Lupus and nursing school/work

  1. My doctor's office just called and I had a positive ANA test, increased SED rate, protein in the urine, and decreased platelets, which all point to Lupus. I've suspected this diagnosis for a long time d/t tremendous joint pain, hair loss, random unexplained fevers, and some other things. So now I don't know if I'm happy to have an answer or scared because of what it it. I have an appointment with a rheumatologist for further testing and treatment options. But I guess I'm wondering how this might affect me as a nurse? I was previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia (which may not be the case now). I am currently working 12 hour shifts on Friday, Saturday, Sunday as a CNA and by Sunday night I can barely walk and Monday morning I am miserable sore and it takes me several hours to be able to walk upright. I have clinicals on Monday and Tuesday evenings and class Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so I don't have any days off. It will be almost a month before I see the rheumie, but I'm wondering if I should talk to my boss about cutting down to 2 days a week for the sake of my long-term health. Should I wait and see what the rheumie says so I have something more official to take to my boss or should I go ahead and talk to him? Do you think most managers would understand that without having something in writing from a dr? My manager is pretty understanding and helpful, but I feel bad because the 1st of November we're expanding our floor by 6 beds but we aren't staffed for it yet. I want to work on this floor when I graduate, so I don't want to do something that would keep him from hiring me as a nurse. How do you take care of yourself while still pursuing your dreams????? Do you think lupus would affect my nursing career?
    My head is still racing from hearing the lab results, so I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense!
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   jov
    [quote=LanaBanana] I am currently working 12 hour shifts on Friday, Saturday, Sunday as a CNA and by Sunday night I can barely walk and Monday morning I am miserable sore and it takes me several hours to be able to walk upright. ... Do you think lupus would affect my nursing career?
    quote]
    Will lupus affect your nursing career? Of course. It has already affected your CNA career. If you are now to the point where you can barely walk and it takes hours to walk upright, I don't see what you think will change to make it better, not worse.
    If you cut down your hours because of your health, will it affect your chances to work on the floor as a nurse? Yes. It's obvious your body can't handle the stress you are putting on it. Adding more hours and running your body into the ground is the last thing you should do with any disease, much less an autoimmune disease. Plus it isn't fair to your manager to expect him to hire someone who can't do the job. It doesn't matter what your blood tests show or your rheumie says. Your symptoms are incompatible with the job demands.
    There are plenty of us who have dreams derailed. Not only jobs but marriages, children, lives and deaths. After acceptance, comes resolution. Joseph Campbell said, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
    There's a special place in the world for you somewhere but it obviously isn't working as a floor nurse.
  4. by   kukukajoo
    Lana Hang in there! Think positive, you now have a name to the disorder that has been wreacking havoc on your system and can begin treatments to help decrease symptoms!

    As far as school, talk to your doctor about it. If the program is not too rigorous I am sure you can make it! I am suffering with a yet unnamed disorder (most like chronic Valley Fever) that has derailed me a bit but I got back on track and am there to stay if I have any say about it!

    One of the best things about Nursing is there is SO MANY types of jobs you can do! You can work as an office Nurse, School Nurse and even do insurance assessments as you feel able!! I am sure there are many many others out there that are not as strenuous as other types of nursing.

    Just find your niche and what you love and you will make it happen!

    Prayers to you and wishes for the best!
  5. by   rehab nurse
    lana ,

    i have lupus, have had it for almost 6 years (been dx'd anyways). i feel i've had it for more.
    i was dx after school, and have had a lot of issues with working. it's possible if you are treated good, but you have to find what your body can handle. there are jobs out there you will be able to do, but i can tell you, you don't want to push your body too far. it will revenge with an attitude...lol!
    feel free to pm me if you want more info. i don't mind sharing my story.
    also, i did work with another nurse who had lupus, she actually had more organ involvement that I do.
    good luck to you.

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