The short version: I'm 2 semesters away from finishing my RN (got my LPN in Dec). I have refractory gastroparesis and multiple other GI issues (possible GI failure, esophageal and intestinal dysmotility, malabsorption, etc). I'm constantly in the ER for rehydration, so we'd planned to put in a port for home IV hydration, but now they're talking about trying a j-tube instead (there are a million reasons we didn't go tube first, and we're not sure it's the best option now, but for brevity's sake....)

My question is: is it possible to work with a tube? Does anyone know anyone who has done it? I know I need to do whatever it takes to maximize my health in order to finish school and work as a nurse, but I'm scared that having a tube will keep me from getting a job and accomplishing everything I worked SO hard for....

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

I don't see where it would be an employer's business if you have a tube, unless it interferes substantially with your ability to meet the expectations of your job. Obviously, you'd have to be careful not to get into situations where the tube could be inadvertently pulled out (ouch), but that's true for anybody who has one.

I think you can do this. :yes: Wishing you the very best!


17 Posts

Last year my school told me I couldn't come in if I was doing an NJ trial (which never happened, but again, long story)...maybe because NJ would come out more easily? That makes sense....I want this SO BAD--I have overcome so much and gotten so far, I don't want a stupid tube (which would be keeping me alive!) to keep me from achieving my dreams....thanks for the encouragement.

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.

I can see a difference in NJ that is visible and ready to be pulled by a "grabby" patient vs a skin level JT that can be covered by clothing/uniform. Agree with Viva


156 Posts

Specializes in Early Intervention, Nsg. Education. Has 27 years experience.

Hi Chanie911,

If you're receiving J feeds 24/7, you can use a Zevex Infinity pump with 500ml bags and a waist pack. It's possible to tuck in and tape down tubes so that nothing can be seen. If you're not getting feeds during your work hours, you might want to look into a low-profile button. If you put a tegaderm over it, it will be virtually "un-grabbable" by patients.

The Oley Foundation is an excellent resource for people of all ages on enteral and parenteral feeds. If you have questions or you're looking for any suggestions, there are toll-free numbers as well as email addresses for you to contact other people who are in a similar situation as yours.Take Care!

(Mercury's Mom, who has sported "accessories" for 10 years, including separate G and J tubes, ileostomy, and double lumen Hickman for PN as a result of GP and CIPO r/t smooth muscle myopathy.)


17 Posts

Thanks for this....I also have GP and CIPO (and esophageal hypomotility) but mine is enteric neuropathy (not myopathy--which seems to make a big difference when it comes to treatment options....). I'm actually very familiar with Oley (also ASPEN)--I used to get Peptamen OS from their supply exchange when it was still around (insurance wouldn't cover it).....

They ended up changing their mind about the tube....my malabsorption is too severe (combined with IgA deficiency which makes a tube at least double the infection-risk). Going for another workup after this semester ends at the end of July, but the consensus seems to be that I have too many conflicting comorbidities to come up with a solid plan.

Doing my best anyway....I didn't come this far to give up!