Overcoming fears

  1. Hello. I have dreamed of being a nurse for years. I am now 27 years old and my last born child will be entering all-day kindergarten in August. Now that I can actually reach out and touch my dream, I am getting cold feet. I have a very supportive husband that is behind me 100%, but I am scared.
    Did any of you ever think, "Maybe I'm just not smart enough?" What if something I do or don't do, actually costs someone their life? If so, how did you overcome this fear?
    Also, this is a really dumb question, but how do you handle the bodily functions/smells that you have to encounter on a daily basis? I can handle blood, guts and gore all day long, but when it comes to an adult b/m or some other disgusting smell, I can't hack it. Not to mention, being expected to clean up something like that. Let me put it to you this way, my husband passed gas the other day and no kidding, I almost passed out! I literally threw up because I couldn't handle the smell! I know it's funny, feel free to laugh, but really, how can I be a nurse if I cannot handle those bodily functions.
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    About proud2bme

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 78; Likes: 10
    RN Student


  3. by   night owl
    [font=century]my husband always almost makes me pass out even though i've cleaned "behinds" for years now! actually, you do get used to it after awhile at least i did. (it's the vomiting i'll never get used to!!!) my instructor told us to put alittle dab of cologne on your shoulder incase it gets too overwhelming and you can sniff your shoulder while looking away. i go to work everyday with the fear "what if" hanging on my shoulder, i can only be the best nurse that i can be, using the best judgement that i have. so far, after 25 years i've been a d@mn good nurse. it's only normal to have those fears, and we've all had them...trust us. confidence is the key word here of which in time you will aquire along with the experience of the art of nursing. you'll truely have the greatest feeling knowing that you've made a difference in someone's life. go for it!
  4. by   SouthernPride
    I am new to this forum and am really enjoying this BB. I couldn't help but laugh. But, I understand your concerns. I have been a nurse for 12 years and I can remember having the same concerns you have. If you're dedicated to becoming a nurse, then, you will do fine. It is hard work and dedication is required. I too, began my nursing education with small children. It was difficult, but worth it in the end. Also, there are so many opportunities in the nursing field, I am sure you will find an area where the body odors can be limited. Surgery will give you all the gore and blood without so much of the foul odors (most of the time). Anyway, dont let that stop you from pursuing your dream. Face your fear and you will find it isn't as monstrous as you think.
    Good luck.

    Southern Pride
  5. by   debbyed
    I am sure you will do just fine. Every nurse I know has something they "just can't deal with" and if you work with a good team and are a good team member you will fine that others will be happy to do your "I can't do that" if you are happy and willing to do theirs.
  6. by   hoolahan
    I wish I had even considered those things before starting this career! Seriously, I started nursing school when I was 17, and boy was I naive!!

    I like that colgne on the shoulder idea, but a little vicks vaborub under the nose works good to, or those vicks sticks, you can sniff deeply before cleaning poo.

    Not so much drama re "blood and guts" every day unless you are doing trauma or ICU, on an every day basis.

    You can always do home health like me, though the conditions of some homes and wounds are enough to make you gag.

    Eventually, you'll get to the point where you will be eating lunch and describing the liver clots someone vomitted up today, just remember, not to tell your family this while they eat. A few times I forgot was busy cutting my meat and chattering like this, only to look up and see three people slack-jawed with spoons or forks stopped halfway to their mouths. Then my son will say, mom....we're eating! Ooops! Sorry!

    Once I got $hit on, so I took my shirt off and had to wear a paper scrub top home. I threw my scrub top out, despite my coworkers protests saying "just bleach it," NO THANKS! Anyway, went to pick up my dtr, she noticed my new shirt. I said mommy got pooped on at work. She said, by the babies (I did peds and kids then) I said no, by a grown up. The confused look on her precious little three-year-old face, well I still laugh thinking about it!

