Setting a bad example? - page 5

I am curious about what people think about working nurses who are extremely out of shape, obese, smokers, etc. I work in a CVICU where a good portion of the nurses are overweight and out of shape,... Read More

  1. by   mcl4
    Originally posted by ohbet
    If you take the Nurses Code of Ethics seriously,which supposedly all nurses are bound to, a nurse who smokes or who is fat is an unethical nurse because nurses wouldnt encourage their patients to be that way ,so the respect nurses owe to others the are to give to themselves.

    Nurses who smoke or are not at their ideal weight do not encourage or teach their patients to smoke or eat poorly. You made a poor asssumption that patients would smoke because their nurse smoke or eat fatty foods if there nurse eats fatty foods. Nurses who do not have weight issues also can eat poorly and according to your opinion, they are not taking the nurses code of ethics seriously either. Do you have a link to these codes of ethics?
  2. by   Q.
    No, I haven't floated to any other unit - because I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. I would be useless to an ICU, just as an ICU nurse would be useless to Labor and Delivery.

    You are the one who brought up the notion that teaching in the middle of the night was somehow odd and that instead we should be promoting sleep. Maybe on surgical units that may be true, however, even having NOT floated to another unit I am quite aware that things may be different. I am shocked that you even floated to post-partum, because it is more than bringing in babies and checking bands. I have gotten most of my teaching done during breastfeeding interactions - and it's more than how to latch on - but about adequate nutrition for the mom which translates into adequate nutrition for the infant. Moms have to increase their caloric intake by 500kcals/day while breastfeeding, also need to increase fluid intake. Also smoking is extremely discouraged while breastfeeding. Post-partum moms need to exercise if they want to retain their shape prior to delivery, but need to know when they've had enough in relation to increase bleeding. There are a whole host of things that need to be taught to moms in the short 24 hour period. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't teach them. And videos don't always cut it.

    No, I don't go in a 2am and click on the lights and begin lecturing. When I bring babies in for beastfeeding, or when it's time for their assessments, or for god's sake, some mom's deliver at 11pm and are still in recovery at 2am. Teaching is done THEN. So no, sleep is not primary right after birth and during breastfeeding (sorry, that's life) - if anything, sleep can be done during the day depending on what time the patient delivered.

    Again, this conversation stems from your apparent surprise that teaching (on any unit) is done (ever) on night shift. Teaching is done 24/7 on Labor and Delivery. And I don't think we are bad nurses and you should have been MORE shocked if we would have sent them home rested, but CLUELESS about thier own body and thier baby.
  3. by   fergus51
    Wow mcl, I didn't mean to get your gears going that muchTo answer your question I do float outside OB, but I NEVER take a patient assignment so I don't do a lot of teaching on those wards except to explain to a client what I am going to be doing procedurewise (I was trying to explain why OB is not like the other floors). On OB I teach no matter what the hour. I have to. A normal mother will be disharged home within 2 days. Some of them come to us with no prenatal teaching or experience with children. You're damn right I will teach them at three AM. And yes, I go into depth with education during that time. I am not depriving the mother of sleep as I do it when she is going to be awake anyways. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of waiting until she has caught up on her sleep. No, sleep deprivation isn't great, but I am jnot depriving her of sleep. I do teaching when people are awake anyways. Believe me, the teenage mother who holds her breast between two fingers like a cigarette does not want me to just bring her baby and leave her alone, she wants me to tell her what to do and how to do it. Those are perfectly teachable moments and they are essential to certain mothers. I would rather get teaching done on the night shift than discharge a woman home who has no idea what she is doing with that screaming little person she just made.
  4. by   fergus51
    OOps, I didn't realize you'd already answered it for me, Thasnks Suzy.
  5. by   mattcastens
    I can't believe that you all believe that people aren't influenced by what they see (i.e. and overweight or smoking nurse). If that were true, then the whole advertising business would disappear.

    People are influenced by images and impressions, and I would think that in terms of patient education (not skill), an unhealthy nurse would send conflicting messages.

    And where did you all pick up that I wanted to ban smokers and overeaters from nursing? I never wrote anything of the kind. In fact, if you'll read more carefully, I was wondering how hospitals can encourage healthy lifestyles in their nurses and use the system to improve health -- both good causes, I would say.

    Finally, my co-workers do know my position on this topic. We frequently have conversations about how to better influence our patients. Actually, our conversations are much more constructive than this one is turning out to be.
  6. by   Q.
    Matt, your question about setting an example really isn't out of line. My husband, before he left the nursing profession, often thought that himself. And someone made the comment about their husband who said to the doc "You ain't no Twiggy yourself" which to me tells me that people ARE impacted by example and/or images. We are a very image oriented society.

    The question was not meant to offend, but rather to prompt a discussion and encourage thinking. Relax everyone.

    And Fergus, you're welcome.
  7. by   VAC
    Originally posted by mcl4


    And you still haven't address the pertinent orginal issue of other floors talking about lifestyle changes which is different then teaching a mother how to breastfeed. I'm guessing you don't float too much outside of ob?
    I
    Learning to breastfeed and take care of an infant are HUGE lifestyle changes.
  8. by   hapeewendy
    matt, If you read many of the responses closely you will see that not all of us took you the wrong way and jumped to a conclusion on you personally

    most of us just voiced our opinions about what you posted, which is the point of posting and replying right?

