Do the squeamish survive?

  1. I have to make a final decision about taking classes toward an ADN (classes start in January.) When it comes to needles, blood, and trauma situations, I'm very apprehensive. Is this normal for someone who wants to make nursing a career? I've read the advise about getting a CNA to test the waters before going to nursing school, but I don't think this will give me the actual hands-on training I need to get over this uneasiness. Also, if I wait any longer, it'll be another year before the next nursing program starts at the local universities.

    I was a Candystriper many years ago (took temps, bp, helped set casts, even carried a few bed pans) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've kicked the idea around for a number of years, and it's either now or never (I'm 42!) I desparately need some advice - positive and negative. Am I just dreaming, or do other pre-nursing students go through this uncertainty?
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   Zee_RN
    As a student, the first time I watched a nurse insert an IV into a screaming 90-year-old woman, I nearly passed out. Same again with the first NG insertion I witnessed (again, a moaning elderly woman). And the first central line insertion as a student...and the first central line insertion as an RN (I had to leave the room with the excuse that I had to sneeze and didn't want to contaminate the sterile field--went to the BR and hung my head between my knees and took long, deep breaths!). Now, five years later, I work in Intensive Care and calmly undertake many, many invasive procedures that would have left my shaking in my shoes previously. Yes, you can overcome squeamishness...but it takes practice and perserverance! Good luck; it's worth the effort.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    One fine nurse I had the pleasure of working with was 62 when she earned her RN. She had wanted to be a nurse as a girl starting nursing school after she was widowed. She worked ten years and is now alive and well in her nineties! She plans to participate in the MNM.
    It is a very complicated decision but nursing has a lot of rewards as well as problems. After almost thirty years I have wonderful relationships, I only wish it weren't so hectic because we are always in a hurry.(And many places are unsafe). We are working to change these things.
    If you start school you will learn a lot and hopefully become a fellow nurse. If not it will not be wasted time. It has to be your decision.
  5. by   NurseJenn
    Just a reminder, if nursing is what you really want to do, there are many areas of nursing in the world. You might want to check into them, and see if you find something your interested in. Not everything involves blood and guts!!
  6. by   JillR
    I think we all have things we are squeemish about. Vomit drives me crazy, I have always and will probably always have a problem with it. Even with my children I retch the whole time I am cleaning it up. But somehow I get through it.

    Open fractures make me squeemish too but on a different level, because usually when I presented with one it is in the field as an EMT and if the EMT can't handle it, who is going to? So I just have trained myself to look beyond it for the moment and do what I have to and it works out okay. Usually it's the patients asking is it broken? and I say oh yes it is definately broken. and they ask how do you know? That is what bothers me most, can't they feel it? And then you hope to god they can feel it? It is stuff like that that goes through my mind that bothers me the most.

    Okay I am getting way off the subject. I was trying to say that you usually can get over things that make you squeemish when confronted with them enough times.
  7. by   ArleneD
    These responses are just the shot in the arm - LOL - that I was hoping to get. I watched the trauma show on t.v. last night filmed at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. I tried to imagine myself at the gurney with everyone just to see if I would go eeewwww! I know it sounds stupid, but I think I really want to do this. I've read all the things Nursedude and other veterans have written, but I'm still thinking of going for it. Thanks for your comments everyone!
  8. by   Mijourney
    Hi Arlene. Actually, I get queasy attempting to watch TLC or discovery channel when the various graphic medical shows come on. Somehow in nursing school, I managed to witness many "gross" scenarios without losing my appetite. The problem I had was hearing the beeping sounds of infusion machines, telemetry, or respirators in my sleep. Arlene, if you decide to go into nursing and are able to graduate, I hope that you will take the time to find your niche. So many nurses, get into a "secure" spot, but not something that is necessarily for them, and then they find themselves very unhappy and frustrated. If you decide that you just want to work with people in health care, one area you can consider is social work. Someone under another topic gave this as a good alternative to someone who was queasy around certain things. Best wishes.
  9. by   Jay-Jay
    Yes, the squeamish DO survive! The first time I had to change a dirty adult diaper as a nursing student, my partner ran out of the room gagging! I thought to myself, what'smatter, don't you have pets or younger brothers or sisters at home that you've had to clean up after? Anyway, she got used to it, and managed to graduate.

    I was at a wound care conference recently, and just before lunch, they were showing all these lovely photos of stage 3 pressure sores. I had to turn away from the screen. Then I noticed a nurse at the table next to me had her head down on the table, and behind me, a male nurse was sitting with his head between his knees...These were all experienced nurses, too, not students! Somehow, when the wound is part of a living breathing body, it's easier to handle, because you're looking at the whole person.
    I went into nursing late in life, and graduated at the age of 42, so it can be done! If you think it's the right thing for you, go for it! The only place you're likely to see lots of blood is in the ER, or the OR, so you can avoid those two areas if it upsets you.
  10. by   USA987
    Arlene,

    Yes, the squimish can survive! You never can be certain how things will affect you until you experience them first hand. You may surprise yourself. During clinicals I had the opportunity to view open heart surgery and an amputation. I changed some very large, deep decubitus ulcer dressings. And of course, cleaned up many "messes". None of the above bothered me. But then I MET MY MATCH...cataract surgery!!!! Don't know why, but it made me queezy and gave me the creeps!
    Best wishes to you!
  11. by   ArleneD
    Originally posted by USA987:
    Arlene,

    Yes, the squimish can survive! You never can be certain how things will affect you until you experience them first hand. You may surprise yourself. During clinicals I had the opportunity to view open heart surgery and an amputation. I changed some very large, deep decubitus ulcer dressings. And of course, cleaned up many "messes". None of the above bothered me. But then I MET MY MATCH...cataract surgery!!!! Don't know why, but it made me queezy and gave me the creeps!
    Best wishes to you!
    You did all that and couldn't take cateract surgery? Go figure! This venture should be interesting to say the least. Best wishes on your BSN, USA987.

  12. by   rncountry
    First time I dropped an NG I gagged worse than the patient did! You get through it and after awhile it is really no big deal, and you talk about things at the dinner table, until someone in your family reminds you that they think it is gross! Best of Luck
  13. by   Mona
    In nursing school at the beginning of each clinical semester, I would run to the bathroom after preconference and cry due to fear of the unknown!! And for almost a year I dodged needles, flat out refused to give shots. Let me just say it took alot of support from my fellow students (and a really sedated patient) to go through with my first injection. I remember shaking so bad that my instructor had to steady my hands. BUT THAT'S HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still don't like to give shots, but I definitely have it together now. It may sound a bit sick, but I actually enjoy the challenge of venipuncture. Most people learn to deal with it. Good Luck!!!!
  14. by   goose
    Yes, eventually you get your sealegs. When I was in nursing school, the very first surgical procedure I saw was a C-Section. I don't remember much of it, because I found a wall behind me and slid to the floor!!! Several OR nurses had to take me out of the OR suite on a stretcher. (How embarrassing) Guess what my specialty of nursing I have been in for the majority of my nursing career? OR circulatory/scrub!!! Go For It and Welcome.

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