Passion for Nursing but have disfigured fingers

  1. 2
    Hi All!

    I am a senior at a top 20 university that has always been passionate about healthcare, but especially nursing. However, I reluctantly let go of my dream to be a nurse because I was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome.
    Amniotic Band Syndrome has left me with disfigured fingers and while I have never had any difficulty carrying out any activities, I am unsure about many things such as:

    1.) Will I be able to give injections? My fingers and hands have a pretty strong grip, however my fingers are only 2-3 inches long. My ultimate goal is to be in bedside nursing in a hospital. I am meeting with the dean of nursing at my local cc to discuss the injection part and hopefully I can meet with a clinical instructor at the school and assess whether I can give injections/insert IVs.

    2.) Getting a job in general. Given that the job market is so tight and saturated, why would anyone want to hire me when there are other nurses that can perform all duties?

    3.) Will patients feel uncomfortable with my hands? Will management or colleagues feel that I am a liability?

    At this point, I will still put in applications into PT school, but I still have such a strong desire to be a nurse. Is it realistic?
    Thank you so much for your help!
    mama.RN and poppycat like this.
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  3. 26 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I work with a person who was born with disfigured fingers. On one hand he has 2 fingers (2 fingers fused together and the other 2 w/the thumb fused making two abnormally large/wide fingers and the don't bend very well, if at all). The other hand has 5 fingers but they aren't shaped in the 'normal' way and are on the smaller side.

    He's a floor nurse and does quite well. So he was able to go through school and obtain employment as a floor nurse. He is capable of doing everything that we nurses with 5 fingers on each hand are able to do. Our patients are elderly and most have lost the 'filter' on their mouths...meaning they say what they feel/see regardless of whether or not it maybe insensitive. I've only heard of one resident who made a nasty comment..something along the lines of "I didn't order seafood, why is a lobster here'. He's made very nasty comments to basically everyone he comes into contact with. One little 'flaw' on a person and he's all over it. So to me he's (the resident) not really treating the nurse any differently than the others, he just saw that nurses flaw and zoned in.

    None of his co-workers feel he is a liability. If there is something he can't do for whatever reason he will seek out assistance and receives it without anyone feeling put out about it.

    Until you try, you will never know if you can or cannot manage some skills. Will patients all be fine with your hand/fingers, probably not but those are the same people who find fault with anyone.

    I wish you the best!
    poppycat likes this.
  5. 1
    Thank you so much CT Pixie!

    I have been searching for any role models in nursing that could have a semblance of the same deformity that I have and it is such a relief to know that there are nurses like your coworker that have gotten through schools and have successful nursing careers. Seriously, I cannot thank you enough! I have been worrying incessantly.
    CT Pixie likes this.
  6. 1
    I just wanted to chime in to second what the above poster said and to say go for it if nursing is what you want to do! I think that you would be able to perform nursing-specific tasks once you get used to them, just as you perform tasks in day to day life. I'm sure there are plenty of things you do every day without even thinking about it. I think that nursing tasks would get to be the same way once you have done them enough times.
    rednotebook likes this.
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    There is no reason you can't be a nurse! If you want to practice injections go buy a few oranges, go to a local feed store and get syringes and needles of different sizes..you can practice drawing up water from a cup & injecting into the orange. Injections are a part of nursing but there is a lot more to it as I'm sure you know.
    Yes, you will get a job..depending on the market of course, but your hands will not be an issue.
    Patients may ask about your hands but that's ok - it's a way to educate people on your condition as well as other staff.
    Go for it!
    rednotebook and laceym like this.
  8. 0
    Update: I saw the dean of nursing at my local community college and she watched me work with syringes and IVs. She is cautiously optimistic that I won't have trouble in the future. I am so surprised I can do it! In my head, working with needles seemed really hard, but when I actually used them, it was really doable!

    However, the dean brought up two concerns:
    1. Procuring gloves that fit. I have been searching for a manufacturing that can make custom medical gloves for my hands. Does anyone know of any resources?
    2. If patients will feel comfortable under my care. This one bothered me a little, but she has a point. I don't want to make sick patients feel uncomfortable, but I don't know what to think. Nursing is a huge goal for me.
  9. 0
    Glad to see that you got a chance to work with some equipment and that it went well. As far as the dean's concern about gloves, I think that you may want to just try working with different sized gloves made by different manufacturers and see if there is one that fits you better somehow than others. You will go through thousands of gloves. I could be wrong, but I think it will just be too expensive of an undertaking I think to go the route of trying to get custom made disposable gloves. Maybe call some medical supply places that you find online and see if they'll send you samples of gloves.....As far as the dean's concern about patients feeling comfortable under your care, I understand that that would have bothered you as it's an awful thing to hear and for her to say. I really feel she shouldn't have brought that up as it is not a valid concern. You will have the knowledge and skills that you need to take care of patients. It's a very superficial way of the dean to be looking at things, and I don't think you should give that "concern" another thought. Once you're a nurse, you'll have patients that'll not notice or not care, some might ask questions because it is interesting and they want to know more, a few might be ignorant and make rude comments (but they would do that to anyone), but overall I think it will be not much different from what you may encounter every day right now.
  10. 1
    I instantly thought of Jen Klein off of "The little couple" when I read your post. I know her difference and handicap isn't just pertaining to her hands but she is 3'2 and a very well respected NICU doctor at the Texas Children's Hospital and I would think if she can overcome all the obstacles that goes along with surpassing all that she has that you could also become a very respectable and educated RN. I think as long as you can demonstrate your skills and knowledge patients will not care if your hands are different.
    rednotebook likes this.
  11. 1
    I thought you might like this article about a nurse with one hand. inMotion: Am I "Handicapped"? Nursing With One Hand

    I worked as a rehab nurse in a wheelchair up until last December. A few of the management (office-type) people were disturbed by it, but my patients thought it was great that I was in the chair and still worked full-time, and my coworkers were very cool with it.

    I'd like to give you this link for Exceptional Nurses. http://exceptionalnurse.com/ You may find some useful things there. I haven't looked around it much, but it seems pretty nice.
    rednotebook likes this.
  12. 0
    Hi CT Pixie!

    I have a question about your coworker. How does he use gloves? I have nine fingers that are pretty stunted and when I wear size small gloves, they are still too large and have a lot of extra space in the digit areas. The reason I ask is because, I talked to an RN that is the Dean of Nursing at my CC and she really wanted me to try to find a way to have "gloves that are skin tight so that they are more sterile."


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