New Nurse Prevention!

  1. For several years now, my 18-year-old daughter has been planning to be a nurse. She has researched schools, scholarships, volunteered in a nursing home, taken all the hard science classes and is concurrently taking college classes while in high school.

    Monday, all that changed. The high school had a "health seminar" for all the senior girls in which they were shown films of people with advanced syphilis and gonorrhea (the kind of pictures where parts of people are eaten away). The pictures were so gross that several girls (among them my daughter) passed out! (the school didn't bother to let me know that happened, either!).

    Now she is afraid that she will be unable to handle nursing school or a nursing job. "Mom, I can't even handle PICTURES, what would I do with a patient!"

    While I think it is a good thing to explore future professions, I don't think that was the intent of this film (she had previously arranged to shadow a nurse this summer; I think she will go ahead and do that).

    I guess I don't really understand what the school was thinking.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   NurseShell
    I'm guessing it was meant to be a scare tactic...were you notified in advance that this film was to be shown?? We got a notice from my daughter's teacher (she's in 5th grade) that they were gonna have "the" talk this week. The "permission" slip at the bottom was to opt out...which is fine, cuz we've already had "that" talk - so it should be review for her anyway...

    if it helps your daughter any - I was petrified of the "smells" and how I would react...literally braced myself to meet the floor, but it didn't happen I think it's just one of those things you have to wait and see
  4. by   researchrabbit
    The school sent a notice about a "health assembly" -- nothing about the film or really what the subject matter was...

    This school district just does not seem to think things through very well. And it surprised me that they have no policy of notifying parents when a child faints at school.

    (I have that problem with smells too! )
  5. by   spineCNOR
    Well, this thread brought back memories--MANY years ago when I was a nursing student, and about 18 years old, I was sent in to observe a thoracentesis. Part way through the procedure I started to feel faint, and left the room. I didn't think I could make it to the nurses station before passing out, so I ducked into the next patient room and sat down. The elderly patient in the room saw my distressed condition, and jumped out of bed to go to the sink and get me a cold washcloth!

    That was 30 years ago, so despite this "sinking spell" I got through nursing school. Please let your daughter know no one goes into nursing already "used to"dealing with all the unpleasant sights, and some things take time. If she sticks with her plan of going into nursing she will be just fine, after all I made it, so she can too!
  6. by   Stargazer
    Well, that'll teach those girls that S-E-X is evil and bad and scary and they should give up any plans they have for using those naughty parts "down there" until they're safely married and even then it should be lights off, door locked, under the covers, missionary position ONLY and of course only if they're doing it to make a baby.

    What I wanna know is, are they showing the boys the same film?



    I dunno, RR--we got shown that old-time classic, "I Am Joe's Heart" or something in 6th grade, and for the 3.2 seconds that they showed an actual, wet, live, beating heart, eveybody in the class but me screamed "GROSS!" and covered their eyes. You never know what's going to affect kids and in what way. On the other hand, it sounds like the particular movie they're showing should be reviewed, perhaps by some representative parents, before being shown again.

    Nobody goes into nursing thinking, "Oh boy! Can't wait for the puking and spitting and pooping and pee and blood and pus!" We all have things we deal with better than other things. The point is, when you get to the point where you're dealing with that stuff, you realize there's an actual live patient behind it, and the icky stuff is just an unpleasant but inevitable by-product of their illness.
  7. by   MrsK1223
    I think the film was meant to show them that those are real possibilities with unprotected sex and it should make them squeemish...cause it's a reality. Assure her though many of us have had times that one thing or another makes us want to faint or get light headed. Before I became a nurse, I worked in outpatient surgery as a medical assistant and got weak and light headed almost everytime I saw the doc excising. I thought at that particular time I could not handle it....I slid down a wall watching a vertical c-section in nursing school and gagged and heaved out of the blue over some smelly urine....and urine usually didn't bother me but i could handle somethings much more pungent. Encourage not to give up on nursing because of that one incident. I now work in a gastro lab and see lots of poop and saliva and frothy gunk....it doesn't bother me at all now...sure it stinks but...i try to look beyond the poop and picture that being me there in their place or a family member. What won't kill her will only make her stronger. She can do it!!!!!
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am sorry I don't see what they did wrong here, RR. Are these not real issues in nursing that we see? Are they not things that can happen when we have sex with the wrong person? As graphic as it was, it is real. Kids need to know this.

    I know in OB some of the things we see are UNBELIEVABLY DISGUSTING and STOMACH-TURNING. YOUNG girls coming in with very bad STD's and pregnant is sad to me. But is is real. However, I am sorry she reacted so strongly. Maybe it would be good for her to do some shadowing or volunteering and see up-close and in person what it's all about and THEN decide.
  9. by   P_RN
    I'd get the heebie-jeebies too if that stuff flashed up on a screen unexpectedly. I have delved into many innards and chit'lins, dressed many stage 4 decubiti etc., but out of context ewwwwww.

    Encourage her to think about nursing again. If she really wants to she may believe you when you say it's not all like that.
  10. by   Katnip
    First, you're right to encourage her to go ahead and shadow the nurse.

    There's a world of difference being flashed a gross picture and being in a setting where you expect to see the gross things.

    By the time she gets through the prereqs and has done the dissections, she'll be able to look at these things with a more clinical rather than a personal eye. That doesn't mean that there won't be things that gross her out, but she should be a bit more prepared for them.
  11. by   bagladyrn
    Have to admit I showed those kind of pictures to my boys when they were teenagers. I figured drastic methods were called for when one of my foster sons sat down at the kitchen table and said "Mom, can you explain to me how the rhythm method works?"!!! I don't know if it was that, the condom lecture and supply, or the knowlege that if they caused a pregnancy mom would drag their butts to the courthouse to sign paternity papers, but we made it through the high school years and beyond with none of them having a pregnancy scare.
    I do think that the school had a responsibility to let you know the content of this program though, so that parents could be ready to deal with the questions when their child came home.
  12. by   fab4fan
    spineCNOR: LOL! The same thing happened to me when I was a student and was observing a thoracentesis. The pt was this skinny little old man, and I remember thinking that the needle looked like a harpoon...got a mental image of it going straight through the pt.

    I ran staggering out of the room and fell into a wheelchair. I thought I'd never make it through nursing school.
  13. by   MerryRN
    I think there is a big difference between being busy and not having much time to think about how gross something is versus being a captive audience watching a film.
  14. by   abigailk
    SEVERAL girls fainted??? Was this real fainting or swooning? Teenage girls tend to get rather dramatic. Last year we had several girls from the same dancing class start to have generalized seizures. Funniest thing, they all had normal EEG's and all those girls stopped having seizures once they were told firmly that they weren't ill.

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