How Bad Is It Really?

  1. Hi everyone! I am new to this, and just signed up. Here is my story. I am 24 and I want to be a registered nurse. I just started school as a Business major and just had a MAJOR change of heart and want to go into nursing. I like the salary, I like only working 3 days a week, and I like the fact that it is interesting and I wouldn't have to be stuck at a desk for 8 hours a day. I have 2 problems though:
    1- Weak stomach
    2- Very sensitive
    The weak stomach thing - I am going to try my HARDEST! I am hoping that once in the hospital setting I can just think professionally and know it is my job and just make it through. I really will try sand do my best - I hope it is enough though.
    The sensitive thing - I see things on TV sad, I cry. Someone dies that I know I am hysterical. At the airport seeing people say bye to each other I choke up. I know the hospital thing deals with emotional issues but once again I want to try my best.
    Before totally jumping ship from business to nursing, I am taking pre-reqs right now that satisfy both, and yesterday I signed up as a volunteer at Winthop Hospital. I want to make sure I CAN do it before I get into a nursing program and realize that I cant. They are goingto put me in ER.
    My question...I am sure at times I am going to want to puke and I am going to want to cry but is it going to be one of those that evenutally I will get used to? If I try hard, should I be ok? Is it really that bad?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   underpaidrn
    Honey, I've been a nurse for a long, long time. I still cry with my patients and I can't suction a person without gagging. Never have been able to do that. Had one poor little man with a trach who was patting my hand while I was suctioning him because I was gagging so hard I had tears running down my face. When I lose the ability to cry and feel for my patients, I will retire from nursing. This doesn't mean I become a basket case each and every time. I have learned to distance myself over the years, but there are those special patients that really get to you and stick in your memory for a long time. It's great that you are volunteering at the hospital. This will really give you a chance to see what it's all about. I wish you the very best of luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.
  4. by   987!
    I feel so much better that you told me that. I feel like I couldnt cry or I couldnt gag if I had to (Naturally I would try not to). I just feel so discuraged because of this - but if it is normal then I guess I feel alittle better. I'm sure in the beginning it will be hard - but then I hope I'd be better. I'm sure then alot of nurses have these problems, right?
  5. by   Dolce
    I think a "weak stomach" can be overcome, but it is a gradual process. I was just fine in nursing school with blood, guts, gore, surgery, sputum, urine, etc. However, I had an almost-throw-up experience with diarrhea and an almost-pass-out experience in OB. Now that I have been a nurse for several years I am just fine with everything. I never get grossed out. I DO NOT do OB because I don't think that I would be a big help to a laboring mom if I was passed out in the delivery room. Just know what you can and cannot handle and then you can choose a specialty appropriately.

    The sensitive issue is also one that can be overcome. You will have to be careful to set boundaries with patients so that you do not become overly involved in their personal lives, decisions etc. But, being empathetic is a big plus! Patient need nurses who are understanding, compassionate and good listeners. Over time you will develop a thicker skin but we all still get sad when we see tragedy. Nursing is a rewarding profession if a person is willing to develop skills that separate personal life from your professional life. If you find that you are constantly thinking about, worrying about, feeling sad about patients and their problems on your days off than you may need to rethink your professional boundaries. Yes, we are empathetic to patients, but we are not ultimately responsible for the personal choices and decisions that they make.

    Hope this helps! Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing!
  6. by   fmrnicumom
    Welcome to allnurses.com! I think it's great that you are able to volunteer! It will help give you some exposure to the hospital setting. I think everyone has something that bothers them, whether it's vomit, blood, mucous, etc. I've seen several nurses say that what helps them is to NOT think of it as blood/vomit/whatever, but just something that you have to do to help the patient. I think that's part of what helps parents clean up after their children - they aren't thinking about the blood/vomit/mucous but thinking about making their child more comfortable. Of course I know it's a bit different in that situation, but it is the same idea.

    As far as crying, I have seen several nurses say they have cried with patients at times, or that they have cried after something has happened. I think it's normal and a sign that you care. I agree with underpaidrn, that after a while you do learn to distance yourself. You can also learn how to refrain from crying until you are away from the patient when need be. I will say that on my son's last day, when his nurse and doctor came in to talk to me, they both cried. I hadn't thought about it until now, but by crying, they showed me that he touched them, too, and it meant a great deal to me.

    Good luck to you and please do keep us posted!

    Tiffany
  7. by   jla623
    Aww I have the same problems! I get sick to my stomach SO easily and I think that I would have the same issue with the crying thing. I didn't used to be like that, so maybe it has to do with the BC pills haha, but I have a feeling that I would cry if something sad happens too...and I wouldn't want anyone to think of me as less of a person or that I am weak and can't do my job.

    You aren't the only one don't worry! I have the same worries.
  8. by   987!
    HaHa Maybe it is the BC Pills - I talk them too
  9. by   rn undisclosed name
    I am not as sensitive as you are (except when I am pregnant and cry at the drop of a hat). But, I used to have a very weak stomach and it has gotten better. When I was in school I couldn't watch them start an IV or look at a bag of blood for a transfusion. Now it doesn't phase me one bit. I came so close to passing out with a new colostomy but I think now I would be ok. There have been a couple of times where something has started to gross me out but I have developed a couple of diversion tactics. I will stop looking at what is grossing me out and focus on something else while clenching my but cheeks together. Then I can go back to looking at it. I think the more you do it the easier it gets. There are some patients and families that you will always remember. It is great to be empathetic. I hope to never lose that. I just wish I had more time to talk to my patients and their families about what they are going through.

