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In need of career advice

Posted
1137o 1137o (New) New

Hello everyone,

I'm in desperate need of some career advice. I'm about to enter my fourth year of nursing school. I've worked as a tech for the last year and a half, and I loved the job, just as I loved the first three years of nursing school. Unfortunately, about six months ago, I got JP fluid from an HIV+ patient splashed in my eye. Ever since then, I've been absolutely terrified to catch something from my patients. People I work with have shared their stories of exposure scares, but don't seem to have ever felt as paranoid as I do now. I don't enjoy working anymore. I'm constantly imagining body fluid splashing on my face and into my eyes even when I know I am safely handling body fluids, or that there would be no reasonable way for me to get exposed. I've had several panic attacks thinking about my imaginary exposures. Logically, I know I'm being ridiculous. I've even researching HIV and transmission statistics, further proving that I am being ridiculous, but I can't seem to shake my phobia. I've started looking into other majors, but nothing attracts my attention and passion as much as nursing used to. I've gone past being wary and I'm absolutely and cripplingly terrified. I don't know what to do.

Does your company have employee assistance? Sometimes working through something that you know is illogical with a professional is helpful.

Does your company have employee assistance? Sometimes working through something that you know is illogical with a professional is helpful.

I have spoken to someone and we discussed my fears and how unlikely it is that I would ever become infected. It has yet to alleviate my fear and anxiety.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

Sometimes more is needed to deal with a situation like yours. Your best bet is to talk to your primary care physician about your fears and see if s/he thinks a referral to a mental health professional might be appropriate. That person will evaluate you and may suggest a course of medication and/or therapy. It's worth a try because it sounds like you want to stay in this career, yet this is not getting better for you.

FWIW, I got bitten by an HIV+ patient many years ago when I was working in the hospital. I was very upset and scared at first and had a debriefing with my managers, which didn't really do much for me. But as time passed and my blood tests kept coming back negative, I was able to get past it. You will too. ((((HUGS))))