Ways to build up tolerance

  1. Hey all!

    I am wanting opinions on building up tolerance to things we are about to see in nursing school and or A&P etc... I tried an anatomy site to look at disection pictures.

    I guess mainly I am wondering if this can be done? Can you train yourself not to have a weak stomach? I am a mommy so inevitably, I have seen my fair share of poop, blood, cuts, etc...
    I know this is no where near the things I am about to embark upon, but I was hoping to get some advice in this area. Can you train yourself not to get grossed out? I hate the thought of gagging or puking on my lab partner. :roll

    Thanks,
    JEN
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   colleen10
    Hi Jenny,

    I really think, that like anything else, the more you are exposed to the blood and guts the more used to it you will get and it won't be bothersome.

    I watch a lot of those medical shows like Maternity Ward, Life in the ER, and some of the shows where they perform and explain operations. It doesn't seem to bother me that much however, clinicals will be the true testament to my theory.

    I remember when I went to and worked at Penn States Ag. Farms. We had one cow that would prolapse every couple weeks. At first I was totally freaked out by it all but after a while it really didn't bother me and after a few times I was even able to stand with the vet and watch him perform the procedure to get everything in back in place.

    Although I am sure there are some things that you never get used to for the better part I'm sure you won't have many problems.

    Good Luck!

    Col
  4. by   Mkue
    I agree with Colleen
  5. by   sfsn
    In my experience, when you're taking care of a patient or actually involved in their care, things just don't seem as disgusting. You're focused on them as a person, their problem, etc., and you just look at it differently. Plus, when you've got a task that you're working on and you're focused on it, you can kind of tune out the yucky stuff.

    Anyone else feel the same way?
  6. by   TeresaRN2b
    Hey that's a really good idea. It's funny because certain things about nursing don't phase me at all. Shots, drawing blood, bandages, no problem. My oldest son is diabetic so I give shots al the time. I've dealt with bandages and I've worked as a phlebotomist. But, I really have a weak stomach when it comes to surgery and watching someone get cut open. I think I will start watching more surgery and medical shows on TV. I hadn't even thought of that. I usually avoid them, but I think I will add that to my list of things to help prepare me for school. Thanks for the great tip!

    Teresa
  7. by   Vsummer1
    Originally posted by sfsn
    In my experience, when you're taking care of a patient or actually involved in their care, things just don't seem as disgusting. You're focused on them as a person, their problem, etc., and you just look at it differently. Plus, when you've got a task that you're working on and you're focused on it, you can kind of tune out the yucky stuff.

    Anyone else feel the same way?
    I feel this way too. I haven't seen a lot yet, but what I have seen it was more like, okay here is the problem let's fix it.

    Exept for the colostomy bag -- I had a hard time NOT gagging but did make it out of the pts eyesight when I inevitably did the dry heave. It was more the smell than the thought of it though. That is a smell like no other.
  8. by   JennyRN2B
    Hey guys!
    Thanks for all of the great replies. As Always! I am enrolling in good ol A&P on Monday! I will let you know how it works out with the cat! :roll My goal: to not gag or barf on my partner!

    talk with you soon,
    Jen
  9. by   sjoe
    You might find it useful, as well, to buy and complete "The Anatomy Coloring Book." When you are more familiar with all that stuff inside, your intellect and curiosity have a larger role to play, your mental context is larger than it is with just your immediate emotional/aesthetic response.

    (The next time I design a life form, it won't be quite so messy. That's one of the advantages of robots.)
  10. by   luluann
    Blood, urine, bm, pus...I am fine with all of those, but give me someone vomiting or coughing up phlegm and I am ready to heave right next to them. I am going to have a MAJOR problem with those 2 things. Just the sight of phlegm makes me gag!!!
  11. by   MidwifeWannaB
    I have a feeling I will have problems with injections. I'm so afraid of hurting someone. If any of y'all have read "Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse" by Echo Heron, the section where they learn to give IM injections is probably going to be repeated when I learn. However, I'm trying very hard to be optimistic. I've also started watching when I get injections, whereas in the past I couldn't. Any suggestions?
  12. by   CarolineRn
    Injections are actually kinda gratifying. If you do it correctly, 9 out of 10 pt's won't feel it.

    I work in surgery, and have scrubbed in on cases where I use both hands to move bowels outs of the Dr's way. I have held a beating heart, I have helped yank a uterus out, I have pulled necrotic tissue off a belly, I have held a tumorous breast mass in my hands, I have manuvered joints in unnatural positions, I have done the most unreal and some would say discusting things imaginable. Just today I assisted on a BKA. The hardest past is being the circulator and taking the leg off the field.

    Yet nothing makes me gag like being on the floors and cleaning what we in the OR call a "code brown." I had children. Their nasty diapers never made me blink or bat an eye. But you take a 150-200 pound adult, and give them a healthy dose of golightly and I'm trying REALLY hard not to let them hear or see me gag. This is one of the reasons I HATE clinicals! No offense to the med-surg nurses out there, but my GOD how and WHY do ya'll do it?? There are so many specialties these medical detectives (that's what med-surg RN's ARE) could excel in. The only thing attractive about being a med-surg nurse is that you can REALLY gain an understanding of pathology, and that you get to have real patient interaction. We miss most of that in the OR, and I suspect many other specialties miss it as well.

    Nevertheless, Blood and guts and sawing bone is no match for **** and sputum in the gag dept. Blood's purty and guts are no grosser than skinning a chicken. Even the smell of a bovie searing flesh is less gag inducing than an impacted 79 year old. Unless, of course, the flesh is gangrenous. Then, we all fight over the spearmint.:chuckle

    Bottom line, if you look at the body scientifically, and take it from there, you really shouldn't be grossed out. It's a wonderous sight to behold.
  13. by   YOKIE
    I totally agree with CarolineRN! I haven't made it into nursing school yet BUT I work in a heart surgeons office in Billing. Just last Monday I had the opportunity to go to a Bypass Surgery and a AVR. This was my personal test to see if I could "handle" being a nurse. Well, I passed my test with flying colors!!! I was soo shocked at how calm and completely interested I was. Even my doctor and the entire OR staff was surprised, they kept asking me if I felt faint or maybe needed to sit down. I was soo OK with the whole thing! I even came home and told my husband that if I was 18 and had saw that I would totally be going to school to be a surgeon! Keep in mind...I only work in BILLING, never have seen blood or BIG HUGH CUTS in my life, except for last Monday.

    I think you'll be surprised at how much you can really "take" if you have to!!
  14. by   emily_mom
    BREATHE THROUGH YOUR MOUTH....

    best advice I can give ya!


    Good luck!!!

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