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Arthritis and Bedside Nursing?

Posted

Specializes in PACU. Has 8 years experience.

It has taken me 12 years to finally become an RN, all part time, taking care of kids and dying parents.

I am finally here, and have always wanted to work in the hospital.  I am worried I won’t be able to keep up.  Just turned 50, and recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  I feel so depressed right now.  Two full 8 hr days back to back in clinic leave me recovering for 2 days.  I am bored with clinic work, phone triage.  
 

How are you over 50 nurses handling beside?  Can it be done? Are nights less running than day shift?  
 

Thank you!

 

DavidFR, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

Think of your health!

I'm 57 and had a stroke in 2019, thankfully with no decifits other than a mild occular-motor slowness. I was thrombolysed quickly whch saved me from the worst. I'm also hypertensive with a mild cardiac hypertrophy. I manage night duty at the bedside doing 3 12s 19h-7h, but with age it is gettng more tiring and I'm crossing off the days to retirement. Could possibly cope wth office hours but would not do days on a hospital floor. My day colleagues start at 6h45 - forget that!

My ex-nurse husband has rheumatoid artritis and Sjögren's Syndome and had to give up work in his 40s. My advice is try every treatment possible (methotrexate, anti-TNF, rituximab) - and be a junky with your pain killers, especially paracetamol. He was relatvely well for about 10 years before really deteriorating and havng to give up. Cymbalta has helped both with pain and depression.

Whilst it may be heartbreaking to give up the career you love if your health dictates it to listen to your body. Giving up was the best decision my husband made for his own well-being. I hope you've got some working  years left yet but adequate rest on your days off and good nutrition are both vital with an arthritic condition.

I wish you you the best of luck.

 

12 hour shifts in the hospital are going to be rough if 8 in a clinic are hard.  Getting ready to do my third 12 and I’m tired.  And I don’t have any health issues.  
 

It takes me a full day to recover.

freesia29, ADN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 8 years experience.

Thanks for replying.  My clinic days run around 14000 steps.  I imagine that is what floor nursing would be?  When I precepted in the ED, I was averaging 12000-13000.  

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

20 hours ago, freesia29 said:

Thanks for replying.  My clinic days run around 14000 steps.  I imagine that is what floor nursing would be?  When I precepted in the ED, I was averaging 12000-13000.  

Every floor is going to be different. But with inpatient nursing you're not only going to be doing all those steps, you'll also be turning patients, rolling patients, moving/re-positioning frequently, helping boost in bed, helping ambulate to the bathroom or on the bedpan, etc.

On 7/18/2021 at 10:15 PM, freesia29 said:

Thanks for replying.  My clinic days run around 14000 steps.  I imagine that is what floor nursing would be?  When I precepted in the ED, I was averaging 12000-13000.  

My shift the other day I had close to 17k steps in.  But it’s just not that.  It’s the turning, the boosting, the ambulating.  The boosting is the worst on my body.  Hopefully your inpatient unit would have lifts, but many don’t.  

I'm right behind you in age and have joint problems and there is no way I could do acute floor nursing now.  When I did work the floor, not only did I do all of the lifting/repositioning mentioned above, but also moving patients in the beds (heavy & awkward!), moving heavy equipment, all of the reaching/bending and squeezing between equipment would just kill me now.  I used to have to roll patients with one arm while doing wound care with the other arm.  Lifts are great but there is often not time to use them properly.  Those years of being a CNA + floor RN in my younger years probably contributed to my joint problems now.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

I try to be encouraging when I can but I'm coming up short.  I got out of bedside nursing just before I turned 50.  My blood pressure was getting harder to control and minor orthopedic injuries weren't healing because they were constantly being exacerbated.

I really can't imagine starting bedside nursing with chronic conditions that make clinic nursing challenging. 

I hope you can find a position the provides some dream fulfillment that's physically doable.  Good luck.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

The clinic sounds like it is not perfect, but at least doable.

Over 50 bedside is fairly rare in my unit. At 48, I am often the oldest person there. Bedside is possible for me because I work only 12-24 hours a week, and I have absolutely no health issues. 

Maybe ask to shadow in a hospital floor. As a new person, you are likely to start out on nights, which has its drawbacks. Clinic is often where older nurses go when bedside hospital nursing becomes too physically difficult. 

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

My over-50 bedside coworkers had been doing it awhile and were traveling on momentum.  They were also putting kids through college.

The retirement parties generally happened the weekend after the graduation party.

Breezey, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

Hi RNPERDIEM,

   I am a nurse at 55 yo, it took me 11yrs 2 months to get RN BSN. I received RN at 50 yo and BSN at 53 yo. I also have bilateral dorsal pedal arthritis with cysts. I am currently a veritable private duty nurse with a company call Aveanna, they are nation wide. Though the are a pediatric healthcare agency, they do have young adult/adult clients. I work with trached and vented pts, so I still use my nursing skills but also get many chances to get off my feet. The pay is not as good as hospitals but benefit are competitive to hospitals. This may be an option for you. Good luck with everything.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

On 7/19/2021 at 3:40 PM, JadedCPN said:

Every floor is going to be different. But with inpatient nursing you're not only going to be doing all those steps, you'll also be turning patients, rolling patients, moving/re-positioning frequently, helping boost in bed, helping ambulate to the bathroom or on the bedpan, etc.

Yes to all this. Bending, stooping, lifting, pulling, pushing. It's about a lot more than steps. Also, night shift is very often harder as we get older. I quit that in my early 40s when it was literally making me crazy. I could not get enough sleep and it took me at least a day or two to recover only to start it all over again. I don't recommend bedside for you OP, based on these things.

HarleyvQuinn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Military, ER/Trauma, Psych, Post-Partum, Med-Surg. Has 12 years experience.

On 7/19/2021 at 6:40 PM, JadedCPN said:

Every floor is going to be different. But with inpatient nursing you're not only going to be doing all those steps, you'll also be turning patients, rolling patients, moving/re-positioning frequently, helping boost in bed, helping ambulate to the bathroom or on the bedpan, etc.

This. I had to give up acute in-patient care and I'm in my thirties because of traumatic arthritis and a joint replacement. Hospitals often aren't willing to make accommodations for these conditions, again I will grant this can be depending on the unit/floor, and the continued lifting, pulling, bending, and twisting worsens old injuries and creates new ones over time. Never experienced actually having access to lifts or other assistive devices for transferring patients. Took twelve people to transfer a 600lb+ patient between an EMS stretcher to our bariatric ED bed once. It was insane. 

freesia29, ADN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 8 years experience.

Thank you for all your responses!  I have been working 2 per diem jobs, As PACU in a surgery center 3 days per week, which I love but was crippling me, being on my feet 8-10 hrs and especially those pain clinic days where we see 25 patients for injections.  And then I started 2 days per week doing phone triage in a pediatric clinic.  
 

after this last flare up again, leaving me at home all week again unable to work, I decided to let go of the surgery center job and just sit on my behind on the phones.  I have no pain when I work there.  I am sad no patient care, as all on the phone, but it pays more than surgery center , so always a silver lining right?