Smoking nurses

  1. I am not a nurse yet, but my sister-in-law is and she smokes. I smoke as well and would like to quit before even starting my classes. I heard that "you can't be a nurse unless you smoke". I feel like I am such a hypocryt for smoking and wanting to be a nurse at the same time, but I also know from reading all of the threads that nursing can be a very stressful job. I am sure that I am not the only one with this problem, but I do feel guilty. Does anyone else? Not judging in any way.
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  2. 88 Comments

  3. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Chrissy,
    I was a respiratory therapist and I would take a break and go have a smoke. Try that for an internal conflict.

    It is an addiction to the feeling that all the poisonus gasses given off by the burning of it give to your brain. It will tell you when your levels of those gasses in your system are low and it is time to feed the craving. Your brain doesn't care what your schedule is, it just wants the base craving to be satisfied.
    It will control your life for as long as you allow it to. Guilt has been shown to be ineffective against its power. Accept the fact that your an addict and fight for your freedom, or go with it. Either way, guilt is something you will feel until you do.

    I'm 6 years since I had a smoke and I still get cravings once in awhile.

    So....................good luck with that.:chuckle
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on Dec 20, '02
  4. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I smoke, and get a lot of flack about it too!! Especially when I get sick, ppl tell me, "it's all that smoking, that's why you have bronchitis!", not to mention that everyone I work with who isn't a smoker has had it and came to work sick with it, exposing me! I feel bad at times, especially now that we are supposed to offer smoking cessation info and support to all patients who smoke. Then I get the patient that is offended by the smell of smoke on me, and then I feel really bad! I just try to wear a lab coat over my clothes when I smoke, and wash my hands really well. I guess at this point I dont feel bad enough to quit, but it is very tempting to quit when I have a shift where I have much breastfeeding assisting to do. I have quit before, and I know how offending it can be to smell smoke on someone. Alas, still a smoker, and not intending to stop anytime soon....
  5. by   mageean
    I am a smoker and have tried to give up many times.(once for 5years). our hospital has a no smoking policy so everyone takes a break in their car!! Because I work in psychiatry of old age this tends to be less of a problem as many patients smoke and we provide facilities for them to do so. We continue to preach about patient choice ,quite rightly but what about nurses choices despite smoking been seen as a bad habit.
  6. by   JMP
    Believe me, you CAN be a nurse and not smoke.

    Everything in life is about choices, choose NOT to smoke.

    I have seen many terrible deaths that are directly linked to smoking.

    I will never smoke..... period.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    No one can wash the stench of smoking away and those who are doing patient care should NOT smoke on the job...I don't care how many lab coats one wears or how much he/she washes their hands, the rest of us can smell it on a smoker, and it is nauseating to those of us who are sick. ( i have been patient in care of smokers and nothing smelled worse when I was sick). I just wish if one chooses to smoke (and it is a choice, like said above) that person would refrain while caring for the sick. To those trying to quit, I wish them luck. It can be done; I know firsthand.
  8. by   Tweety
    Disclaimer: This is not a smoker vs. nonsmoker post. I'm not flaming smokers because I know it's an addiction. But here is my rant....

    I was in charge the other night. One of the LPNs patients had to be transferred to a higher level of care. I was moving the patient along with the CNA and passed the nurse whose patient it was going outside to smoke.

    Don't you know I hit the ceiling. The nerve of him, smoking while I'm moving beds around....grrrr......

    Sometimes I wished I smoke, then I would be more organized and be able to leave the unit.
  9. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Hey,

    I had many a trached patient while I was a respiratory therapist take a drag off thier cigarett by pushing it down to the inner cannula to create enough suction. They were so desensitized by thier addiction they really didn't notice thier wet, sticky, tapioca trach opening was soaking the filter, thus exposing them to a plethora of nasty bacteria, which they were inviting a free pass directly into thier tracheas without the benefit of upper respiratory immune response.


    Oh well, it was good for business.
  10. by   researchrabbit
    You need not be a smoker to be a nurse. But you will need to find an alternate method of handling stress while you are in school and afterwards....otherwise you'll find it very hard to quit.
  11. by   Allison S.
    Only one of our nurses, and one of our therapists that I am aware of smoke. Most of us nurses at our place DO NOT SMOKE!

    Interestingly enough, at a previous job, we had an emphysema patient, post lung transplant, burst into flames in her hospital bed. She insists it was spontaneous, and doesn't know whose cigaretts and lighter those were on her bed.

    Good luck quitting. It ain't easy, but it's easier than dying the ugly ways smokers do.
  12. by   Gromit
    I don't smoke cigarrettes, but do enjoy a fine cigar from time to time (I mean <1 per week, and will often go for a month or more w/o burning one -its something I do when I feel like I've earned something 'extra special', but we all have our reasons one way or the other, for things we do). At my facility, the smokers are few, and while I may burn one once in a while, I never do at the hospital (while >I< may enjoy the aroma of a premium vintage cigar (expensive? yeah, but still a treat), I shudder at the though of one of my patients, nauseated due to their illness, getting a good whiff of a strong Partagas Black Label, or maybe a Questa Rey Pyramid #9 Maduro). All the phenergan in the world isn't gonna make 'em feel better.
    Personally I could care less if you smoke or not, but I prefer not to, at the hospital.

    Its easy for a non-smoker to say 'just choose not to smoke!', but all the patients dieing of a cigarrette, still smoking another one, show that its just not that simple. It takes a desire, and an enormous amount of willpower.
  13. by   mario_ragucci
    I'll smoke Marlboro 100's Lights Box if I feel like it. It may be wrong but it's my way of not being a total flawless person. In school, its a social thing, but at work I would discourage it and encourage you to surpress any cravings because you can smell it.
    I think some of the smokers are lame at work because they always use the hanicapped button to open the door to go outside to smoke and then the doors stay open for 5-10 seconds and all the smoke smell comes in. I watch people as they use the handicapped button and they are totally able bodied to open the door. Why do they go for the automatic door opener that holds the door open so long? Some people!
  14. by   BadBird
    I am not a smoker, never was. We all have are demons to fight, mine is food. I work with several nurses who don't smoke and several who do, it seems that the smokers do get sick more often.
    Since I never smoked, I don't know that feeling of addiction but I once had a patient who was a ex heroin user tell me that it was easier to quit heroin than cigarettes. I don't condem anyone for their poor habbits but I have to say that you can smell a smoker a mile away, I have severe allergies and sometimes I just go into a sneezing fit that won't stop when I smell them, perfume does it to me also. I realize that it isn't a smokers fault that I am allergic but it isn't mine either. I do try to coexist peacefully, I just stay downwind.

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