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Can nursing schools kick out students who are overweight?

Nurses   (6,699 Views 49 Comments)
by veritas veritas (New Member) New Member

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Good lord. 20kg overweight translates into an extra what... 44lbs? That's ridiculous. There were many students in my class probably more like 100lbs or more overweight, and they dressed professionally, appropriately, and were perfect in clinical. Never had problems lifting or transferring patients or doing ANY of their duties.

Maybe "overweight" nurses aren't the epitome of health, but then you'd have to say that nurses who smoke, have tattoos, drink alcohol, and eat greasy fried food aren't either. And I fall into all those categories, and am still able to care fantastically for my patients... and offer appropriate education.

On the contrary, why not pick on other groups of nursing students? We had a large group of nursing students ages 55-60ish who often complained about giving bed baths, lifting and transferring, and their medical conditions that slowed them down a little during clinical. I never said anything, but this whole "overweight nursing student" post makes me wonder why that girl would be discriminated against but not others?

Kudos to her for going public despite how embarrassing that must have been for her. That would not have flown in my nursing program!

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7 Likes; 1 Follower; 32,049 Visitors; 6,945 Posts

May I ask what that term "fair haired" category of students means?

a colloquialism meaning having favored status...ie teacher's pet...

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4,936 Visitors; 124 Posts

The safe and satisfactory completion of clinical requirements must be the issue, then, not someone's BMI. The U.S.A. student was 5'6'' and 300 pounds (168cm, 136kg) By addressing the weight, not performance issues - if any - the professors made a mistake.

Shouldn't the employer, not the school, be making determinations about whether someone is able to perform the functions of a specific job? There are so many, many roles in nursing which do not require heavy lifting!

Here's the U.S. Supreme Court opinion of that 1985 case:

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/89-1629.ZO.html

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FireStarterRN has 15 years experience and works as a Freelancing.

23,864 Visitors; 3,823 Posts

I agree....that and :

"She had an advanced degree from an Ivy League school, her family was well to do, and I believe her father was a doctor, but I'm not sure. She definitely connected well with the faculty. Nonetheless, she looked horrid waddling around, before and during pregnancy"

What does this have to do with the color of one's hair? I've never heard this term.

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FireStarterRN has 15 years experience and works as a Freelancing.

23,864 Visitors; 3,823 Posts

a colloquialism meaning having favored status...ie teacher's pet...

OK, thanks, it must be regional, I've never heard it here on the West Coast.

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FireStarterRN has 15 years experience and works as a Freelancing.

23,864 Visitors; 3,823 Posts

I agree that the issue should be performance based, and physical ability to carry out the functions of a nurse. Some very overweight women are amazingly light on their feet and very sturdy. A thin woman or man might have some hidden medical condition that will interfere with performance.

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diapason05 works as a student.

1,325 Visitors; 46 Posts

I'm a little overweight in my opinion, although I'm not yet considered overweight by bmi (im right there, though). I don't want to be mean or insensitive to those of you who said you are overweight.. I think up to a certain level its not really an issue.. but

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS have to maintain a certain weight. Its a good rule, actually, because on one flight I was on, there was a woman who was a little bit bigger. She was smashing into everyone in the aisle seats every time she walked by. No one of course is going to say anything, but for her job, she needs to be slimmer.

I got kicked out of a singing group in L.A. because I couldn't lose 8 lbs. I was already at one of my lowest weights and looked thin at the time, but the music industry is tough on women like that. They wanted me practically anorexic. THATS probably not right... but I don't think asking someone to maintain a healthy weight (especially in HEALTH care) is too much to ask. Of course in our society-it IS too much to ask- because it hurts someones self-esteem, then they receive damages in court. (btw, if that one hospital had helped out their employee and given her a diet plan and access to a gym- she would have no excuse not to lose at least some weight... Once you hire someone, knowing they are overweight- you cant fire them because of it, I don't think....If they get even bigger- offer help and let them know they need to comply or then theyd lose their job)

I do agree that judging someone in this area should be performance based-- if it hinders them doing their job properly, then it's a problem. I'm almost considered overweight, but I'm not yet hindered by this because I was pretty active before this and still maintain some muscle.. and I'm not big enough for it to cause me problems.