    Oh yeah, then there was the time an NG tube got disconnected while turning a pt, and I felt the warm green goo oozing down my leg. I had to wear paper scrub pants home, 45 min ride. Knew I had to get milk on the way home. Stopped in local ,mini-mart, and noticed a lot of guys checking out my a$$. Of course when I got home, I discovered the HUGE gaping hole in my split paper pants, where my bikini underwear were on display for the world to see. This is the mini mart I used almost every day for smokes back then!
  7. by   proud2bme
    WOW! Thanks for your stories and encouraging words. How funny. I am glad to know I am not the only one that has these issues. Yes, it is my dream to be a nurse, it is just something I know I am "supposed" to do. It's part of my plan, I feel. It is good to know the little tricks of the trade and these stories I will carry with me forever. Thank you again.
  8. by   nicola
    Hoolihan, you slay me!!! I remember when I was in nursing school, a group of us went to the food court in the mall between classes. We ended up discussing clinicals and comparing, graphically, the decubs we'd seen during the week. There was a group of older ladies at the table next to us. No kidding, they stood up and walked across the food court to finish eating!!! I was also forbidden to discuss my clinicals or anatomy labwork at the family dinner table.

    My aunt, who is also a nurse, and I get into discussions that generally chase away others... sigh! I suppose nurses are a breed apart!
  9. by   NurseDennie
    Hello Proud2bme -

    First, welcome to nursing. Second, I don't think you get so much "Over" feeling like you're not smart enough, not fast enough, not *whatever* enough, as you do get used to it. You tell yourself that you've made it through nursing school (and most of us can tell you that about 50-65% of the people to start nursing school actually make it through) and that the school says you're good enough, you've passed your boards, the state says you're good enough.

    But, of course, we're all human, and sometimes we *aren't* good enough, smart enough, fast enough. It's so easy to see when it's someone else kicking themselves over something they truly shouldn't be. But it's hard not to do it to yourself. Try really hard not to do it - when you have a really bad day on the floor or unit or where-ever you work.

    You got a lot of good tips here on how to overcome being upset about smelling or seeing icky stuff. I don't have anythign to add there, because I was the oldest of 6 kids, and my mother died when I was 11, so I grew up wiping, cleaning, holding heads.... I went to school with a girl who would literally (and Always!) gag, vomit, weep and have to leave the room if there was anything unpleasant. We all worried about her - and I think some people actually told her she should re-think her choice of careers. Naaahhhh - she's a great nurse!

    The only thing that grosses me out BADLY is chewing/spitting tobacco. If I went into somebody's room who had one of those nasty cups... urg, ruggg... I never have gotten over that, and I doubt I ever will. I was afraid of grasshoppers when I was a little girl, because somebody told me they spat tobacco!! Ewwwwwww - shudder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Last edit by NurseDennie on Jan 10, '02
  10. by   Katnip
    Don't worry about not being smart enough. You'll surprise yourself. I worried about going to get my prereqs that I'd be too old to keep up with the younger kids. But I did very well. Then I almost backed out when it came time to transfer to the university, because, "okay, I did fine in a community college, but this is a UNIVERSITY". Well, now, I can look back on this semester and laugh at myself. I did just as well, if not better than most others, and unlike a lot of others, I have a family to take care of, too, just like you.

    You'll be fine. Hang on to the dream, plot out your goals, and make it happen.

    (I still have clinicals to worry about in a couple of weeks. Will I remember how to do everything? Will I be fast enough? But what the heck. I'll find out.)
  11. by   MelissaCT
    Now, I know some people are going to get upset by me saying this, but I can't help myself.

    As a nursing student and someone who has worked as a nursing assistant, most that I have worked with (95 % at least) do NOT clean up patients. When a patient is in a mess, the nursing assistant does it. Most of the nurses I have worked with will come out of a room after having done a dressing change, and bark at me that the patient has to be cleaned. I know it is my job, but they could help out!

    I've worked on a floor where the nurse will leave the patient's room, walk all the way down the hallway, and tell me the patient needs a new gown, and the gowns are stored in the rooms!!!!!!!!

    I've floated to other floors where the nurses actually helped me with cleaning up, but it was rare.