Dear Nurse Beth,
I'm actually only a sophomore in High school. I've wanted to be a nurse since I was little, but recently I've been second guessing it. I'm scared that I can't perform all the "dirty work" like pooping, vomiting, blood, wounds, diaper changing. My question is, can you out grow that? Can a somewhat squeamish person survive nursing school? Thanks so much!!
That's such a good question. Some people assume that nurses and doctors aren't affected by bodily fluids, sights and smells...but we are.
Almost every nurse I know has an "Achille's heel"- for me, it's sputum. But no patient would ever know that it makes me queasy to look at their sputum specimen sitting in a cup waiting for me to label and send to the Lab. Why?
It's not that I've outgrown my aversion- I've learned to manage it.
When needed, I mentally switch to professional nurse-think. It's as if I'm instantly this non-reactive professional person who doesn't flinch at anything. My desire to maintain my patient's dignity and prevent them from ever feeling embarrassed overrides everything else. We nurses applaud post-op patients who pass gas and have productive coughs.
If this is the only concern holding you back...don't worry. Nursing is so much more than bodily fluids and functions. Get good grades and keep us posted.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!