    I dont cast any judgements as to what kind of person you are , I Just stated my own experiences and feelings about your post.

    stereotypes and judgements do happen daily in life - its unavoidable unfortunately-
    however, to all these people who keep mentioning this so called "ethics of nursing" wherein a nurse with unhealthy habits or who is overweight is sending the wrong message to patients is insane, nothing more nothing less..... its crazy to think that everyone in nursing needs to be completely healthy and fit - no one is 100% healthy anyway...
    if we see you eating a chocolate bar on your shift will you be banned from nursing alltogether?
    personally if i was a patient about to code i would want someone who could do compressions and hopefully save my life, end of story
    I dont care if he/she looked like a troll as long as they could do their job.
    when it comes down to it in nursing, skill is what is most important, you either have it or you dont.
    weight is a sensitive issue at best and to have the suggestion made even lightly that being overweight makes one a less effective nurse seems hurtful to me, being a nurse is one of my proudest accomplishments as I imagine it is for most of you too, imagine someone tryin to trivalize all that hard work and heart based on an unhealthy habit you may have or the fact that youre 30lbs overweight.

    I work with quite a few overweight nurses and other staff in the hospital also, and I've joined in on many a conversation about the unhappiness of being overweight and how we can get healthier as a staff, it isnt easy, people try , but it truly is a battle, quitting smoking as any good nurse knows is a challenge, ive watched many ppl try to kick the habit, and losing weight is just as much of a struggle.

    while we are on the topic of being predjudged etc, I work with four male nurses who are prejudged horribly, they are the best nurses I have worked with EVER yet patients refuse care from them based on ideas and preconceptions...... are we going to get to the point where patients can refuse nursing care from a smoker, or obese nurse or a male nurse?
  9. by   mattcastens
    Originally posted by Susy K
    Matt, your question about setting an example really isn't out of line.

    >SNIP!<

    And someone made the comment about their husband who said to the doc "You ain't no Twiggy yourself" which to me tells me that people ARE impacted by example and/or images. We are a very image oriented society.
    Thank You! I didn't think it was out of line. Now if I had said "All the black-lung fatties should be booted out of nursing, " that would have been out of line.

    NOTE TO EVERYONE: Please notice that the above line is an example. An example. This is not an actual quote by me or by anyone posting in this topic, but an example of an inappropriate comment. I repeat: The above quote was an example only.

    Think of this: People will joke about getting marriage or sexual advice from a Catholic priest, saying, "Well, how would he know what he's talking about?" I have a feeling that some patients might feel the same way about getting health information from an overweight, or smoking, nurse.
  10. by   fergus51
    LOL! I don't think your question is out of line either Matt, I just think it is not the case necessarily (is that a firm enough answer?). I can see why patients may not listen to fat nurses talk about nutrition, but at the same time there are a lot of women on my unit who don't think that a man can understand what they are going through. Should we eliminate all male OB nurses or OB/GYN docs? Of course not. We need to make the differentiation between knowledge and practice. I can tell someone about testicular exam and why they should do it even though I don't have any testicles, so I say I can teach nutrition even though I could stand to lose about 20 pounds. I only had one patient ever comment on that when I was in nursing school and a little heavier than I am now. I told him that I am a work in progress, just like him and he responded well. Besides, I say I am healthier with my extra weight than I would be if I smoke, drank and never exercised. There's my rationalization for why I continue to eat too many cookies.
  11. by   fergus51
    And Suzy, don't you love how teaching on L&D and PP is confined to "PUSH" and slap the kid on the breast and you'll do fine. I sure am glad we don't do any real lifestyle education there.
  12. by   Q.
    Ahhh Fergus, I know. It all boils down to the same ole argument. You and I and countless other L&D sistas (and brothers) have heard it before. It gets old. Perhaps my passion about NOT just sitting at the bedside yelling PUSH and bringing babies in and checking bands, and of course, all the babies are born happy and healthy and to parents to WANTED them is what lit my fire to respond like I did.

    That's why, thanks for your input. And you too VAC. Awesome comment about how birth and breastfeeding ARE major lifestyle changes. Pure awesome. Short and to the point. BAM.

    Cool, very cool.
  13. by   mattcastens
    Originally posted by fergus51
    LOL! I don't think your question is out of line either Matt, I just think it is not the case necessarily (is that a firm enough answer?). I can see why patients may not listen to fat nurses talk about nutrition, but at the same time there are a lot of women on my unit who don't think that a man can understand what they are going through. Should we eliminate all male OB nurses or OB/GYN docs? Of course not. We need to make the differentiation between knowledge and practice. I can tell someone about testicular exam and why they should do it even though I don't have any testicles, so I say I can teach nutrition even though I could stand to lose about 20 pounds.
    A good point. However, having experienced being a male nurse during my OB rotation, I can say that I have had women request that I not be their nurse, or ask how I was to teach them about breast feeding without being a woman. This, in my mind proves that image can influence effectiveness.

    What if I was the world's leading expert on breast feeding? I am sure that there would be women who would ignore what I have to say, or at least doubt my knowledge, because I am a man. I hear this from women all the time when they talk about the possibility of seeing a male OB/GYN: "Oh, I would never -- he couldn't possibly know a woman's body as well as a woman!" I'm not discounting the skill. But we must acknowledge that skill might be overshadowed by image; therefore, because of image, effective practice might by lessened.

    I have said before that some of the unhealthiest nurses I work with are also some of the best. When it comes to a code or recovery from surgery, no, I don't think the patients care about what their nurse looks like. But in the next phase -- the education phase, what if the patient thinks that he's not going to listen to the nurses advice, because she can't follow it herself? Worse yet, what if the patient simply gives up his quest for a healthier lifestyle, thinking, "Well, if a nurse can't do it, I sure as hell can't!"

    You're response of being "a work in progess" is a good on. Perhaps one of the ways to counteract the preconceptions is to acknowledge them and add the suggestion that "we're all in this together."

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