    ETA: I was also a business major before I decided to do nursing.
    Last edit by rn undisclosed name on Oct 10, '07 : Reason: Add text
  10. by   SonicnurseRN
    Girl I am in RN school & I have always had a strong stomach, never afraid of needles before BUT I have developed a phobia of needles! My hands shake like a leaf anytime I deal with a needle, it makes me feel like a crazy person ... it is something I work to overcome everyday, but it can be done and I get better every time I try it!
    I would also suggest working as a CNA b/c that gives you a lot of great patient experience...
    As long as you are determined , you can do it!
    Good luck & if you are o.k. in the ER then you can be o.k. anywhere! :spin:
  11. by   time4meRN
    Sounds like you will be good at your job. There's always something that gets our gag reflex going. For me it's the eye For instance eye surgery. I have been nursing for 30 years. Pt's and their families bring me to tears once in a while.Usually because of a sad situation . The nurses that arn't bothered at all by a child passing while the father sings , "you are my sunshine" to her, or a little old man that holds his dying wifes hand talking to her the entire time about all of the good times they shared, worry me. I always worry that the emotion will come out one way or another perhaps in a way that may be harmful to the nurse.. But, I must say , as a critical care RN, I continue my duties as a professional above all. I have yet to be so upset during any situation that I can't do my job. Many times It helps a family member to see a nurse with tears in there eyes because I gives them a sense that someone really cares for them and their loved one. However, a nurse that completley looses their cool, gives tha pt and family a sense of helplessness.There are those pt's that bring me to tears because they are so "stupid", but that's a different thread, I won't go there now. So, anyway, welcome to the trenches. Good luck in school.
    Last edit by time4meRN on Oct 10, '07
  12. by   leslie :-D
    visuals don't bother me.
    but smells do.
    never got over it.
    sometimes, i've been known to audibly gag....almost as if i'm about to vomit.
    more than once, the pt has asked, "are you all right?"
    i immediately start clearing my throat, stating i got something stuck.
    then i mouth breathe and meditate like the dickens.

    i still cry...
    for and w/my pts/families
    not blubbering.
    but still...
    human tragedy touches us.

    best of everything to you.
    you're going to shine.

    leslie
  13. by   RN1989
    Quote from Kuklara511
    I like the salary, I like only working 3 days a week, and I like the fact that it is interesting and I wouldn't have to be stuck at a desk for 8 hours a day.
    Thus far you have not instilled any confidence in me that you will be able to make it as a nurse. You say you had a "MAJOR" change of heart regarding your choice of studies but the reasons you list are superficial at best. Then you say that you have issues you aren't sure you can overcome. And you are still vascillating between the 2 majors, keeping your foot in the door of business school because you aren't sure. If you really had this change of heart, you would not be asking these questions and would have already started the process of applying to nursing school.

    Yes, the money in nursing is some of the best that a WOMAN can make. But the amount of education (initial and continuing), responsibility, and stress, coupled with evil employers, ungrateful patients, and hateful colleagues makes the amount of money you make pitiful and not worth it. If your main motivation is money - don't even bother going to nursing school. After a few years you will be unhappy when you realize just how physically and emotionally difficult it is to be a nurse.

    There is no guarantee that you will find a job that works 12 hour shift so that you only have to work 3 days a week. Nurses are also required to work weekends, holidays, and even the days that they requested off to go to a special family event. Over a career, if is likely that you spend more holidays with your peers at work than with your own family.

    Nursing is "interesting". Hmmmm. There are a lot of interesting jobs out there where you don't have to wipe people's hineys for a living.

    And you like not being stuck at a desk 8 hours a day. As a nurse, you will spend an entire shift on your feet. You'll be lucky to have a chance to sit down while you go pee. And if you are required to carry a unit phone - rest assured that it will ring with a patient's needs just as you sit on the pot. By the time you get home your feet will be hurting so bad you don't want to walk anymore. And after a 12 hour shift - you will be so tired that you won't want to go out with your family because you haven't stopped to rest all day long.

    Sorry, but I'm not convinced that you have really given this some thought. I've seen nurse after nurse graduate, get a job, and realize that making a nurse's salary isn't as easy as they thought. Then they either become angry and take it out on their colleagues and patients, or they quit and have to spend more money to go back to school for something else.

    Perhaps you should check out the new graduate forum and read the stories of the new nurses and what they are dealing with. If you truly want to be a nurse in your heart, you will have better reasons to want to be a nurse. And you will not have reservations about it. You will simply apply to school and do it. Nursing is one of the hardest jobs in this world. As a nurse, you hold the world's life in your hands. It is not something to be flippant about. Best you learn now what you are in for before you find out the hard way.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from RN1989
    If you truly want to be a nurse in your heart, you will have better reasons to want to be a nurse. And you will not have reservations about it. You will simply apply to school and do it.
    flexible scheduling, decent pay and interesting work, aren't valid reasons to be attracted to nursing?
    i don't know how many threads i've read, w/posters questioning if nsg was something they should pursue, or not.
    it's not a calling for everyone.
    rather, it is a carefully, deliberated decision.
    i see nothing indicating that the op wouldn't be a competent nurse.

    i do believe in telling the pros and cons, especially if asked.
    but she asked about a weak stomach and sensitive emotions.
    it sounds like you had a really bad day.
    hope you're feeling well soon.

    leslie

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