Missing Distal Phalange of forefinger, will I still be a qualified nurse?


I lost the distal phalange of my right index finger when I was working on a farm and encountered unagreeable heifer. Now I am back in the city taking pre-reqs for nursing school and am worried that this mishap might enter with my qualifications as a nurse, most importantly dexterity in IV administration/catherization. Does anyone know a nurse with a similar defect who can perform these duties well? Does anyone have an opinion in general?


948 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about your mishap!

I think it will depend on how proficient you have become in using your middle finger in place of your index finger. I can think of several instances off the top of my head where I do use the tip of my index finger, mostly for gripping things between my finger and thumb such as a bottle of insulin, an IV cannula, or a large syringe when I administer a med or flush per peg tube, just to name a few. However, if you have gotten to the point where you can substitute your middle finger for you index finger when you need to grip something, then I don't know why you should give up on being a nurse altogether. Maybe you could talk to someone at your school about your concern and they could arrange for you to shadow a nurse while he/she is working so that you can see for yourself what it would be like. Maybe they would even let you hold some items to get a feel for if you are comfortable with it.

Best of luck to you!


38,333 Posts

In a tight spot, you could ask a colleague to do a task for you and you could offer to do something for them in return. Done all the time when people need help with something.

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

3,723 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

I had a lady in my LPN school who had Ectrodactyly (sometimes referred to as the “Lobster-Claw Syndrome) on her right hand, she had what might be considered a thumb (which was much larger than most, it seemed to be maybe it was the thumb, index and middle fingers blended into one, and the other was where the ring finger was..which that appeared to be the ring and pinky fingers merged into one). She was very capable of doing every task those of us who had 5 fingers on both hand were.

Although I don't know how long it has been since you've had your accident, but I'm willing to bet you've adjusted and have worked out ways to do something that normally needs an index finger. I don't see missing part of your finger as a reason that you could not be a nurse :) best of luck!


9 Posts

I have a friend that I worked with and she only had 3 fingers on each hand....she is now a RN and has no problems...maybe you can learn to use your other hand for IV's and caths