Is it normal to get sick a lot your first year of nursing?

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Is it normal to get sick a lot your first year of nursing?

Dear Nurse Beth,

Is it normal to or get sick a lot in your first year of nursing? I've been sick 3 times in 5 months (more than in the last 5 years), and now I'm really stressed that I could be written up or fired. My work always says not to come in if you're sick but I've worked in healthcare long enough to know they usually don't mean it, at least pre-Covid.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Sick 3 X,

I had the same experience. I began to notice that every time I was floated to Peds, especially, I would get sick about 3 days later. Good news- it does pass.

It could be your initial exposure to many illnesses for which you have no immunity. That combined with the stress of a new job can definitely result in you getting sick from all kinds of bugs.

Check your sick time policy so you know where you stand, and have a pre-emptive talk with your nurse manager. Tell her this is unusual for you and that you're normally healthy.

Most importantly- avoid touching your face. At all. Just make it an ironclad habit. Practice good hand hygiene and try to get enough rest. 

Your immune system will catch up.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

When I was new to full-time healthcare as an ER tech/paramedic, I lost my voice completely by the end of the third shift. Sore throat, snot, cough, the works. You will build a strong immune system. ? Just make sure you eat healthy, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of water — all those things to promote health and strength.