Is being overweight going to affect Nursing career choice?

  1. I'm not talking about the "skinny-ninny" that just has to lose those invisible 5 pounds... , I'm talking about being "plus size". I am 44 years old, have five kids (two are on their own now yeah!!!) and wear a 26/28 size. I bet some of you didn't know that clothes came in that size :chuckle
    I am doing my prerequisites now hoping to start Nursing Program in fall of 2003. I know I should lose some weight, and I probably will.......but well, what do ya'll think? I feel kinda dumb even asking cause if someone made a comment to me in person I'd defend my right to work, etc...... but you know how it goes. I'd just like to hear what some of you have to think about this.
    Thanks!
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   delirium
    This question has been asked before, and I say the same thing every time.
    No, it doesn't matter.
    More and more of America is becoming overweight, and that means there are overweight people in every sector of society, up to and including healthcare.
    We have an ER doc who is morbidly obese, for crying out loud, and nobody questions her competence.

    So while I would encourage you to lose weight if that's what you want to do, I would also encourage you to take a look around the next time you're at Walmart, in a hospital, whatever. There are people of all shapes and sizes in every profession.

    The only things I can think of where it may hinder your performance would perhaps be in running to a code (or stamina, in general), or maneuvering in tight spaces.

    Go for your dream, whatever it is, regardless of how much you weigh.
  4. by   shannonRN
    i don't see why weight, color, or sex should affect your career choice. if nursing is something that you want to do, then i say go for it!!!! i don't think that anyone should have to defend themselves for chosing their profession. i say if you have the knowledge base and are a good nurse, then no one has the right to question you.

    i just had a patient talk to me about their doctor. she is an overweight woman. he told me that when he first went to her, he said no way is this lady going to be a good doctor. well, she proved him wrong! years later he is still going to her. he told me that she was a very bright and intelligent women and he learned that it didn't matter what she looked like.

    congratulations and welcome to nursing...good luck with nursing school!
  5. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by 2amigos
    i'm not talking about the "skinny-ninny" that just has to lose those invisible 5 pounds...:d , i'm talking about being "plus size". i am 44 years old, have five kids (two are on their own now yeah!!!) and wear a 26/28 size. i bet some of you didn't know that clothes came in that size :chuckle
    i am doing my prerequisites now hoping to start nursing program in fall of 2003. i know i should lose some weight, and i probably will.......but well, what do ya'll think? i feel kinda dumb even asking cause if someone made a comment to me in person i'd defend my right to work, etc...... but you know how it goes. i'd just like to hear what some of you have to think about this.
    thanks!:d
    2amigos, there are some nurse that i have worked with who appear to wear the same size such as yourself. if this is what you feel you need and want to do, do it only for you and for your health.
  6. by   Mattigan
    Being overweight in itself is not a problem but you need to be able to be active and agile. I worked as nurse for years at varied sizes from 18-24. I was always very active and a great walker,hiker,etc. and nothing in life was ever a problem at the time.
    I do have to say that carrying all the weight around is not good for your body and it does finally catch up with you. Am starting to have real knee pain and other aches. Nursing is rough on anyone and doing it overweight is just like dragging an extra person around with you. If you don't have a problem with being active -you can do the work- just do youself a favor and take precautions now for what it can do to your body after several years of very hard work.

    You can do it, just look ahead and be good to yourself. Good luck with your nursing career, it's worth it.
  7. by   2amigos
    Thanks for the wonderful replies. I am pretty active (shoot, have to be with two total care special needs kids :-) ) I didn't really think it would be an issue, but guess I'm just getting nervous since I start full-time on the 26th with prequisites. I went this summer and I was the oldest student, but finished in the top of my two classes. I'll certainly enjoy that since I doubt it liable to continue. lol
    Thanks again, I appreciate the responses.
  8. by   JailRN
    2amigos , Don't "Should" on yourself. When I started nursing, I was a 2, (that was in 1973,) at the end of 2001, I was a 32, and scrubs DO come in that size. I wouldn't have wanted to run codes, but DID do my share of "man down" , I'm now about size 16 after bypass surgery, and feel great, BUT I have to tell you, nobody DARED comment about my weight. It's all in your own perception of yourself. I liked myself as much now as I did then. My size didn't interfere with my job, or my life. I chose to have the surgery because at almost 50, I have an autistic soon to be 8 year old son that I need to be around for.

    I have a coworker, however, that does nothing but ***** about how much her legs, feet, back hurt (We do a lot of walking ) and she's about 5' tall and has to be 350+ lbs. And refuses to diet, exercise, or have surgery.

    BUT they hired her anyway, and they will you too. It will be up to your clinical skills and personality. Good luck. Let us know how you're doing..
  9. by   GPatty
    Hey~
    I wear a size 20/22. And I can do all of it! It doesn't matter what you look like or how big you are....if you are comfortable with yourself....go for it!
  10. by   RNIAM
    Thank you ladies for your posts. AlthoughI am actively trying to lose weight. I am also a plus size 30 about give or take. It was just nice to here that this is one thing that I won't have to go crazy about.
  11. by   amblessing
    Our school has a policy that you must be physically capable of performing clincial tasks, which include lifting patients (with assistance of course). If you are not physically capable, then you can't be in the program.
  12. by   RNIAM
    My school also has that requirement. I had no problem getting in and I am over 300lbs. I am more than able to lift ,bend and move. As a matter of a fact in my PCT days I was always the one that was asked to help move somebody. I have the strenght as well as the girth of ten men and a boy..lol I guess what I am trying to say is you can do anything you put your mind to!
  13. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    I have met very few nurses that were the perfect size 6, but congrats to those that are. I on the other hand is well over the six , I have had a few Drs make a comment or two but when it came to a code or doing my Job they got out of my way because they all knew I would be the first to arrive and I would be bringing supplies with me, I would run past many of the fit size 6's and wouldnt be out of breath either. I know with my own experience that now matter what I do , I will always be the way I am and Im personally happy with it...
    Few suggestions though: if your going to work on the floor Dont wear clogs... You tend to run out of them and slide down the hall... yes personal experience and I still beat the cardiologist to the room.
    Body mechanics- Learn them and Use them because with the added weight your body has adjusted for but alot of the patients become and are the majority of dead weight so conserve your back
    Wear support hose because as time goes on the stress on your knees and hips does begin to take its toll...
    and lastly
    Get the best pair of shoes money can buy and get a few pairs so that you will conserve your lumbar as long as possible...
    Just a few thoughts
    Zoe
  14. by   RN-PA
    I am an "average" size and the only thing I can think of that may be more of an annoyance than a problem is maneuvering in patients' rooms. With our semi-private, two-bed rooms-- and somtimes in a bed crunch, the larger private, one-bed rooms are doubled-- it's a challenge to deal with equipment such as IV pumps, Gomco machines (gastric suction), tube feedings, bedside tables, visitor's chairs, visitors, etc. etc. in a cramped space. Last night at work, I was trying to get to an IV pump in bed #2, and ended up bumping butts with a nurse attempting to insert an IV into the patient in bed #1. Fortunately, I didn't mess up her stick. I often feel like a contortionist as I try to work in these tight spaces. My hips have knocked many a phone or water pitcher off patients' bedside tables... Maybe it's just my clutziness more than my size.

    With a positive, can-do attitude which it sounds like you possess, you can accomplish anything-- all the best to you!

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