The Physical Stamina Needed For Nursing

  1. Can someone please tell me about the physical stamina needed for nursing?

    I realize your on your feet for long periods of time plus all the bending, stooping over, etc.

    Is there a difference in the stamina needed depending on the area of nursing you go into or which degree ie; LPN or RN ?

    I want to be a nurse almost more than anything. I have dreamed of this my entire life and am waiting to see if I am accepted into the LPN program this fall. But I also want to be very realistic about the expectations of nursing on me physically as well.

    Do the RN's have better opportunities at less physically demanding jobs then an LPN would?

    Many, many thanks for your replies.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   realnursealso/LPN
    In general, I think that both jobs can be very physically demanding. When I first went into nursing 27 years ago, it was very hard for me. I wore support hose and leather nursing shoes. As time went on I became used to all the walking/running. Both RN's and LPN's are on their feet alot, depending on what department they work in. As well as some jobs for both RN's and LPN's are more sedentary. I'm sure you will do fine, it is all in the getting used to it phaze.
  4. by   OC_An Khe
    First off you will have much broader career options as an RN as oppossed to an LPN. The physical stamina needed depends quite frankly what area you specialize in, whether you are hospital based, SNF, home health etc. as all will have different demands on you. Also in the corporate world their are many non patient care carreers that an RN is a good preparation for.
  5. by   incublissRN
    Like stated before, the stamina you need depends on your speciality. There are things you can do to help yourself, like buying good shoes and using lift equipment but it's still hard on your feet and back. Obesity is a problem that keeps growing and people are sicker then they have ever been. As an RN with a BSN if the physical demands become too much then you have more career options that would be less physically demanding.
    Last edit by incublissRN on Apr 3, '07 : Reason: typos
  6. by   ICRN2008
    I just finished working 4 days straight of 12-hour shifts, meaning that I literally ran around for about 50 hours. Let me tell you, my Advil bottle and my bed are my best friends on days like today!

    I think that being in good shape (and having a good pair of shoes) helps. In addition to physical stamina, however, you also need mental stamina. It is easy to make a mistake 12 hours into a shift when you're dead tired, so it's important to learn how to pace yourself.
  7. by   Cattitude
    12 hr shifts doing bedside work is physically taxing. After 7 years in the hospital and several herniated discs I am glad to be in home health now. My back and feet are very happy!

    It ain't a walk in the park that's for sure!
  8. by   bill4745
    I've worked in two extremes: 1. ICU 7pm-7am. Lots of sitting, doing chart checks, only two patient rooms to travel between, many times several hours with noting but turning the two patients every two hours. Not physically demanding. 2. My current position is ER 11am-11pm - constant walking, 4 rooms at least to attend to, plus helping in other rooms. Being over 50, it sometimes wears me down, especially 3 in a row. There are quite a variety of positions in nursing.
  9. by   NurseyPoo
    Quote from BSNDec06
    I just finished working 4 days straight of 12-hour shifts, meaning that I literally ran around for about 50 hours. Let me tell you, my Advil bottle and my bed are my best friends on days like today!
    I know exactly how you feel... Except I also have a foot bath and hot tub that I have become extremely attached to.

    I work in ICU 7P-7A and some nights are non-stop run-run-run and other nights are less stressful. By the end of my 3 or 4 day stretch I am toast. I usually lay in bed the first day off until around 4P. And I agree that pacing yourself is the key. When I first started in ICU on nights I lost weight but then the body became used to it and "Hello Lost Weight".
  10. by   mvanz9999
    Quote from bill4745
    I've worked in two extremes: 1. ICU 7pm-7am. Lots of sitting, doing chart checks, only two patient rooms to travel between, many times several hours with noting but turning the two patients every two hours. Not physically demanding. 2. My current position is ER 11am-11pm - constant walking, 4 rooms at least to attend to, plus helping in other rooms. Being over 50, it sometimes wears me down, especially 3 in a row. There are quite a variety of positions in nursing.
    Hm...so are you happy with what you are currently doing? I would assume so, and that you also prefer the ER over ICU?
  11. by   SICU Queen
    Quote from bill4745
    I've worked in two extremes: 1. ICU 7pm-7am. Lots of sitting, doing chart checks, only two patient rooms to travel between, many times several hours with noting but turning the two patients every two hours. Not physically demanding. 2. My current position is ER 11am-11pm - constant walking, 4 rooms at least to attend to, plus helping in other rooms. Being over 50, it sometimes wears me down, especially 3 in a row. There are quite a variety of positions in nursing.
    Dang Bill!! You make ICU sound like a cake walk.

    In MY ICU world, it's very physically demanding. Yes, we have two patients, but our acuity level is very high. My last shift involved a 20 year old with end stage cardiomyopathy, on a BIVAD, to whom I gave 14 units of PRBC's, 4 of FFP, and a 10 pack each of platelets and cryo because of a coagulopathy post-op - and that was just in the first 5 hours of my shift with him. I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the stuff he had going on, but I only got to sit down (and chart and eat at the same time) while he went to the OR for a look-see. Not all shifts are so crazy, but I don't recall ever having several hours where all I do is turn people.

    ER is a nuthouse as well. Been there done that many times, as a float, and I always ran my tail off.

    Basically, mammaoftwo, any bedside position is going to require a fairly large amount of physical output. It's just the nature of the beast, whether you're an LPN or an RN. As an RN, however, you have more opportunity to move away from the bedside and into something more administrative in nature.
  12. by   nursynurseRN
    Well Im 27 years old and I feel like am 60 after working 3 12's in a row. I come home at about 8pm on the last day and sleep till 10 am on the next day. I feel drained for the rest of the 4th day. They i get 4 days off and I feel brand new again. I work in a med/surg floor were I have to run between patients. Some day are "lazy" days but others I wish i had called in. I started working out at the gym last few weeks and Its making me feel more enrgized. Cardio and weight training are helping out a lot. Plus am taKING a multivitamin.
  13. by   not now
    I do long term care as an LVN and I sit about one hour out of my eight (and that's to chart). The rest of my shift is walking up and down halls either pushing my med cart as I pass meds, checking on my acutely ill resident(s), making sure trays come out correctly, chasing people out doors, checking to see if people are getting turned, answering call lights, trying to find out where that dang personal alarm is coming from...but I love it so I do it. I'm sure it helps that I'm 26 and in pretty decent shape.

    When I worked sub-acute (still as an LVN) I'd have seven patients. All GT and either a vent or blowby, mostly PVS. I'd have nails clean, oral care done, dressings done, patients turned, hand rolls in place...and it would only be 2AM. Gah, I wanted to shoot myself sometimes I was so bored.
  14. by   Ophelia78
    Working at the bedside is very demanding (and hard on the feet!) but doable. Wear support hose, have a good pair of shoes, and stay physically fit. I've had fibromyalgia for 14 years and I've had no problem. I was told nursing would be too demanding, but the opposite has been true. My symptoms are less than when I sat at my desk writing all day. I'm pooped after a 12 hour shift, but I sleep like a baby!

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