Published Oct 16, 2003
I was just wondering how many of you out there in the "older" age groups are still working a med/surg floor, and how you cope with the ever-increasing physical demands. Sometimes when I get off my shift, I feel 85 rather than almost 45.....my back aches ferociously, my feet are burning, and I limp so badly that I've been asked more than once if I've sprained something. Of course, things would go better if I were about 100# lighter, and I'm working on that, but I was 40# heavier than I am now when I first worked med/surg six years ago, and didn't have as many problems then.
Now, I've already done the sit-down jobs in nursing, and didn't like it......I'm absolutely delighted with my 8-hour, part-time position on the floor, and have NO intention of leaving it. But I'm having so much trouble handling the physical part of it---I can perform the actual work, it's after my shift that I hurt so much, I'm wondering how much longer I'm going to be able to do this.
I'm hoping my new orthotics will help, along with the Ultram I'm taking for pain. But other than these things---along with losing some weight---how do I keep doing this for another 15 or 20 years? Or can I even reasonably expect to?
Not me. I figured out a while back that there is no way I could keep up the pace and laborous activities in M/S. I would like to retire one day and enjoy myself. My goal is not to end my career under LTD.
jnette, ASN, EMT-I
OK... heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere I GO !!!
I'm starting my orientation to the med/surge floor this Saturday... AFTER my 7hours from 0400-1100 on my "short" day at dialysis (we have 2-3 short days, and 2-3 long days).
Did all the boring orientation with the suits for the past two days.. now I get to start on the unit.
Yep, I'm one of the golden oldies.. 54. But I WANT to do this ! On TOP of my fulltime hours at dialysis... but I'll only be doing PRN on med/surge... (AFTER my 4 week orientation consisting of every chance I get after work and on my days off)..after that's over, then perhaps once a week maybe twice a week occasionally. But I figure there's NO WAY it can be anymore backbending, backbreaking, and running than it is in dialysis ! If any of you have ever worked dialysis, you'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about !:stone
So.. that said... yes, I'm just starting on med/surge... in addition to my fulltime job ! MED/SURGE IS WHERE IT'S AT !!!
I'll get back with you all in a few months to let ya know what I think...
Tweety, BSN, RN
44 years young and have always been in med-surg. Right now I'm doing charge on a med-tele unit, but am constantly called for the pulling and tugging. For me what works is a steady exercise program that includes upper body and especially back. And yoga class twice a week. The only way to keep up with the physical demands is to stay in shape imho.
VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN
That's great Tweety, but I'm not even IN shape.......what kind of back exercises do you do? That's my weakest spot, always has been since I cracked my tailbone in three different places as a teenager and had a compression fx in my early 30s. (I had 2 different chiropractors tell me I'd be in a wheelchair by the age of 25 if I didn't keep up my treatments, but as much of a hurtin' unit as I am now, I'm a loooooong way from being that bad off.) I'm also female and VERY overweight, so I need recommendations for a safe, sane exercise program that doesn't demand too much in the beginning, or I'll get sore and give it up.
First, your foot burning and limping sounds much like my feet problem. Doctor told me I have Plantars Fasciitis which is the need for me to ice and exercise the feet on a DAILY basis as often as I can. Today, my feet are killing me....the burning, the limping, especially with my right foot. Ice and Tylenol help, but Tylenol puts me to sleep. Don't mind the sleep as long as I don't have to work AND take Tylenol.
Okay...to your wonderful question about working med/surg....
I'm on a floor that is suppose to be all about the heart, but it's all about med/surg and then some. I'm comfortable with Med/Surg units since I started my nursing career on med/surg, traveled as a traveling nurse on med/surg, and worked lots of agency on med/surg. I have NO regrets for starting on med/surg because if a nurse can work med/surg, she/he can work just about any unit. Med/Surg is a specialty in and of itself. Today's med/surg entails dealing with multiple diagnoses which is a little more challenging than when I worked med/surg years ago before returning to nursing. If you are a med/surg nurse........honey, say it with pride because you are no doubt working your arse off every shift you work.
At 51, I don't think I'm anymore wore out than when I started as a nurse in my mid-thirties......HOWEVER.....the abuse of the nursing staff is FARRRRRRRRRRRRR worse today than I remember.
The only pain I really feel is my feet. If it weren't for my feet, I wouldn't feel any worse for the wear.
I have good days, and bad days...more bad than good most times. The mental stresses of the job are what gets me...NOT the physical so much. And....being older now...the hormones are all over the place, hubby is overseas so I don't have any outlet to release my pent up emotions on (if you know what I mean), and so I do experience plenty of jittery moments while on duty, especially when I have patients and their family members who behave like spoiled brats and expect me to produce what they want YESTERDAY!
I do it, but very reluctantely..believe me! I never liked M/S even while in school, and my attitude toward it after 23yrs, hasn't changed a bit! :chuckle
Oh GOODY !!!
Tweety and Cheerful... my M/S unit is divided in two halls. One is Telemetrty Med, the other post-op surgical. I'll be working both, of course. Might give you two a "HELLLLLLP!" now and then as I've never done a telemetry floor... didn't have that when I was on med/surge in the military. "Course, we didn't have pagers back then, either, or computers, or answering machines, or CDs... heck 4-tracks were the THING !!! :chuckle
So lots of new stuff to learn... and watch, and ASK about...
and ASK I SHALL !!!
The mental stresses are what made me leave management and full-time work and go back to med/surg on a part-time basis. Of course, there is mental work involved here, lots of critical thinking, but I don't take it home with me as I do the physical stresses! I thank God every time I have a bad shift that I can at least go home after my 8 hours and not deal with it again until my next shift, unlike when I had 24/7 responsibility for up to 40 residents/patients in the nursing home, was on call all the time, and worked 14-hour days sometimes......all without a cent of extra pay.
I know what you mean about the hormones......I'm in the middle of the "change" myself, but Paxil and Ativan are wonderful helpers and I'm on a fairly even keel emotionally. No, it's the physical discomfort that makes me wonder what I'll do when I can no longer handle the lifting and running and being on my feet for hours at a time. I agree, the patient loads can get ridiculous, although it's better now where I work than it used to be, and I rarely have more than 4 pts. by myself or 6 with an aide. I'll be OK for a few more years, I think, especially if I don't have to go to 12 hour shifts like almost everyone else has. I just worry because I doubt I'll get much past 50 before I have to do something else, and I know I'll never be able to afford to retire....got started way too late in life, hubby makes about a third of what I do, and we're not even done with child-rearing. Oh well, too soon old, too late smart!
hey jnette..........I also worked a long time in military hospitals.
I am 47 and got out of Med-Surg when I was 40. My body felt like yours when I was done. I needed a day to recover after every day I worked. Look for something else, even if it takes you a while to find something you think you'll like. Good luck!
I'm actually thinking of going to critical care at some point. I float to the ICU on occasion, and I like the 1:1 or 1:2 ratios, as well as the opportunity to give the excellent care I know I'm capable of providing (just not to 4-6 pts.!!). I also enjoy OB-GYN, and the pt. load there is also do-able (usually no more than 2 couplets or 3 GYN surgical pts.), but I'm afraid I'd get bored if I were to work there all the time, and I really don't think I want to do L & D.
I haven't made up my mind yet, I just know I want to stay with the organization I'm with now (benie's are terrific compared with other companies I've worked for) and the hospital that's like a second home to me (it's where I always end up when I'm sick of working elsewhere).
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