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Nursing with P.O.T.S..

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I'm feeling very discouraged right now. I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which is a manifestation of autonomic nervous system dysfunction AKA dysautonomia. This can be very disabling. I've wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember and I begin LPN school in January. But the fact is... I don't know if I can handle bedside nursing, if something doesn't change. I guess I've been in denial about it but tonight as being in walmart for 20 minutes made me feel really ill it just sort of hit me. I need to think this through. Finding that there was a board for this type of thing made me feel relieved and I plan on reading through it. But I just wanted to reach out.... is there a place in nursing for me, for somebody who has to live life at their own pace? Are there many options for people who don't do well with long periods of time on their feet?

I also have POTS. My case is not super severe but I sometimes become symptomatic. I take medication that helps. I have worked on an inpatient cardiac unit and am currently working in the ER. I think it would be a good idea to take your concerns to your MD and see what they can do for you. Good luck!

Thank you for the response. I'm treated with a beta blocker which helps keep my heart rate down, and it's effective but only if I'm not exerting myself. My blood pressure tends to really tank out. I don't even check it anymore but back when I was keeping records of it for my doctors, I would have orthostatic readings that were down in the 60s/50s, so needless to say I don't do too well with being on my feet for an extended amount of time. I will be going into the hospital in September for treatment due to not being able to keep down food and drink, and will undergo a lot of physical therapy during that time. I'm hoping things will improve after that, at this point being able to hydrate myself would probably help drastically and at least get me back to baseline. Even at baseline I'm afraid that I will have significant challenges in the work force and getting through clinicals in school.

I've decided to look into less physically demanding areas of nursing but I feel very clueless.

Straight No Chaser, ASN, LPN

Specializes in Sub-Acute & Long-Term Care Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

Hubby has this, although I don't think there was a name for it when he first got the symptoms, so he doesn't have the official dx. He has good and bad days, but has found that drinking a lot of Gatorade and eating a ton of salt make him feel a lot better.

SassyTachyRN

Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience.

I have POTS too. I left bedside nursing because it was becoming very, very difficult. I had dropped to prn and my POTS was becoming very bad. I've been a school nurse for over a year now and my POTS is the best it's been since my diagnosis and I'm able to work full time. You just have to find the right job that works for you.

Honestly I've given up on the hope of ever doing bedside nursing. Based on the trend of my POTS it never really gets better no matter what I do, however I can do things that help my tolerance to my symptoms and my strength. Got out of the hospital less than a month ago after an 11 day stay, and trying to be doing some walking every day to help build some endurance, as well as a change in my beta blocker dose. Assuming I go forward with it I will start school for LPN in January. It's hard to plan for the future right now to be honest. I'll find my way I hope.

Going on Monday to an information session and to get a background check. Finding out the following Friday if I'm accepted to the program and will have a week to give my response. I'm struggling with doubts as to whether I can handle it or not.

SassyTachyRN

Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience.

Going on Monday to an information session and to get a background check. Finding out the following Friday if I'm accepted to the program and will have a week to give my response. I'm struggling with doubts as to whether I can handle it or not.

How are you doing?

Sorry for the lack of response. The information session for that nursing program didn't go as I had expected. It became apparent within the first ten minutes of it that I was going to need a lot of money out of pocket that I don't have. More importantly, several times during the orientation the instructor put a lot of emphasis on that to do well in her program we needed to be in 100 percent good health, that it's a rigorous process to be approved for clinicals etc. I just had a foreboding feeling that maybe it's not for me right now due to how fragile my health is at this time. When it was all over I got up the courage to talk with the instructor one on one and let her know what my concerns are and explained to her my health issues. Her recommendation was that I try a CNA job first to see if I'm capable of handling the rigors of the field, and then she would be willing to let me take a shot in the program. I agreed and essentially gave up my spot in the program. She gave me her card and I was out the door.

