Do you think nursing is physically unhealthy?

  1. I work part time because I think it is healthier than working full time as a nurse because even if you are a great nurse, you are exposed to stress everyday. Do you agree?
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  2. 57 Comments

  3. by   mom and nurse
    Hmmm. That's a good question. I think nursing can be physically exhausting, but I actually think that I am healthier now than I was two years ago before I became a nurse.

    Stressful...oh yes....but it depends on where you work and on the individual....and on which 6 or 7 patients I may have for the night (some patients are more stressful to handle than others...not how heavy they are, ... I am talking about personalities...)......

    I have cut my hours back since I've gone back to grad school. And I admit I do feel better....though I find myself wondering about my patients at work and how they are doing when I am home.....
  4. by   tntrn
    Oh, I absolutely think nursing (at least where I work) is a toxic thing. And take the stress out of altogether, but consider the fact, that whether or not you are guaranteed 2 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break, the reality is that you probably won't get them. A couple of weeks ago, I clocked in for my 3-11 shift, used the bathroom about 9:45 and finally wolfed down a piece of cold pizza (ordered about 8:30 by another nurse who got no breaks). As a health care professional, working in a health care facility, I am allowed to take care of my own health and administration certainly shows now concerns about it.

    Add to that rules like no bottled waters or other kinds of liquids for hydration at the nursing desk (and we have no drinking fountain inside our locked unit) and it's just plai9n nasty.

    I can walk 5 or 6 miles on a nice day outside, but after 8 hours I feel like my body's been hit by a truck. Even with the best shoes available. The flooring materials suck.

    So yes, nursing as I know it, is toxic to my health.
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    It's not the healthiest thing emotionally, either. You combine the everyday stresses of dealing with patients' psychiatric issues, death and dying, idiosyncratic families and co-workers, and in some workplaces toxic management with the awesome responsibility that comes with the job, and you've got a pretty heady mix. It's definitely not for the faint of heart (or spirit).
  6. by   LouRN92
    I'd have to agree that nursing can be unhealthy. i work night shift about 2 nights a week. Because I have a large family, I don't get much sleep on my days off. One of the MD's I used to work with is a sleep specialist and he was always saying how night shift work takes years off of your life. Combine this with the unhealthy eating we do at work: grazing, drinking soda all night. Minimal potty breaks.....The stresses of dealing with life and death issues...Many of the nurses I work with smoke.. I don't but I don't exercise.. because quite frankly I am too tired. But.. Our hospital is taking an interest in employee wellness and is paying for part of our gym memberships, and last year encouraged pedometer usage. I don't know if it is so much nursing as it is modern life!?
  7. by   ginger58
    Quote from mikethern
    I work part time because I think it is healthier than working full time as a nurse because even if you are a great nurse, you are exposed to stress everyday. Do you agree?
    Being a "great nurse" has nothing to do with being exposed to stress. I think nursing is stressful mentally and physically no matter what kind of nurse you are.
  8. by   deehaverrn
    Nursing is probably the most unhealthy profession I can think of, well , maybe coal mining or arctic fisherman would be worse but...
    First of all , it seems that just about every administration out there is just concerned about finances and not about the workers.
    Stress has been proven to be a killer, leading to heart disese, high blood pressure, and a host of other health issues. As a nurse, I have been yelled and cursed at by supervisors, doctors, coworkers, pts and families. Mostly for things that weren't my fault, like refusing to take a med surg admission to antepartum because it was infectious and we had postpartum moms with babies overflowed there, bumping their scheduled case for an emergency, giving them an assignment they didn't care for (even though I try to be extremely fair and don't play favorites or give in to whiners), not having a second anesthesiologist available for an epidural at a moment's notice, not being able to give them a private room....I wouldn't mind it so much if I had
    EVER once been yelled at for doing something wrong. But when you are running around without eating, drinking etc. and then people have the nerve to curse at you..ARRGGH. I always maintain calm on the outside, but I don't know if that is better or worse for my health.
    Exposure..okay the things I've gotten on myself (never a needlestick thank goodness) ..blood, amniotic fluid, urine, stool, meconium, vomit, breast milk, saliva, vaginal secretions, BLEEHH
    Other exposure...xrays, radium implants (when I was 22 we'd have 4 pts at a time with them -we were told we were silly for complaining ), chemotherapy (we used to mix it ourselves in the med room--the adriamycin was a bi**h to get out),cleaning chemicals, disinfectatnts (a doc spilled a bottle of Cidex, and the crew who mopped it up then put a fan at the doorway and I was stationed at the desk right at the side..I had a severe headache and eye irritation the whole day, but was told that there was no danger) anesthesia gases, PEWW
    Physical environment..electric outlets behind beds and low the ground, tile over cement flooring, chairs that are supposedly height adjustable and drop a foot when you sit down on them, poorly designed unit layout, one staff bathroom for entire floor staff , URMFF
    Physical stresses of lifting, turning , transporting equipment and patients weighing in excess of 300 lbs. OuUCH
    I have multiple bulging discs and degenerative changes in my back causing constant pain. I have people at work who have needed foot, knee and back surgeries due to the physical demands. We've had people leave with nervous breakdowns and people who have resorted to drugs or alcohol.
    Nursing is the most physically and mentally taxing job I can imagine. But somehow the perception is that we are either these cute young sexpots or old battleaxes. And there is no allowance for nurses that are getting older or simply can't take the physical stesses anymore. Why can teachers and police officers retire at 45 or 50, and we're supposed to go to age 70? Of course, I always tell my husband that I'll never make it 'til then. Despite the fact that my family has a history of longevity into the 90s, I really think the long lasting effects will do me in..Im only in my mid 40s, but when someone says "you're as young as you feel" it scares me!
  9. by   deehaverrn
    [quote=mikethern;2027577]Ibecause even if you are a great nurse, you are exposed to stress everyday. ?/quote]

