'Unhealthy' nurses...bad examples? - page 12

I hope this post doesn't offend anyone,but I have noticed a lot of the nurses I know are overweight,smokers or both. Obviously people become nurses because they completed school,and are qualified to... Read More

  1. by   CaseManager1947
    Well, the whole purpose for these forums is to get folks talking about nursing and health related issues. Sure as someone broaches a topic that brings out this much comment, is was important to be heard and said. Fifteen pages of replies is Great!. I believe that as eliz. 321 just noted, it is our professional relationships and demeanor that carry the weight (no pun intended) with our clients. As others have commented, I have addressed other demons in my lifetime, including alcohol and tobacco, and have begun working on my weight issues. This would be a great research topic for some budding nurse researcher -- bias against the obese or smokers.
    This is exactly why I love these forums, there is so much wisdom here, from so many great people.

    Thanks for listening,

    Morghan
  2. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from mary4mary
    I think fat or smokers are an extremely bad example and I don't think they can possible do the job. I always loose wt when I work and I only take 1 meal and one coffee break. Smokers always make time to smoke,patients are not their first priority smoking is.:trout:
    Well, there are some who might say that poor grammar and negativity are bad examples too, but no one should presume that a nurse who is guilty of these things is unable to perform the duties of her job.

    Please, folks, there is NO need to be insulting. As professionals, we should be able to discuss issues such as these and express our opinions without looking down on one another, or calling into question another's competence. This thread is taking a lot of time and energy to moderate; we don't want to close it, but will have no choice if members cannot debate the issue at hand in a civil fashion.
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Sep 20, '06
  3. by   Corvette Guy
    LOL, mary4mary's post was definitely an unfriendly read. I could not decide if she was being sarcastic, or what? :uhoh21:
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Sep 20, '06
  4. by   twotrees2
    Quote from cookielady,rn
    You seem to imply that those of us who DO care about our figures and work at them sacrifice bedside skills

    I also can't stand not being able to breathe around coworkers becasuse they smell like an ashtray.

    Someone once said you can't love someone else til you love yourself. How can you competently care for someone else and neglect yourself? You can't for long.

    i resemble that remark lol. i am a smoker - and though on occasion in the winter due to more enclosed smoking places - i will say i pride myself on NOT smelling " like an ashtray " - i do my best to limit my smoking when i take a shower immediately before work and during work i wear cover so my uniform does not "stink" and i also wash very well my hands face and arms after lunch break. i am not saying i do not smell like smoke at all as a nonsmoker WILL smell it even if its little - however - i will say anyplace i have been i have heard more complaints of those who wear "stink-nice" ( as my kids and grandma call it) deodorants and perfumes and smell like they bathed in it. in my experience those who do that are far more in number ( around our area anyhow - i personally have told many times the cnas to go wash before they started working and made sure they did so ) and find that there are far more complaints from residents about that then the smoke smell and we have a LOT of smokers . or using scented hand lotions etc - there are many products out there without the scent - i cant stand smelling the perfumes myself so i understand your concern - ask your coworkers to please go wash up a bit and lessen the oder and it is much more tolerable.

    and honestly just because i am a smoker and overweight - does not mean i do not care about my appearance - or my health. smoking is an addiction and unfortunately i have not been able to break it and hope one day i will - i will keep trying till i do - i do my bets to exercise to my health disabilities ( that by the way are due to familial traits and neglect to me BEFORE i was even in nursing school , more than the smoking and drinking Pepsi that i do now - ) and i see my docs and specialists ofetn to try to keep from getting worse- one should never assume cause one smokes or is fat they do not care nor should anyone assume someone who is skinny and in great shape ( which by the way i was until about 7 - 8 yrs ago ) that they are incompetent. i do NOT neglect myself at this time unless your referring to my smoking and pepsi - ( most of my issues came from neglecting myself when i was younger before i even went to nursing school) - i very very much "love " myself - lol sounds kinda funny - but i do - i respect what i have been through and made of myself. and i take very very competent care of my residents. i even have a commendation in my file from social services on a abuse case i was the nurse on - i am proud of me and i like me a lot. oh and its been about 15 yrs ( i forget the exact date i graduated lol - oldtimers?? lol) and i plan on hopefully by gods grace at least another 15 and more - and that is a longtime. so please do not assume just cause someone is a smoker or overweight that they neglect themselves - many many disorders make it impossible to loose weight - even some treatments make one gain weight ( ever been on prednisone? antidepressants? swell up like a balloon they can make one do ) personally i like to give one the benefit of the doubt unless there is an obvious neglect ( like i did know someone who was so depressed and refused help and started cutting themselves - still dont know why - i just cant see that one personally but it is a true disorder - called carving i believe - or self mutilation. ) just some thoughts on the ideas presented here.
  5. by   twotrees2
    Quote from CuriousMe
    No offense to you...don't know you and I've never seen you

    But who said that skinny and beauty necessairly go together? I know plenty of skinny people that I wouldn't classify as beauty's, and plenty of people with more curves than angles who I would definitely say were beautiful.

