Question re: carpal tunnel and nursing

  1. I'm new here. I am a hopefully future nursing student. I've done medical transcription for ten years, had carpal tunnel releases, and my hands still can't handle repetitive motion. So, I need to move on. I really want to stay in the health care industry...BAD. I've been an EMT and loved it very much. I'm jobless right now, so I've been volunteering at a local nursing home with hospice and Alzheimer's patients. Very rewarding, to say the least!

    My question for all you nurses is this...in your opinion, could someone who has trouble with repetitive motion (i.e. typing) successfully handle a nursing career? My grip and strength are good...it's just the repetitive stuff that drives me nuts. My goal is to be an RN and do hospice and/or home health. What are the basic physical demands for something like that?

    If I need to post these questions somewhere else, please let me know. In advance, I sincerely appreciate any advice you have to offer!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   sdg
    I would also like to know the answer to this question. I have had CTS in both wrists for more than a year. I got it from a lot of typing at my current job and also at home. Typing doesn't bother me much any more as long as I keep my hands and arms in the right positions. My grip is also good, but I have a problem writing for long periods of time and lifting with one hand. As long as I use both hands to pick up heavy items (dishes!) I am okay. If I try to get something out of the oven or something with one hand, I generally do it but I might feel like I am going to drop it in the process. I will also have more pain than normal for the next several hours. I can't hold newborn to 6month old babies for long periods of time because it puts too much pressure on my wrists. Once they get to a point were you can just let them sit on your hip I can do it.
  4. by   SCRN1
    I have CTS, but haven't had surgery...yet. I have had a shot of cortisone and can have it one more time, if needed. I'm putting that off as long as I can since the next step after that will be the surgery. For now, it's tolerable and I will use my brace and take antiinflammatories when needed.

    I haven't really had a problem being a nurse with it. Sure, at times, it acts up when typing assessments or checking off MARS for the next day. I try to remember to position my hands correctly on the keyboard. When checking off MARS, I usually don't have the luxury of sitting there, getting them all done without interruption anyway. If it does start hurting, fall asleep, etc., I just take a break from what I'm currently doing and do something else for awhile.

    I've not really had any other problems in nursing because of it. It is a little bit harder to move a patient in bed, but I can always get someone to help me.
  5. by   Winningjob
    I am trying to get the VA (Vocational Rehabilitation/Education) program to approve my nursing school as I too have Carpal Tunnel/tendinitis in both wrist. I was a drummer in the U.S. Army band and took and honorable/medical discharge and the VA rated me at 10% disabled in each wrist. Any advice or suggestions from those that have had to prove that one can be a nurse with carpal tunnel would be very helpful. I believe their main concern is trying to lift patients and any repetitive motions of course.
  6. by   MA Nurse
    I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand a year ago. It helped me alot, I'm wondering why you still have problems? i have some mild tendonitis in my right arm, but that's it. It doesn't interfere with my job. We do computer charting, too.

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