Nursing with lymphedema

  1. I have LE on lower left extremity and was wondering if nursing is still doable. I do have compression stockings as well as, thin wrappings which still allow mobility.

    any thought?

    Thanks in advance,
    Wanda
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    As long as your doc clears you to work, why not? Best to check with him/her.
  4. by   CASailorGal
    Yea, I got the 'OK' from my doc; maybe it's just me being nervous, I begin school end of July.

    Have you known anyone with LE? Maybe a nurse?
  5. by   TazziRN
    Only in an arm from a mastectomy. All others were pts of mine.
  6. by   walk6miles
    I have Parkinson's which is not (duh, of course) the same; however, I worried myself sick when I was diagnosed. I needn't have because my Coordinator told me that as long as I think I can work, that was all I needed to worry about.

    Go for it! It will be good for your mental state as well as your ego.
  7. by   CASailorGal
    Walk, Thank you for the encouraging words.
  8. by   Daytonite
    Wanda. . .I get bad swelling in my right leg secondary to phlebectomies that were done for varicose veins some years ago and complicated by diabetes. If I don't keep the swelling under control and I get a small boo-boo (I have three cats with claws that like to sit in my lap, so scratches do happen) it can become a stasis ulcer. I used to wear Jobst stockings when I worked as a nurse. Those suckers kept the swelling down, I'll tell ya! Plus, they really do feel good on the legs. You don't want to keep them on forever though. 12-hour shifts with them on were a little hard on my skin and I would get terribly itchy. It wasn't an allergy, my skin just got itchy from the material pressing into my skin. I worked with the nurse who measured me for my many pairs of Jobst stockings and tried different features that Jobst can add to the stocking to make wear more comfortable including adding a silky type of fabric that they can place on the inside of the stocking to diminish that tendency for the netting to bunch up and dig into the skin at the bend of the ankle.

    I plan my standing time these days. I spend a good deal of time sitting with my legs elevated or I just stay in bed. My vascular surgeon has shown me pictures of the mechanical external pumps that can be used at home in place of elastic stockings, but I'm not bad enough to need something like that at this point.

    If you can get up, stand and walk for 8 to 12 hours, you can be a nurse. I swear, half the nurses I worked with were fighting some sort of physical problem. Wait, you'll see. Back aches, foot problems, swollen legs, palpitations. You can either throw your hands up in the air and say "I quit" and collect welfare which is nothing like the $$$ you can make if you just suck it up and go to work. One bonus is that you'll usually run across patients that have worse problems than you. Then, you feel a little better. And when you run into a patient with peripheral vascular problems you WILL be the unit expert on it.
  9. by   blueheaven
    Quote from CASailorGal
    I have LE on lower left extremity and was wondering if nursing is still doable. I do have compression stockings as well as, thin wrappings which still allow mobility.

    any thought?

    Thanks in advance,
    Wanda
    I worked with a nurse who had a right leg the size of me (150 lbs) and she worked every day she was scheduled (12 hour shifts). Personally I don't know how she did it!!! She had to have her pants altered etc. Eventually she had a major tissue reduction and is doing much much better.
  10. by   CHATSDALE
    take care of yourself first, maybe after graduation you will want to get a job that requires intermittent sitting and standing..
    i had a patient with lymphedemia in left leg, he was perscribed a alternating compression device, hat many little velcro strips which could be adjusted
    paient was a mental pt and the compliance was poor but his leg eventually returned to normal size
  11. by   CASailorGal
    I take great care of my leg, if you look at me with pants on, you wouldn't be able to tell that I had it. My leg is about 10lbs heavier than the rt leg.

    My main concern was the ability to get a job after school.

    I wonder how that nurse was able to function with a leg that large, it gets very painful when my leg swells, and lets not talk about mobility.

    If I'm able to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a bicycle, I should be fine pulling a 12 hr shift, right!

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

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