    I just ask that we be careful with the associations that our society is littered with. Skinny shouldn't be a goal, healthy should. Skinny doesn't equal beauty, they are two different descriptors.

    And as far as embarassed....is that them or you for them? I've definitely got more curves than angles....and I'm often treated by folks who don't know me as if I should be embarrassed. I'm not, I am what I am until I take the necessary steps to change what I am. I scuba dive, hike and my most recent adventure is to learn to white water kayak. I think there's a message out there that I should be embarrassed and that I certainly shouldn't be out having fun until I lose some weight....but that's not how I feel.

    To the OP....the majority of Americans are overweight.....I wouldn't imagine that the percentages among nurses would be very far off from the national average.

    Just my .02

    Peace,
    Cathie
    i think you are right - there is a big push in the media / Hollywood etc that show the "ideal" woman and they do NOT represent the majority well which causes much difficulty for many - i am sure some who have daughters have seen the same thing i have - trying to teach our kids ( even our sons for that matter as few Hollywood /advertising etc media use "majority men" figures either ) healthy vs "ideal" - not an easy thing to fight. especially when you add genetics that make "healthy" that much more difficult -
  6. by   West_Coast_Ken
    i don't know if "unhealthy" nurses are "bad examples" but i know it's not in the job description so who cares? it's their life, they are allowed to be human, too, so i say leave 'em alone. the role of a nurse is to provide competent, professional, timely care and to advocate for the pt. not to be a "role model."

    having said that, since i have started on this journey into nursing (i'll finish school in 8 months) i've changed my habits--only because i want to. i've seen enough overweight, sad, and very sick pts to know i will not end up like that, at least not without a fight.

    when i checked my o2 stat and was consistently 92-93% i freaked. i have never been a smoker but i have been overweight (technically obese, but hardly looked or felt it--my body hides it well), but i was not in good shape obviously. i was embarrassed, ashamed and shocked though i checked myself in private.

    i've since purchased some used exercise equipment (yeah ebay!) and i do use it. i hit my stairmaster today for a hard 45 minutes and it felt good. i do weight training, too, and i monitor my heart during workouts with a cool heart rate monitor.

    in the last year i have lost 23 pounds, gotten much stronger, and my o2 stat is 99% now!! i feel much better and look better, too, and i still have a long way to go. i really don't like working out and would prefer to sit around, but i'd rather chose when to sit than have to sit because i ignored my health and the reality of what happens to everyone if we do not take care of our bodies.
    umpiron:
  7. by   twotrees2
    Quote from mary4mary
    I think fat or smokers are an extremely bad example and I don't think they can possible do the job. I always loose wt when I work and I only take 1 meal and one coffee break. Smokers always make time to smoke,patients are not their first priority smoking is.:trout:

    i - nor do most of my coworkers - put our smoking ahead of our patients - many a time when i start at 2 do i even get supper until 7 - i NEVER take the first 15 min break allotted to me , and unless i get to supper by 5 when i am supposed to - neither do i take the second break allotted to me. often id not even take a full supper break.
    as for fat i am fat - i do my job adequately and professionally and competently and will be sure my coworkers are stable before i take a break . not all smokers think of smoking as a priority.
  8. by   jcat01
    I don't believe how a person looks or what their vices are effects their competency. We as humans all have issues, many of which include doing things we know we "shouldn't" (like smoking, hitting the beer a little much during the Sunday/Monday football games, chowing down on that chocolate bar etc.) but we do anyway. That's life...it happens, and we are all guilty of it at one point or another in our lives.

    I just started the nursing program, I'm overweight and I'm on/off with the smoking. I had quit, but due to the EXTREME stress pool I just jumped into I've gone back to it-but I am limiting myself. I'm trying to exercise a few times a week as well, because I want to be a good example for my future patients/friends/family...plus working as a CNA I have found that my excess "fluff" (as my physical assessment prof calls it!!) or more like my "out of shapeness" hinders me in my job (I tire easily, out of breath, that kinda thing). So, I've made a personal decision to do something about it...plus I have hypertension...at my age (23), that's scary. Does that mean that ALL overweight people have this problem? Nope...it's just something with me.

    That's the thing, we are all individuals and what matters is how we feel about ourselves and whether or not we can deliver the care we need to be giving.

    Oh, and I haven't caught flak about it-considering many of the nurses/aides are on the heavy side. However, we all work as a team at night and do an awesome job....I believe that is what matters the most-not whether or not any single one of us can go out and win a marathon or a beauty pagent.
  9. by   Josh L.Ac.
    Quote from jackson74
    Judging from what I've read in this thread most people are ill informed regarding the underlying pathology of obesity and smoking. From what I've seen and experienced it comes down to addiction in both cases, not just a matter of poor decision making. I think that science will one day prove that people who smoke or overeat have a chemical imbalance that leads them to easily become addicted to these substances. Once caught in the trap of addiction, most people make numerous attempts at reducing or quitting which usually ends in failure. In my opinion, this is a disease much like cancer, chf, etc. Would we blame a cancer patient for developing a tumor? No. But I consistently see nurses gossiping about their coworkers who are overweight or smoke. Do you think smokers and fat people really enjoy being that way? Hell no! They are driven by forces beyond their control. Many people I'm sure will scoff at this notion....but look around you...how many people do you know have tried dieting or abstaining from smoking only to repeatedly fail at their attempts? You all have mentioned in this thread how these activities set a bad example for patients. I contend that intolerance of our coworker's health problems also sets a bad example.

