Hypochondriac Nurses

  1. Anyone work with any of these? In both hospitals I have worked I have seen nurses of all ages hooking themselves up to monitors-telemetry, EKGs, pulse-ox, BPs, worried over the smallest things. How common of a practice is this?

    One nurse I work with now always has a "problem of the month." One month she'll think she's diabetic, the next is CHF. It's absolutely crazy. Wondering if anyone else had these same experiences with nurses?
  2. Visit HillNPStudent profile page

    About HillNPStudent

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 92
    RN-Critical Care
    Specialty: Med-surg, Critical Care

    45 Comments

  3. by   JentheRN05
    Sadly it would come off as if I AM one. The thing is, I do have alot wrong with me. Specifically my heart, and major back pain. I will from time to time, get a pain in the butt flu or major cold. But luckily those aren't too often, and I've found as long as I get at least 6 hours sleep I can pretty much keep cold/flu at bay. One single episode of being woke up or having less than 6 hours sleep will send my body reeling into whatever virus I've been exposed to recently. I try not to come off as a hypochondriac, try not to complain, and take a handful (not an exaggeration) of supplements every morning trying to make sure my heart issues don't get worse any time soon. Geez - sad when you can tell you come off as a hypochondriac.
  4. by   HappyNurse2005
    I used to be a horrid hypochondriac, though i believe a more proper term is suffering from "health anxiety". Really, i thought i had everything. One red spot on my arm-it was some weird infectious rash, skin cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma (though i don't have AIDS, nor have I ever even seen KS), etc. A toothache was suddenly either a MI waiting to happen or a tooth abscess that was going to become a brain abscess and i would die. If i coughed too long from a cold-i was afraid of pneumonia. I used to be afraid of losing weight-i must be sick if i was losing weight. I was so convinced i had hypertension, i would have anxiety attacks thinking about taking my blood pressure. i was afraid I'd pass out-for no reason-and have anxiety attacks in grocery stores, or in places i thought i couldn't escape. if my hands tingled-it was MS or ALS.
    I really, really beleived I had these illnesses. or i'd project it to my kids-hydrocephalus, if they got sick i'd still be convinced it was something horrible, etc

    Becoming a nurse made it better. I think about "if my patient told me they had these symptoms, would i be worried?" and often the answer was no, which slowly has helped. One year after becoming a nurse, the problem has 95% gotten better. the tendencies are still there.
  5. by   ortess1971
    Also doesn't help that many nurses neglect their health. There are many nurses out there with a chronic illness of some sort. Those with a legitimate disease, in my opinion, tend to downplay them out of fear that they'll face wrath from managers or coworkers however. I have to go for an upper GI series this Thursday, and I'm already afraid what my manager is going to say about that. Just presenting a different viewpoint, but it can be a real challenge to get time off to go to the doctor, so many nurses use the equipment at work to keep tabs on things...
    Last edit by ortess1971 on Nov 4, '06
  6. by   vonxojn
    I'm bad for being a hypochondriac. So far I have had anemia, lupus, MI, endometrosis, gallstones, acute renal failure, and dementia. My husband has gotten to the point, when I complain about a symptom.... he thinks I'm in hypochondraic mode.
  7. by   nogzilla
    One too many. One of my dear friends who I went through nursing school had something from each chapter we went through in our med surg books. Sometimes it's hard to be patient.
  8. by   bigmona
    i am a total hypochondriac- and although i HAVE thought about hooking myself up to an EKG i wouldn't actually do it. i know i'm a hypochondriac and don't share that with the rest of the world. i keep it to myself because i know it's one form of response to stress.
  9. by   gonzo1
    I do see this a lot. We have several pregnant nurses now and they are forever borrowing the doppler and going downstairs to the breakroom and listening to their babys heartbeats. I just wish they would bring the damn doppler back upstairs with them so we have it for the real patients. I finally had to have a chat with myself and decide to be happy that at least these babys were already well loved and had really excited moms. I know they will have great mom's that really love them.
  10. by   LeahJet
    I work with a doctor that is a hypochondriac.
    Once, at work, I told him that he looked yellow. I was totally messing with him but a couple hours into the shift, he was convinced he picked up Hep A from recent travel outside the US.
    Before it was over, he had someone draw a hep profile.
    I love yanking chains and he was soooo easy!
  11. by   HillNPStudent
    Well let's see...since beginning nursing school years ago I have been self-diagnosed with lymphoma, MI, colon cancer, brain tumor, basically anything that was in the textbooks we discussed in class. If I could find a similar symptom, I had it. Also, whenever I had a patient close to my age I became paranoid of "getting" whatever they "got." Crazy! :icon_roll
    Now, my husband thinks I'm nuts as does my doctor I'm sure, and my husband never takes any symptoms to heart, he just laughs it off as another "episode."

    Just the other night a couple nurses in my unit decided to hook themselves up to the heart monitor b/c it was a slow night. Of course I did it too and was worried about my ST segment for ischemia. Normal. BUT...a nurse friend of mine AND myself did find a RBBB on our EKGs of which I will probably have to go see one of our good 'ole cardiologists just to make sure its insignificant....here I go again!
  12. by   NurseCard
    I think sometimes that it must be just from working with so many sick patients. When I worked Med/Surge, we took care of a lot of oncology patients on my floor and I was always scared to death that I had cancer.
    Now that I work psych, there are times that I honestly think that I am going nuts.
  13. by   angel337
    when you see so many sick poeple day in and day out, its hard not to think "maybe this can happen to me too". i'm not a hypochondriac, but when i see so many people my age with cancer, i subconsciously think "what's stopping me from getting cancer?". but then i have to remember, just like there are milliions of people with chronic health conditions, there are millions without it.
  14. by   SMARTY_RN
    Oh my!!!!!!! I thought that I was the only crazzed nurse out there with these feelings lol..... Since I graduated I have started having anxiety attacks. Eveytime my shoulder aches I think it's an MI. My anxiety attacks have become fewer and fewer over the past yr. It is comforting to know that others have the same feelings. I work in surgery and my patients come in with all these horrible conditions and have to get surgery to cure it or just make it better than what it currently is, and I am always worried that I will need that surgery.......:uhoh21: Once I thought I was truly going to die with one of my anxiety attacks.....It's funny now that I look back at it......

close