Overweight issues; uncomfortable with being practiced on by another student

  1. 1
    Hi Everyone,

    I am a very overweight nursing student, and am feeling uncomfortable in a number of situations. Can anyone relate? While I know that the nursing profession, and the medical profession as a whole, includes people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors, etc, I am coming across situations almost daily that make me uncomfortable.

    I have been overweight my entire life. I've lost weight several times, but it has always crept back on. I have been working with a dietician and a counselor for a while now to work on my weight issues. I'm accepting of who I am, but I'm also sensitive about weight issues.

    Since starting school, I have come across the following problems: assigned uniforms did not fit properly, I do not fit well in some of the chairs that have "desks" attached to them, the blood pressure cuffs do not fit and the school did not have large adult cuffs available. We are getting to the point of using each other as patients, and this is very uncomfortable for me. We had to change into a gown recently and another student had to do a skin assessment on me, going over my entire body and documenting everything from freckles to scars to stretch marks. Had I realized that this is how labs would be, I likely would not have chosen this school. While I am okay with being a patient in a professional setting, being a patient for a classmate feels inappropriate.

    Has anyone else come across similar problems?

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
    Joe V likes this.
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  4. 30 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    I am in the same situation. Overweight and a nursing student = lots of embarrassing situations. I also don't fit well into my uniform and feel very uncomfortable wearing it. The blood pressure cuffs also don't fit my arms. The only difference in our situation is my lecturers are lovely and don't ever make me pair up or be a volunteer if I'm uncomfortable. I feel really self conscious even being a nurse due to my weight. I'm supposed to educate my patients on health?? Working hard on losing weight at the moment so I can be the best nurse I can be
    moonchild86 and hgrimmett like this.
  6. 7
    I can relate! We're just getting started with all of this, but I've already started looking at it this way: It's humbling me. I will always remember how uncomfortable I'm feeling now when I'm working with my patients. I will remember to do everything I can to make them as comfortable as possible, even in the situations where that really isn't possible. I'm also trying to remember that this is allowing my fellow students (who will some day be my coworkers and peers) to hopefully learn compassion about working with an overweight patient.

    If you continue to truly feel uncomfortable, speak with your professor and see what options and advice she may have available for you. My lab partner is someone who is also overweight, and that helps me feel more comfortable, too.
    malamud69, RNam, RunnerRN2b2014, and 4 others like this.
  7. 1
    Yep. I have had to get my uniforms altered to fit me better. I don't feel so bad with that, only because the lady who does them is a big lady herself And you have to look close to realize my uniforms are altered. Last semester i couldn't go to the OR because their biggest scrubs didn't fit. OMG embarrassing! The hospital I am at for L&D, they ordered bigger scrubs for me and I still have to stuff myself in, but by gosh I did because I wasn't gonna miss out on a c-section yesterday! I seem to always get paired with the smallest person in the class too. i often wonder if they do it on purpose In our fundamentals class we also had to do the assessments, but not until our last lab, and i was comfortable enough with the other 2 girls that I was ok with them seeing me without my top on. I am a big girl, but am not overly ashamed of my body. If I am comfortable with you I will change in the locker room with you, stuff like that. And if you make fun of me because of my weight, then really, you don't belong in nursing school!
    hgrimmett likes this.
  8. 0
    I'm not terribly overweight, and I was seriously uncomfortable just with vitals. Thank God we don't have to practice bed baths and things like that on each other. We get to use the manekins for that. I'm not uncomfortable at all with nurses when I am the patient. But I'm really not ok with being in that position with one of my peers.
  9. 0
    Im overweight and I do feel like my uniform is a tighter fit. I have a health condition that makes losing weight extremely hard, but I do try to do as well as I can.
    We do have to practice on each other but nothing that is skin to skin or anything like that so it's not too bad.
    Our hospitals have all sizes of scrubs and we have our own scrubs for some places so that helps.
  10. 2
    When I was in school many moons ago, I was about a foot taller than my classmates, and I weighed close to 400# (think linebacker). I was also the only openly gay student in my class, although I didn't broadcast it. I was a little self-conscious for a lot of reasons, but I began to be more comfortable when I realized that my prospective patients often have feelings just like mine, especially when they have some physical difference. My eventual mastery of those feelings would help me relate to my patients, and I think you will be able to relate better to your patients, too.
    moonchild86 and DawnJ like this.
  11. 0
    Not overweight, but just had female surgery that has me needing lots of um...protection down below. I'm very self conscious about it so practicing finding pulses I sort of shied away from being practiced on for femoral pulses. I don't think it was noticed since I normally allow anyone to practice any thing they need to on me, even if it is popliteal pulses and I didn't shave my legs lol.
  12. 1
    I just want to share my experience so far with you. I am a fluffy person and I like you have been all my life. It does make me feel uncomfortable at times but then think of it this way. Not every patient we have is going to be small, many people are overweight and we are going to have to provide care for them as well. I think a lot of it has to do with you being comfortable in your own skin. Instead of seeing it as an issue, see it as another learning experience for those in your class. keep your chin up too because we are in school to be nurses and we are going to make it!
    Red35 likes this.
  13. 1
    Quote from molybdenum
    Hi Everyone,I am a very overweight nursing student, and am feeling uncomfortable in a number of situations. Can anyone relate? While I know that the nursing profession, and the medical profession as a whole, includes people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors, etc, I am coming across situations almost daily that make me uncomfortable.I have been overweight my entire life. I've lost weight several times, but it has always crept back on. I have been working with a dietician and a counselor for a while now to work on my weight issues. I'm accepting of who I am, but I'm also sensitive about weight issues.Since starting school, I have come across the following problems: assigned uniforms did not fit properly, I do not fit well in some of the chairs that have "desks" attached to them, the blood pressure cuffs do not fit and the school did not have large adult cuffs available. We are getting to the point of using each other as patients, and this is very uncomfortable for me. We had to change into a gown recently and another student had to do a skin assessment on me, going over my entire body and documenting everything from freckles to scars to stretch marks. Had I realized that this is how labs would be, I likely would not have chosen this school. While I am okay with being a patient in a professional setting, being a patient for a classmate feels inappropriate.Has anyone else come across similar problems? Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
    I am a current nursing student and in our class we have had some personal issues between instructors and their crude remarks towards overweight students that were completely uncalled for. I try to work with a different number and size partner each time. You never know what you are going to find out there in the actual field. Most of America is labeled overweight to some degree. Look at yourself not as overweight but as a learn opportunity for students who want a diverse learning field!
    AlishiaRN77 likes this.


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