New nurse, asthma, Covid-19, What do I do?

Nurses COVID


So, I’ve got a big issue and I don’t really know what to do.

I’m 22 years old with asthma and have been working as a CNA for about 2 years. I was working in a nursing home and then COVID patients were being admitted. What made this matter concerning was that the facility didn’t have the appropriate and sufficient PPE for staff to be safe and protected. My asthma had been acting up( and still is) and led to me debating if I should continue to work or quit. Ultimately, I decided to quit my job because I feared being exposed to COVID and suffering the worst outcome due to my asthma. Currently, I’m in nursing school and graduate this December with an associate degree. Nobody knows what the future holds, if there will be a vaccine by the end of the year(doubt it), successful treatments, or a cure. Until there is a cure, COVID will be everywhere so really working in healthcare is going to expose you to it.

I know as a new nurse I can’t just graduate, completely work as something else(example: secretary, remote work, sales rep. ) until a treatment/cure is found(don’t even know when that will happen), and then apply for jobs as a nurse. I would lose my nursing skills and have a gap, which would look bad on my resume and to future employers. I am honestly really scared to work as a nurse knowing that my asthma makes me vulnerable to this disease and I could die. This pandemic has really made it difficult for people with pre-existing health conditions to work in healthcare. Right now every healthcare worker is being exposed to a disease that is highly contagious, has no effective treatment, and no cure.

This may sound like a stupid question but basically I’m asking if anyone has any ideas, suggestions, advice on what should I do about working as a nurse with my current health issue. Keep in mind I’m graduating with an associate degree in nursing and only have CNA and clinical experience. What nursing jobs/similar jobs to nursing/fields could I work that would "expose me the least" to COVID? The only “real solution” is to change careers to something “safer” but I really want to explore all my options before I take that route. Is anyone having the same problem as me? I appreciate any answers.

I would also like to thank all healthcare and essential workers for sacrificing their lives every day to keep everyone safe. Know you are appreciated and loved. ❤️

Old bat former ICU/CCU. Surgical ICU, Neuro ICU, psych nurse here::::

Now much of this depends on how large a city you live in. What about a site that does ophthalmology surgery. Of course you’d only find that in a big city most likely. Yes, you’d be pigeon holing yourself a bit. Again you’d want a hospital that does a real orientation for this speciality. Boston (MAss EYE and Ear) for example. Wills Eye (Philadelphia).

Post op floors for the few that still exist only if you have preceptors available.

Hi AnonNurse2012,

If you do want to be a nurse do not worry you will find work (even if you take time). I am in a different but similar boat (I had a c-section and still not fully recovered and have developed reactive arthritis (I am an older Mama) and allergy enduced asthma *hyper immuno response* & had a high risk pregnancy-- so yes, battling COVID-19 now would not be pretty right now -- plus my 4 month old would miss me! So I too am asking what do I do? My maternity leave is out of pocket and so this can not go on forever! I have been praying that better treatment will get here before I have to return to work. If I were you I would get my BSN or appy to a straight through masters MSN, FNP, DNP -- why not. I know people think it's crazy to get an advanced degree without first being an RN I TOTALLY disagree. (Doctors do it all the time -- that is their training, they don't stop to be mini-docs, OK, well they do intern, but you will do clinicals. You can also take practical classes PALS, ACLS, and if you are at all interested in psych take de-escalation courses for psych (I am a psych nurse). There is no reason for you to think employers will frown upon you taking time to get more credentials and work in another area. But also know that this new reality does include being careful of super-infections, so you may need to do some soul searching to see if nursing is really a field for you -- because it is about taking care of people. The advanced degrees will help you get into different areas (Nurse educator, Administrator, or private practice). I hope that helps -- and take care --what you are going through is completely understandable -- and you have many many options -- don't create a corner you are not painted into any corner -- empower yourself, remember this is your life -- You Decide! Not others! Best of luck!!

Specializes in adult ICU.

Congratulations on your ASN!! Mother-baby and NICU would be safer than med-surg, ER, ICU etc. An OB/GYN or cardiology office job. Or go on straight to BSN if you can wing it financially, by the time you're done, COVID will settle out and you'll be more marketable.

Specializes in Registered Nurse.

I soppose it largely depends on where you live and work. Perhaps some states or rural areas have less covid patients and it may be safer for you to practice there.

I work in the city, office or triage nursing, mostly telephone triage. However, I encountered patient's with covid in the primary care or office setting. It's not a covid office. It's not inpatient, but sometimes it's not avoidable. People with covid can be anywhere. I encountered patient's in police work, people working in the airports... And Yes, their results for covid testing was positive. The patient's did not come in for covid testing back in Feb and March. They came in for the flu, and ultimately were diagnosed with covid. I was furloghed so I don't know the frequency of this occuring now since many visits now are telemedine visits.

I just don't know if you can work in healthcare and not get exposed to covid, either from patient's, or other healthcare workers. Covid is now community spread. You may encounter this in any work place, not just healthcare. There are some areas in nursing where there may be less exposure, but it's not completely avoidable.

Those of us working in "non-COVID" areas (ambulatory, etc) are getting a very high incidence of accidental exposure. In fact they finally returned our PPE after repeated exposures. Our "screeners" are not clinical and they are missing the mark. So your choice is work and take the risk or don't work and take the risk. You just have to decide which choice you can live with.

BTW..many, many asthmatic nurses are still working including myself. I just take precautions.

+ Add a Comment