No one's mentioned this but-- I feel like, as a nurse, we are advocates for health! I've read posts before about nurses gaining weight or being very overweight and-- how are we supposed to set an example if many of us are overweight/obese? I know a certain component is age/genes.. My thyroid isnt up to full par at the moment and its making losing weight a bit hard..

I personally would like to see some health care providors that practiced what they preached.. eating healthy and exercising. We are some of the most educated people on the subject of health and if WE can't even accomplish it.. what patient is going to take it seriously?

Just a thought.

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6,077 Visitors; 1,249 Posts

only 20kg over weight? They'd have to kick me out too along with a good portion of the class I was with.

Well, no kidding!:lol2: Me, too.

When I was in school, there was a student that was probably at least 100 pds. overweight, but I don't recall that she had any real problems because of it, and I know that she went on to become an ER nurse at another hospital.

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1 Like; 53,421 Visitors; 11,191 Posts

diapason, what makes you think i preach to my pts?

i educate them.

they are free to make their own choices.

i recognize my pts as fallible.

ea and every one of us, has our weaknesses and imperfections.

i am not overweight.

to my pts, i look like the picture of health.

but i smoke like a factory.

every single one of my smoking, lung ca pts, know it was their smoking.

i do not need to 'educate' them.

my overweight pts know their htn and cad is a result of poor food choices.

i remind them of the benefits of a low-fat diet and the importance of reading labels.

i also tell them i know how hard this is, and if they have to have that cake, then for God's sake, do 15 min of exercise.

my point is, looks are deceiving.

and ibw does not necessarily mean good health.

i work with nurses who are overweight, and have the stamina of a camel.

they can run circles around me.

nursing should always be performance based.

our pts want to receive competent care.

that doesn't mean we have to epitomize barbie or ken.

we need to be able to perform, for ourselves and our pts.

and the buck stops there.

leslie

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suzy253 works as a Med Surg/Telemetry.

16,564 Visitors; 3,815 Posts

What does this have to do with the color of one's hair? I've never heard this term.

Those weren't my words. In fact I was agreeing with you and quoting another poster

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ann945n has 4 years experience and works as a RN.

5,113 Visitors; 548 Posts

There are some pretty big people in my school in all different quaters. As long as they can perform their tasks safely who cares what their size is. Having said that though, I myself would wonder how one could do this job being very overwieght, its tough for me and Im a normal wieght, granted Im not super super fit, I cant imagine having to carry another 50-100 pounds around all day. But if you can do it more power to ya!

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1,306 Visitors; 87 Posts

Let's face it...... overweight/obese people are discriminated against, and probably always will be. As my overweight friend used to say, we are treated like second class citizens in many situations. It's impossible for those who have not suffered from weight issues to relate to this. It's one of the few genetically predisposed addictions which can not be hidden from society. It is right there for everyone to see, which only adds to the humiliation.

I was the heaviest person in my nursing class, and I had no trouble keeping up. My plantar fasciitis was acting up, but otherwise I was fine. I also feel that I was one of the best nursing students in my class, with high grades, as well great rapport with patients, staff, instructors and peers. I passed the NCLEX the first time with 76 questions. I have had people be very rude to me in day to day life. After I had my son the OB who did my c/s said that he didn't want to see me back until I needed a tummy tuck. I saw different docs during my pg and he was the only one who constantly brought up my weight, even though I had a healthy pregnancy. It was obvious that he was simply repulsed by heavy people. While pg and waiting in a restaurant I had a stranger offer me half of her sandwich, and then burst out laughing. I was so stunned I acted like I didn't hear her.

So, take it from someone who has lived it, there are MANY MANY folks out there who just don't like heavy people, and they often judge them based on looks or preconceived notions, not on their abilities. I'm not saying that having extra pounds doesn't affect you at all. I'm sure our energy levels are not as high, but it doesn't mean we can't be excellent nurses in spite of it.

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