New nurse with arthritis in knees

  1. Hi all:
    I have early onset arthritis in knees from old sports injuries. I know what you're thinking, why would you consider nursing!!?? I went into nursing with intent of getting a job in integrative medicine. I need to get that new grad experience before moving forward in my career, and need IV skills. I graduate in May (yay!) and I am looking for advice as to what unit and shift will enable me to get "rest" periods from running around all day. For example, would night shift be better for me? Or where can I chart or monitor more?

    I look forward to hearing about your experiences! I can't be the only nurse with bum knees. Thank you! Look forward to your responses.
    Last edit by NewRN2017 on Mar 16, '17
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    About NewRN2017

    Joined: Mar '17; Posts: 3


  3. by   Ruby Vee
    You're not the only nurse with bum knees, although mine are titanium now. I went to permanent nights becasue it was so much easier on my knees . . . you get time to sit down to chart, and you aren't always in the "public" eye of visitors. I was able to elevate my legs for a few minutes at a time, which helped. I also learned to take the time to sit whenever I could. Didn't usually ambulate patients or run with them across the hospital to a test. As far as what unit -- pick one with adults, although not necessarily a huge geriatric population. (If you're going to be ambulating a patient or helping them to the bathroom, you want them to be able to bear most of their own weight and you don't want someone sundowning on you.) Don't say anything to your colleagues about your knee problems until they get to know you and accept you as a team member. Someone who is always complaining about their sore knees is apt to be viewed as a potential malingerer even if they're anything but.
  4. by   NewRN2017
    Thanks for your response Ruby! Even now as a student, only my closest friends are aware that I have bad knees. Now that graduation is getting closer, I am a little scared that what if I am literally unable to hold a job because I cannot bear the pain day after day. Thank you again for your response, I truly appreciate it. Best of luck with your new knees! I hope they will serve you well
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    My new knees aren't as flexible as the old ones were pre-arthritis but I don't have the pain that I used to have, either. It's an incredible life-changer.

    Don't borrow trouble. You're almost finished with your education, you haven't got your first job yet. You may be able to manage just fine. I worked bedside for forty years, only 18 months of that with my new knees. There were days I went home in tears because of the pain and on a few memorable occaisions, my husband brought me a Percocet and sat with me on our front stoop until the pain receded enough that I could walk up the stairs and into our three level townhouse. But most of the time, I got by. You aren't planning four decades at the bedside; you're planning to get some experience and move away from the bedside for what are very legitimate reasons. (I notice you're not complaining about the necessity to actually touch patients before moving away from the bedside!). You may even find that the bedside calls to you and that you can manage the knee pain.

    I hope you have a rheumatologist with whom you are working and can prescribe non-narcotic pain relief for you. Some days you'll need it more than others. And Physical Therapy helps, too. Even if it is chronic pain, every now and again I'd experience a flare-up and PT helped calm it down. In the latter stages, when I couldn't get a parking permit to park close to work, I parked in the visitor's garage and just paid for it. I didn't want to waste what little "OOMPH" I had walking to and from the garage; I wanted to use it at work. Between all the coping strategies, I coped. You can, too.
  6. by   Nhvattum
    I'm so glad I found this post! I work in a mental health hospital while I'm going to school. One month ago, there was an incident at work, and I came out of it with a tibial plateau fracture. I had to have a plate and 5 screws permanently put in, and my doctor told me that I'll have arthritis in that knee within the next few years.

    I was halfway through my last prerequisite for nursing school when I was injured. Do you think nursing is still a good option for me? I am 27 years old, and I don't really want to spend the time and money on nursing school if I am just going to end up suffering at work for the rest of my career. What do you think?
  7. by   NewRN2017
    Nhvattum, I am so sorry for your accident. But DO NOT let it interfere with your journey into a nursing career. You may get arthritis, however, that will be in the future, like your doctor said, "years". My injury was initially in 1996 with first surgery in 1997. Mine has been a long time coming. I encourage you to continue moving forward, get your many, many years of experience in and at that point you will still be young, yet experienced, and you can decide it you want to be an educator, advance your career as an NP or whatever it is you want.

    But please accept this advice from me, continue to strengthen your legs. Never stop rehabilitating. Try doing something new, too, like hot yoga. This will help you more than you know as you do get older.

    Glad you found this post, too. I have been searching for a long time for a post like this. It's assuring to me to hear how other people are pushing past obstacles or how they are dealing with them. Hopefully more people will comment, too will their experience with 'bum knees'. Good luck!!! You got this.