    Also I think if you are a great nurse...you're more at risk, because you work harder and take people's comments more seriously...if you're a bad nurse , you dont work as hard or care what people think of you,
  10. by   llg
    Yes, nursing can be stressful on both the mind and the body. However, not all nursing jobs are equally stressful -- and what is stressful to one person might not be so stressful for another. That's one of the great things about nursing. You have the opportunity to take a very wide variety of career paths and find the one that suits you best. Any one who finds their job so stressful as to be intolerable can explore other nursing career paths and find one that suits them better.

    Other types of work are also both physically and emotionally stressful. In fact, I have read that some of the most dangerous, stressful involve factory, assembly line work. Of course, there are the obvious choices such as fire-fighting, police work, military service, fisherman, etc.
  11. by   studentnurseinmd
    Well, contrary to most statements above, I do NOT think Nursing is the most unhealthy profession out there. I mean, I just graduated my RN program, but I think of the rewards of working 3 12 hour shifts, and being able to help other people. Emotionally, we all knew what we were getting into. Physically... it is up to you to keep your body in shape. I don't smoke, drink rarey, and exercise daily. I also practice yoga, and spend tmie in nature, and BELIEVE me... this helps!!!

    So, enough pessimism about our health!!! Join a gym or take a yoga class. Better yet, stop smoking!



    Lots of Love...
  12. by   burn out
    There are different kinds of stresses--there is good stress and bad stress- I don't necessarily see nursing as a bad stress. In fact after my 4 days off babysitting my 1 year old granddaughter I am more than ready for a little stress when I return to work..infact I go to work to get ways from some of the stress at home .

    The other factors though ..exposure to infection, back injury from pulling on patients..I think is a bigger health issue than the stress.
  13. by   MsPiggy
    Yes, but more so when you have a toxic administration that's abusive and non supportive to staff, which seems to be the growing trend these days.

    I am sad to say I wouldn't advise any young person to go into nursing for just that reason and many more. Don't want to be flamed over it, it's just my opinion. If I would have known how precious little time I would be given to do actual patient care and how much of a physical and emotional toll nursing would place on my body and soul I would have been a plumber, yea you still deal with crap but make a lot more $, get a decent retirement and aren't stressing over job stuff at the end of the day.
    -Ms.P
  14. by   deehaverrn
    used to work out, until i wrecked my back and can't at present, so i know i'm deteriorating physically , but I'm not cleared medically to do so
    NEVER smoked
    also RARELY drink

    I don't mean any offense, but if you've just started , i don't think you can say exactly. Are you Young? Because I know that when I was younger the physical stresses didn't seem so bad. Although it is really hard to go 12 or more hours without sitting down, eating or drinking anything, especially on a regular basis, even if you do have extra days off. Its not healthy to starve all day long. And those physical stresses that didn't really bother me for all those years (over 20) have damaged my back with so many degenerative changes from all that lifting its unbelievable. And my feet have not done well with all the standing and walking on the concrete services despite the good footwear. Who knows at this point what effect the stress has had on my other systems. I can tell you though, that the constant unremitting pain over the last year, has not been good for me physically at all, and that is a direct result of Nursing. I've gained weight, am completely depressed, and have lost a lot of muscle tone and strength. The human body is just not meant to be lifting 300 lbs around on a daily basis, even with the best body mechanics.
    I do agree that it is important to keep yourself as healthy as you can--by diet, exercise, good habits.

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