Did you ever wonder...

  1. before you started nursing school, or for those of you who are through - before you became a nurse... if you could handle it?

    I'm a waffling pre-nursing/pre-med student, that's posted here off and on in the past... I doubt anyone remembers me.

    Anyway, being realistic, I know I want to enter the medical field. I ultimately would like to go to medical school, but realize that isn't an attainable goal, financially or emotionally at the moment (I have two small children and work full-time).

    I'm not considering nursing as a "second choice," and certainly don't mean to put nursing as a profession down.

    I think it is a wonderfully noble profession... I'm just worried about some of the "yuck" factor involved.

    Before you started nursing school, were you intimidated about the thought of caring for people's bodily functions? Changing beds, cleaning people up, etc?

    I feel terrible posting, since it seems like such a shallow question, but I wonder if these fears mean that I'm really not cut out to try nursing... or if it's a process that people do go through... almost like a fear of the unknown.

    I want to say that I could look at a person who was vomiting, or sick, or needed help using the restroom and realize that this is an ailing person who needs my help... rather than something gross.

    I just don't know... I guess I needed a sounding board, and thought I'd post.

    Hope I didn't offend anybody.. please no flames.
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Angelica
    I don't think your post is at all offensive. Your concerns are quite natural. I just graduated two weeks ago, and after two years of school I can honestly say that I have a pretty strong immunity to the 'yuck factor'. It's been a long time since I've been grossed out by anything. Of course, everyone is different.
    Before I decided to become a nurse I toyed with the idea of becoming a physician. I ultimately decided against it, primarily because I have two young children. I didn't think it would be fair to them. So I chose nursing, and so far I am glad I did. After spending time in a hospital as a student and extern, being a physician is not nearly as attractive a profession as I once thought it was.
    Good luck to you in whatever you decide!!
  4. by   Mint Julip
    No flames here. What you are feeling is normal. Many people have felt the same way you do now. If you have never worked in healthcare it can be a little overwhelming at first. That doesn't mean you wouldn't make a great nurse. I started my career as a nursing assistant at a state hospital. I was 20 years old with no prior experience to speak of. I cared for chronically and terminally ill patients. Believe me I wasn't too keen on the idea of cleaning up bodily secretions or bathing strange bodies, especially males. We were also required to give Fleet enemas I realized that the "yucky stuff" just didn't bother me like I thought it would. I loved the patients and that made it all worth it. So here I am seventeen years later, a fairly new LPN working on my associates degree. Don't let your fears keep you from achieving your dream.
  5. by   RNIAM
    Not even a spark from me either. At least you are contemplating this now. It is something you can get used to in time. I have never had alot of problems with the yuck factor, but I have been queezy. You might want to try some volunteer work at a Long term care facility or hospital and see how much you can take. I have also heard of other people shadowing a nurse to see if it is something they want to do. I hope you figure it out. Good luck to you.
  6. by   Jen2
    Hello

    Just wanted to say that I also wasn't sure if i wanted to become a nurse at first so I went for medical assisting just to get my feet wet. I found that the more I learned the more fascinated I became with the human body and will now be entering an ADN program this fall. I am currently working as a phleb in a hospital. I'm being totally honest when I say that I could see 20 gallons of poo and blood with no problem but just hearing someone gag sends me running. Everyone has these problems, but when a patient is in need or if it's an emergency you and your fears are the last thing you think about and thats how you know if you can handle it. It's just being there in the moment and at that situation. Thats why you go to school and do clinicals, maybe you should should try candystriping just to get a feel for it becasue like I said you won't know until that moment. Good luck on whatever you decide.
  7. by   LeesieBug
    Don't forget that nursing is a very diverse field. You don't neccessarily have to work doing bedside care. There really is something for everyone. If you discover in school that you don't like to do some of the messier jobs and that that is a major problem for you, there are plenty of other routes you can take.
  8. by   beaRNwhenIgroUP
    hey there!

    last semester, we started our rotations in long term care - i was so nervous about "bodily fluids" which there seemed to be a endless supply of...

    anyhow, i shared my fears w/ my professor and she gave me a completely immobile pt w/ terrible diarrhea and a stage iii on her upper left leg - the diarrhea kept getting into the sore so it wouldn't heal

    i was so scared - but when i was "in the act" of providing patient care it didn't even phase me and the most important thing is...they so appreciated being cleaned and taken care of!

    i loved the wound care it was so interesting...and the poo - well it was poo but i got used to it

    and, i will never ever forget any of my patients at long term care they all meant so much to me! the "yuck factor" really turned out to be not much of an issue

    so, i say it's normal to be afraid - go for it! you'll surprise yourself when you find out what you can handle...

    sarah:d

    oh, i also heard from a long-time paramedic in my class that if you know you're about to get into a stinky situation a little vicks right under the nostrils does wonders...never tried it myself...
  9. by   Arnie
    I have had the pleasure of dealing with the yuk factor for over 20 years on and off and in different settings. I have found that this factor was also an issue for my clients and I have always found this Yuk factor to be overshadowed by the satisfaction factor from helping someone to better health and happiness. I to have fond memories of clients I have shared these moments with.
    I would also concur that nursing is such a diverse profession that bodily secretions are not always part of the profession.
    Good Luck with your future
  10. by   rnnurse2b
    Hello..i am just starting my prereqs now and will hopefully be accepted into the Nursing Program next Fall, but i also have the same fears as you about the bodily fluids. But the way i see it is that this is what i really want to do for my career, so i have to atleast attempt to conquer this fear of mine. If i decide its not for me, then atleast i can say that i tried! Good luck.
  11. by   marilynmom
    Oh I think almost everyone thinks about the "gross" stuff nurses do. Also realize that not all nurses are bedside nurses...they are *many* fields of nursing! I had though off and on about going on to med school because I like pathology and wanted to study that more but with 2 young kids (ages 5 and 1 yr) I just couldn't see myself gone ALL the time (literally- resident easily work 8-100 hours a week my friends husband just finshed his residency).

    I am interested in earning my masters degree in nursing and am interested in all sorts of things such as research, CRNA, etc....nursing is endless.

    I dont think anyone wants to wipe butts and all that, but I am sure you get used to it.

    Good luck! And dont be afraid to ask anything here.

    M
  12. by   LaceyA.
    The "yuck factor" is something that scares me too... but you get used to it. To be honest, there may be something that really grosses you out... maybe to the point of "up-chucking," but it's okay and you will learn to deal with it!

    Every occupation out there has a "yuck factor" associated with it!

    ~Lace
  13. by   KristinWW
    Before I had children I thought I could NEVER change a poopy diaper. Now I change them in the bat of an eye and can follow up with a meal You'll make it! Not the same comparison but still.....
  14. by   CVnurse08
    I kinda also have this same fear. What do you think about becoming a CNA first to get over this fear ?? I am planning on becoming a CNA within the next year and know that it will involve a whole lot of the yuck factor and hope that it will help me get over it. That is, if I can stand it !!!

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