five feet tall (if not shorter) and overweight. I wear shoes with lifts so that I can reach the top of my IV poles at work. Otherwise, my size has never held me back. As Ace of Hearts said, if you can handle CNA activities, you should have no problem. Don't let what other people say about you get inside your head.
    Thank you so much. I have started counting calories cause it seems that I forget to eat at times and may only be maintaining my weight. I'm gonna try to gain at least a few times by increasing my caloric intake and monitoring my food habits with an app.
  8. by   Sbhayes09
    Quote from AceOfHearts<3
    I work with a nurse that is less than 5ft tall. I'm only 5ft 3in myself (but I weigh quite a bit more than you) and I work with other nurses my height or shorter (in addition to the nurse who is under 5ft). In my opinion it's a non-issue, especially if you made it through CNA stuff. Good luck!
    Thank you! You guys are really making me feel better. It took everything inside of me not to hulk out and say no way this doctor was gonna stop me simply because of my size lol.
  9. by   CCU BSN RN
    Funny how we don't demonize overweight nurses who smoke and are in terrible shape (like myself, I can't do more than 2 minutes of chest compressions effectively), but it's societally okay to suggest that you're 'too small'.

    I've known plenty of nurses who were barely 5 feet tall and scrawny. A lot of them wound up in NICU, where their patients typically weigh 1-7 pounds.

    Honestly other than needing a stool for CPR and being moderately irked when I can't reach the top shelf of the Pyxis, my limited height has never posed any issue that I'm aware of.
  10. by   Sbhayes09
    Quote from CCU BSN RN
    Funny how we don't demonize overweight nurses who smoke and are in terrible shape (like myself, I can't do more than 2 minutes of chest compressions effectively), but it's societally okay to suggest that you're 'too small'.

    I've known plenty of nurses who were barely 5 feet tall and scrawny. A lot of them wound up in NICU, where their patients typically weigh 1-7 pounds.

    Honestly other than needing a stool for CPR and being moderately irked when I can't reach the top shelf of the Pyxis, my limited height has never posed any issue that I'm aware of.
    Thank you! I was thinking this as well. I really wanted to ask if I was overweight if she would be comfortable criticizing my body size. Seems that it's a bit of a double standard to me. It's OK though, I'm sure one day someone will need me to slither into a tight space and be glad that I'm there lol.
  11. by   Nonyvole
    I'm 5'2. I make sure I know where a step stool is, I'm not afraid to climb onto a bed to do things like compressions or help move a patient, and I've even just climbed up on counters if I needed something on the top shelf. It doesn't bother me, and has never affected patient care.

    ...actually, I've been the one told to ride the stretcher if we have to move a patient while doing compressions, simply because I'm the smallest. (Tip: it's all in the core. Good core strength means that you can keep your balance while still doing good compressions.)
  12. by   AceOfHearts<3
    I work in the ICU and we have several stools. If we have a code or are preparing for an imminent code we ALWAYS grab a stool- it's habit at this point to get the crash cart and have somebody grab a stool.
  13. by   Sbhayes09
    Thanks everyone. I think her concern was mostly about my weight and her incorrect thinking that I wouldn't be able to lift and turn patients. I feel that if I learn the correct way to do these tasks that I won't be any less capable than any other nurse. Plus, it's not like I'm alone in the hospital. I can always ask my coworkers for help if I have an exceptionally large patient.
  14. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Sbhayes09
    Thank you so much. I have started counting calories cause it seems that I forget to eat at times and may only be maintaining my weight. I'm gonna try to gain at least a few times by increasing my caloric intake and monitoring my food habits with an app.
    Size is not an issue, but health certainly can be. When you say things like what's quoted above, it can be concerning. I hope you are healthy, mentally and psychically ...and if you're struggling, I do hope you'll seek help.
    I was rather skeletal-looking and under 100 pounds (at 5'6") until my early twenties, but I was a ferocious eater and full of energy. The "problem" corrected itself as I got older. I don't think you need to try to gain weight unless your health care provider directs yo to or you feel unwell, otherwise.

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