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Can someone tell me how to not be traumatized in med microbioogy?

by Dezy Dezy (Member)

Oh so I had my first class of medical mico biology. We have a wonderful teacher who really knows her stuff. In the class she showed us a video documentary of the meningitis outbreak we had in our city a little over ten years ago. (I remember being vaccinated and hearing about it on the news too when I was younger). It was becoming very serious I think it might have killed 2 or 3 people in less than a week... and started infecting and spreading fast. A few people that didn't die... had amputations, scars or neurological problems. Some that had it were lucky to escape with no issues. Anyway, part of the scenes were acted out but also had interviews with the families that were affected.

As we watched the video I saw a lot of us tearing up because it was vey sad.

Anyway I guess by sharing what the class was like, I'm wondering how does one not become a hypochondriac after studying these things? Or my bigger worry is, how do you not constantly feel fear for your loved ones?

Does anyone have any coping mechanisms or something? Even this morning I still feel very sad.

I don't mean to come off as overly harsh, but you're going to have to toughen up a bit if you want to make it as a nurse. Check out some of the threads about what people have become desensitized to after being a nurse (ex: urine) for help dealing with germs. Repeated exposure to the sad aspects of healthcare will make it easier to cope, but ultimately, you will have to overcome your fears yourself.


Specializes in Home health. Has 7 years experience.

Honestly, it just depends. I know there are all kinds of crazy bugs out there. All I can do to protect myself and my family is to keep all the vaccinations current, maintain good hand hygiene, and just be aware of your surroundings. I think there is not much you can do beyond that. And living in fear I just couldn't do it mentally.


Specializes in Home health. Has 7 years experience.

Oh and what rn_abbey said :-)

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Yeah....I remember Micro being a shock to my system. It was hard to ever eat french fries again. Seriously, you will develop coping mechanisms.....was to fell the sadness without letting it consume you. Realize that a majority of infections spread by hand to hand contact.....wash your hands.

Many of us are germ a phobes at heart and have to measure the practicality of sterilizing everything and know that you eat a ton of dirt before you die.

But nursing isn't all rainbows and puppy dogs...happy families celebrating life. It is the brutal reality that although someone gets better it doesn't mean that the treatment/cure doesn't come with a cost. You are ad for those who have lost and pray for them and move onto the next challenge/patient/family/illness/tragedy/death/birth....... For me that is where faith has come into play.

melizerd, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

You just get over it. Nothing changed, just your perception changed.

I'm not a germaphobe but I know that I'm more conscious of hand washing and sanitizing even at home now and out in public I've picked up a few quirks like not touching door handles.

Nurses touch gross stuff, we go into isolation rooms, you just learn how to protect yourself and not panic about it. It's part of the job.


Specializes in Urology, ENT.

What everyone else said. I think I came full circle after nursing school. After MedSurg 1, I thought, "OH MY GOD I'LL GET CANCER AND EVERYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN!" I'm more aware of things that are wrong with me, like my knees, bowel patterns (yes some of us start to pay attention to that), urine color when I'm sick, and some other things, but then it just hit me that we all die, so what's the point. I don't mean that in a defeatist-type of way, I mean that in a seriously-you-have-the-rest-of-your-life-so-why-not-enjoy-it-within-reason kind of way.

Those videos are nice wake-ups for you to take better care of yourself, mostly so you can actually enjoy life, but I wouldn't obsess over the dude with MRSA sitting next to me on a plane or something. Whatever. My shoes probably have MRSA and VRE all over the bottoms.


Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

My micro teacher told us we'd either leave the course afraid of everything or totally fearless.

Just remember, you may not have known some of the things you'll learn, but they were still there. And you've survived and thrived. Anxiety about any of it won't change anything but your level of mental health

Just remember, you were exposed to all these bugs and germs before you were in nursing school, but now you are better prepared to prevent yourself from getting those germs/bugs. This should be a good thing, not a bad one!

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

the movie was intended to provide information and to make you understand the seriousness of disease. Many nursing students have not been exposed to really sick people. Now that you are aware, you will be more inclined to take precautions - like washing hands!

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

HA HA HA! I clearly remember my first unpleasant 'exposure' to microbiology (pun intended). I didn't succumb to the "OMG, I've got that" but some of my classmates did. But, it does change the way you think about things - and that's the whole purpose.

For instance, I don't understand how anyone can eat raw/rare meat or fish... steak tartare? raw oysters? sushi? (bwaaaakkk) I KNOW how far sneezes travel -- "ah hum, do you need a tissue?" I won't eat at a "24 hour buffet" - when do they clean it? I advise everyone to avoid those soft ice cream/yogurt dispensers.... they're nearly impossible to keep clean. Although my job requires a good bit of travel, I take measures to avoid coming into contact with hotel sheets (don't ask) and NEVER use the in-room coffee bar. I always use hand sanitizer if I'm on a plane... they never clean those trays or seat back pockets.

Yep - there is definitely a lasting effect from Microbiology.

Awesome stuff guys. I'm actually excited about the class. I'm not really concerned that I have anything wrong with me but just seeing the horrible ways to go... It's like if you gotta go, please not like that!!! Although I guess there are worse things...Anyway thanks for the responses I feel better. I think exercising good caution and puttin the rest of my worries to the back will be the best thing for this course.