Am I too wimpy for this?

  1. I just started a nursing student position in a large city hospital downtown. After today I feel very scared. I was told by other nursing students that they had been punched, hit, kicked, spit on, and that it was common. This hospital even has its own police department. I really want to work here for the experience. It is a good teaching hospital, but I am terrified. My grades in nursing school are excellent, but I have always worked in clerical medical jobs prior to this. I am a petite female and not very strong. I also suffer from anxiety. I just don't know how I would even fathom handling this type of situation. What do I do? Quit? Work out and get strong? Take some sort of antidepressant/anxiolytic that would help me not be such a wimp and scaredy cat? Not looking for put-downs..please. Just honest advice. There are many areas of nursing, so people who tell me to get out of the profession, I think that is uncalled for as I believe I have a lot to offer. I'm sure there is a niche for me somewhere, even if I am a big wimp. Thanks.
  2. Visit ijuanabhappy profile page

    About ijuanabhappy

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 388; Likes: 200
    School Nurse; from MO , US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in School Nursing

    10 Comments

  3. by   CrufflerJJ
    Quote from jillpaige
    I just started a nursing student position in a large city hospital downtown. After today I feel very scared. I was told by other nursing students that they had been punched, hit, kicked, spit on, and that it was common. This hospital even has its own police department. I really want to work here for the experience. It is a good teaching hospital, but I am terrified. My grades in nursing school are excellent, but I have always worked in clerical medical jobs prior to this. I am a petite female and not very strong. I also suffer from anxiety. I just don't know how I would even fathom handling this type of situation. What do I do? Quit? Work out and get strong? Take some sort of antidepressant/anxiolytic that would help me not be such a wimp and scaredy cat? Not looking for put-downs..please. Just honest advice. There are many areas of nursing, so people who tell me to get out of the profession, I think that is uncalled for as I believe I have a lot to offer. I'm sure there is a niche for me somewhere, even if I am a big wimp. Thanks.
    NO, you're not too wimpy for this situation - tell yourself that right now.

    If students (or any staff, for that matter) have been physically abused, that's a shame. Yes, sometimes patients are not quite in the right frame of mind, are drunk or tripping on their substance of choice. Then you just have the idiots who feel it's their "right" to abuse those who are trying to help them.

    Don't be scared because the hospital has its own PD - many facilities have the same thing. Once you start working in a hospital (especially ER), you'll appreciate the folks who might be there to protect you.

    Urban hospitals are a different setting than "boutique" hospitals - that's for sure! Take it for what it is - a great opportunity to see people at their worst.

    Treat your patients with respect, and expect that your patients will treat you with respect. That may not happen (especially with the folks with altered mental status), but it's nice to dream, right?

    After dealing with lots of folks in a mixed ("diverse patient population") EMS setting for nearly 20 years, I can say that I was never hit. Maybe shot at, but never hit!

    Treat folks as you yourself would want to be treated, and don't put up with any excrement from anybody who should know better.

    Stick with it - welcome to another view of the "real world." You will certainly see stuff/patients/pathophysiologies at the teaching hospital that you might not encounter at "nicer" specialty facilities.

    Hold your head up, and learn what you can every day.

    Good luck!
  4. by   GOMER42
    Don't quit. Your experience now will only make you stronger.
    Perhaps they are telling you this intentionally to scare you so that there is less competition when it comes time for graduation???
    You can do it. Give yourself more credit.
  5. by   coffee4metech
    Keep going don't give up !!!!!!
  6. by   ijuanabhappy
    CrufflerJJ,

    I appreciate your response! . In your opinion, do you think that male staff may have an easier time in these situations because potential sluggers may be more intimidated by male staff? Just a thought. I too, am very kind and respectful of others, but I have heard that patients who are not in their right minds don't care about that.
  7. by   llg
    I wouldn't make any major decisions based on what other nursing students said. Find out for yourself. Ask other people -- and also ask experenced staff members how to best take care of yourself. Give it a chance and see for yourself what it's like and whether or not you can learn to thrive there. If not, leave knowing that you gave it your best shot -- but don't run away until you have done some more investigation.
  8. by   Dalzac
    The most important thing is when the odds look like they can overwhelm you call for help. It isn't unusal for hospitals, esp large ones, have their own police. call for them if you need it Trust your own instincts. The best way to get help is to yell "help"
  9. by   nebrgirl
    Two thoughts....people with "altered mental status" are frequently not great aims. (Not always though!)...And remember the term "going postal" came from our folks in the post offices and prior to that most folks thought that would have been a pertty safe job. (ie nothing comes with a guarentee) So good luck
  10. by   AllSmiles225
    I know this sounds really stupid but the local community college had a self defense class that I took and it made me feel a lot better in case a violent situation were to ever arise. I work in LTC and I have gotten swung at but never hit. I felt a lot better after I took that class though, even if it was just to ease my anxiety. Maybe you could try that?
  11. by   CrufflerJJ
    Quote from AllSmiles225
    I know this sounds really stupid but the local community college had a self defense class that I took and it made me feel a lot better in case a violent situation were to ever arise. I work in LTC and I have gotten swung at but never hit. I felt a lot better after I took that class though, even if it was just to ease my anxiety. Maybe you could try that?
    Not a stupid idea at all, as long as you keep practicing what was covered in class. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, although when the defensive reflexes (in my case, typically a "block") pop to the surface at times, it will surprise both you and the person who triggered the unconscious action.:uhoh21:
  12. by   CrufflerJJ
    Quote from jillpaige
    CrufflerJJ,

    I appreciate your response! . In your opinion, do you think that male staff may have an easier time in these situations because potential sluggers may be more intimidated by male staff? Just a thought. I too, am very kind and respectful of others, but I have heard that patients who are not in their right minds don't care about that.
    Glad to help! As to male staff vs female staff, there are pluses & minuses of being male in that sort of situation. I don't think it's a huge benefit (unless things go bad & you end up fighting).

    Once the testosterone starts flowing in a male altered mental status patient (i.e., drunk off their gourd), they may be MORE likely to fight a male caregiver. You're seen as a challenge, a threat, or somebody that the patient feels a need to fight. I've read that this is seen in male vs female cops (those arrested by female cops tend to be less likely to fight them). Some patients may be more intimidated by a male caregiver, but if (as a caregiver) you try to intimidate, then you've got no business being a caregiver.

    I try to treat patients with respect and deference ("yes sir", "yes ma'am", "may I..."). This can help defuse some situations, but could also set you up as a "wimp" in some patients' minds. Such is life. On the medic, I would start with the respectful/deferential tone, but could progress to "commanding" if the patient was a drunk idiot who wasn't listening otherwise (& was in danger of further injuring himself).

    There is simple "cookie cutter" answer. People are very different. The same patient may behave very differently depending on whether they're drunk, off their meds, head injured, or awake/alert/oriented. A reasonable starting point with every patient encounter is to treat people with respect, and don't start issuing "orders" right off the bat. With experience, you'll be more able to "read" your patient so you're less likely to be surprised. Then again, there's always folks out there who will still surprise you!

close