    For you people who look down your noses at smokers and overweight people: Did you ever think that perhaps the reason you don't suffer with these conditions is because you have a different chemical makeup than those with these problems? I don't think its because you are that much smarter or simply make wiser decisions. I've worked with some brilliant, capable smokers and fat nurses whose only shortcoming is their addiction to food or cigarettes.

    edit - nevermind. I should never post after watching an episode of House.
  10. by   leslie :-D
    i would just like to preface that a tit-for-tat exchange does no more to portray us as the professionals than the perpetrators who initiated the offensive posts.
    i also find it sad there are so many who feel the need to defend themselves.
    again, credentials has nothing to do with credibility.
    one can have commendable experience but might possibly lose credibility if there are obvious flaws in physical presentation.
    and there are patients who think this way.
    so no, we're not bad examples across the board.
    but to some, i'm sure we are.
    yet i personally would never want to come across as one of those poster-child nurses for optimum health, potentially patronizing a pt by (inadvertently) conveying "if i can do this, then so can you" attitude.
    i want my pts to find me approachable and that i get the enormity of any proposed lifestyle change(s).

    leslie
  11. by   Corvette Guy
    Quote from Josh L.Ac.
    edit - nevermind. I should never post after watching an episode of House.
    Okay, then I'll say it...

    If this is true, then the implications would be dramatic. If I decide to succumb to my genetic programming and show up to work drunk, then it wouldn't really be my fault, would it?

    A medical diagnosis is an explanation, not a justification. Some people have to worker harder to be healthy than others. It isn't fair, but that doesn't make the ideal of living a healthy lifestyle any less worthy.

    :mortarboard:
















    Josh, I tried to send you a PM, but you need to empty out your box.
  12. by   jebrn2
    Quote from mary4mary
    I think fat or smokers are an extremely bad example and I don't think they can possible do the job. I always loose wt when I work and I only take 1 meal and one coffee break. Smokers always make time to smoke,patients are not their first priority smoking is.:trout:
    That is not true, not all smokers, make smoking thier top priority. I work 7 pm-7am. I take 2 smoke breaks and no lunch. I smoke when my patients are sleeping and one of my co-workers can keep an eye on them without being overwhelmed. What is the difference in some taking a meal break and someone taking a smoke break? As far as the Fat comment, That is just wrong. I myself have lost 125 lbs 3 years ago and it was not easy, if it was no one in the world would be obese. Their is a big difference in losing 15 vanity pounds and losing as much as another person weighs. Intellence, a caring heart, and the desire to help people is what make a good nurse. Smoking or fat has absolutey nothing to with being a good nurse.
  13. by   Corvette Guy
    Quote from jebrn2
    That is not true, not all smokers, make smoking thier top priority. I work 7 pm-7am. I take 2 smoke breaks and no lunch. I smoke when my patients are sleeping and one of my co-workers can keep an eye on them without being overwhelmed. What is the difference in some taking a meal break and someone taking a smoke break? As far as the Fat comment, That is just wrong. I myself have lost 125 lbs 3 years ago and it was not easy, if it was no one in the world would be obese. Their is a big difference in losing 15 vanity pounds and losing as much as another person weighs. Intellence, a caring heart, and the desire to help people is what make a good nurse. Smoking or fat has absolutey nothing to with being a good nurse.
    Your right, smoking/obesity does not have a direct correlation with nursing skills, however it does have an impact on the example we nurses set regards to wellness & good health.

    IMHO, I think the reason so many here are offended is due to a misunderstanding. The way I interpret the title of this thread; Unhealthy nurses...bad examples?, has nothing whatsoever to do with the nursing skills a nurse does or does not possess.

    For example; If, an auto mechanic owned a car that ran poorly would some question his/her abilities as an auto mechanic? Maybe the concern would be incorrect since the auto mechanic in question is known by his/her regular customers to be an outstanding auto mechanic. If an Orthodonist had terribly crooked teeth would that cause some concern? Again, maybe he/she is an excellent orthodontist. Yet, would new clients be concerned. Would they be passing judgement, I don't think so... JMHO.

    If a nurse specializes in oncology, yet is a heavy smoker & carries the lingering odor as proof, then would not family members of a dying patient of lung adenocarcinoma be a little concerned... would they be passing judgement... I don't think so, but JMHO.

    If an RN specializes in bariatric surgery clients, then should this nurse be obese, too? On the otherhand, it is true we all have our own issues and nothing can replace compassion, nursing skills, and empathy for one another.

    Nonetheless, it is good that we all in our own way practice wellness & good health.

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