Do you worry about getting ill??

  1. Was just wondering if any of you worry about what unknown disease may come through the door at your hospital and if you will pick it up and take it home to your family? have just watched one to many episodes of Diagnosis Unknown lately i imagine!! but in considering nursing as a profession i never really considered that but watching patients and staff die on these shows while they are trying to diagnos and treat unusual illnesses kind of makes you think about it!
    what are your thoughts??

    lynn
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Kayde
    No I don't. I wash my hands a lot . I shower as soon as I get home and put my clothes in the wash room. I dont wear my shoes in the house either. I dont touch my kids until Ive showered. Contact to me would be no different then I would receive being out shopping. I worry more about accidental needle sticks. Also , accidental exposure to body fluids.
  4. by   Audreyfay
    I think if a nurse takes care of themself, eats right, uses Universal Precautions, and washes their hands frequently, they needn't worry. I've been an RN for 27 years. The only thing I caught was scabies, because the hospital did not put him the patient in isolation and would not provide gowns, only gloves. I "thought about" getting sick with something a few times, but never did get anything, except for scabies.
  5. by   meownsmile
    I was told when i started nursing,, they almost expect new nurses to have some of the sniffles, etc. that go around during the first 6 months or so. That is if you havent ever worked in the health care field before.
    Just like kids that go to day care, it takes a while for the immune system to kick in and build immunity to some of the more common bugs.
    As far as the major stuff in a hospital, with good handwashing and universal precations,, like Kayde said you arent in any more danger than you are at the grocery store or other store. If you think about who had ahold of the cart last,, or what kid slobbered all over it and what they had youd never touch one again.
  6. by   Soulcatcher
    The Nurses at my hospital joke about getting sick from the carpet in our Nurse's station (which from looking at it was put down right after WWII), or from the ventilation system (old). We all sniffle quite a bit, and some come up with GI complaints that don't manifest anywhere else, but it generally isn't some exotic disease we worry about getting.

    We're bothered more when we come in and the patient who has been in bed 5 for three days is now in a negative pressure room being ruled out for TB, or you just happen to see a 2-day old lab comment in the computer about someone testing + for MRSA but Infection control (who received prompt notice from lab) hasn't bothered alerting anyone.

    I guess we can't control everything. Screen patients well, wash hands after each contact, take standard and sensible precautions, and don't scruff your feet on the carpet and stir up the dust!
  7. by   rileygrl11
    I must admit,...there are times that I have thought about it. Mostly because I have eczema which gets worse with the frequent hand washing and worry about catching something through minute breaks in my skin. And I think it is true about new grads getting sick a lot at first. I've been an RN for 1-1/2 years and the first 9 months I was sick all the time. So were my friends from school that I kept in touch with. But it's been awhile since I've been sick and I am hoping my immunity is built up. Also, why is it that when you are listening to someone's chest or abdomen, that is the exact time that they are going to sneeze? I could never understand that. Now that makes me paranoid!
  8. by   Tweety
    I never worry. But I'm sure the nurses who died of SARS never worried either. Since SARS, I think about it, but don't worry.
  9. by   imupallnite
    I guess i never thought about the fact that you are exposed to so many things in the public, door handles, shopping carts, bathrooms-etc. I didn't really think about that but my thought was also along the lines that the really good germs end up in the hospital- kind of like the sars out break. Just wondering how you deal with it, thanks for the replies!
    lynn
  10. by   sjoe
    What is the point of worrying? Odds are that at some point (or points) you WILL "get" ill because of work exposure. What else would you expect? You deal with it and move on, like everyone else on the planet--nurse or not.

    Or, if you prefer to think of things this way, the worrying about work-related illness itself can become a major component of stress, so if you are worrying, I guess you are ALREADY getting ill from work.

    If that makes you feel any better.
    Last edit by sjoe on Jul 26, '03
  11. by   ktwlpn
    I don't think about communicable disease at work any more then I do when I go out to eat or to the grocery store.....I do fear illness-I am 42 and have had some problems in the past few years and absolutely fear and loathe being at the mercy of the health care system...The loss of all control-no privacy,no dignity.....As I get older I am way more conscious of these issues--and try to treat my patients accordingly.....
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    i worry about MRSA. we have a lot of it on my floor, and some pretty bad cases too. i wear my gear, i wash my hands but still paranoid, you know? lol
  13. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by LPN2Be2004
    i worry about MRSA. we have a lot of it on my floor, and some pretty bad cases too. i wear my gear, i wash my hands but still paranoid, you know? lol
    I have read that a majority of health care workers are colonized with MRSA.We know how long it lives on hard surfaces.LTC -especially dementia units- must be crawling with it.I have heard that it is on grocery cart handles......Anytime you have any kind of infection that does not respond to treatment right away insist your doctor culture it
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Ten years in the health care field have given me many things: a decent standard of living, a realistic view (some might call it cynicism) of human nature, a vocabulary that is the envy of my family and friends......and an immune system that has been known to attack squirrels in the back yard. I've called in sick only once in the past 2 years, and that was last Tuesday thanks to the first and only migraine I've had so far this century. I don't worry much about catching something exotic, either.........I just use common sense and go by the standard precautions we all were taught, and of course I wash my hands pretty often, whether I'm at home or at work (and especially when I'm out in a public arena like a shopping mall or a park). I also take a good multivitamin and 1000 mgs of vitamin C every day.

    Most of all, I try not to worry too much about any of it, because stress is one of the biggest causes of illness there is!

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