I took the next few weeks to take a step back and re-evaluate. I even dropped the idea of nursing altogether and starting investigating degrees in totally unrelated things that I have casual interest in. None of those we under circumstances that could work out and I'm starting to feel that I shouldn't have completely let go of the medical field. I'm seriously thinking now about trying the CNA thing and trying to educate myself about it. Surprisingly, the job market in my area looks a lot more promising for CNAs/techs than it did for LPNs. I'm just so hesitant to take any chances that could jepardize the progress I've worked so hard for with my health. I don't really know what to do. I just want to find something I can apply myself to 100 percent and will be happy doing.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

You aren't going to know unless you try. I say try a CNA position and maybe start slower with a LPN program. I am glad you are feeling better.

SassyTachyRN

Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience.

You aren't going to know unless you try. I say try a CNA position and maybe start slower with a LPN program. I am glad you are feeling better.

I agree with Esme. Start slow. And remember there are lots of avenues in nursing other than bedside that you can do, don't give up. Glad you are doing better.

Hi I totally understand your concerns. I have been a LVN for about 25 years and about 6 months ago I had a cardiac arrest due to a genetic heart problem. I always had low energy and heart palpitations even when I started the program years ago, but got through the program. I have been working all these years, but now this happening gives me concerns too. I'm back to work now doing ok, but I have been working in a Dr. Office for years. I gave up bedside nursing along time ago. My opinion is bedside nursing is difficult even if your a healthy person. I think being a CNA is harder work than a LVN that is a real physical job. I think if you can find another interest or passion that you have might benefit you more in the long run. Years ago there were plenty of LVN jobs , but now days all anyone wants to hire is RN'S. I think having heart problems gives people high anxiety levels too, because I have worried about my future for years. If you really love the idea of being a LVN there are Dr. office and home care that would be less stressful. Nursing is a stressful job and if its concerning you this much before you have even started you might do some serious soul searching. I wish you the best of luck in your decision.

I've been doing some serious re-evaluating and soul searching. At this point I really feel that it wouldn't be best for me if I go into nursing. At least right now. It's so hard trying to figure out what I would be best at, especially after spending so much time in the "future nursing student" mentality. It's a journey I'm trying to grow with.... Exploring my options. It's hard because I don't know what I'm good at. I know the things I naturally gravitate towards but I don't know how to translate that into a tangible career option. You know?

My growing feeling has been that the most responsible thing for me to do would be to go for something besides nursing. About 1 out of 3 people I know of who are my age and just out of high school are going for nursing, so it's not like there's a shortage of people to aspire to do it. I've realized that my potential patients would deserve more than a nurse who's career choice is draining every bit of life out of her/ who just isn't in shape to do it well. I may still try a CNA class, but I'm really starting to think I should just find something that I can apply myself to 100 percent without making myself sick. It's not worth it to me anymore when I think about how much I struggle at times just doing the things normal people do. As heartbreaking as it is to me that something I used to be passionate about pursuing isn't worth it to me any more, I'm realizing how important it is that I really know what I want before investing a lot of money and time into something, especially something that puts the safety of others in my hands.

Edited by SarahAnnieB
to add details

Thank you for the response. I'm treated with a beta blocker which helps keep my heart rate down, and it's effective but only if I'm not exerting myself. My blood pressure tends to really tank out. I don't even check it anymore but back when I was keeping records of it for my doctors, I would have orthostatic readings that were down in the 60s/50s, so needless to say I don't do too well with being on my feet for an extended amount of time. I will be going into the hospital in September for treatment due to not being able to keep down food and drink, and will undergo a lot of physical therapy during that time. I'm hoping things will improve after that, at this point being able to hydrate myself would probably help drastically and at least get me back to baseline. Even at baseline I'm afraid that I will have significant challenges in the work force and getting through clinicals in school.

I've decided to look into less physically demanding areas of nursing but I feel very clueless.

Hello, I have had an issue with my blood pressure tanking for the last 7 years. I had to walk out of rooms during both my EMT and LPN clinicals whenever I felt I was going to pass out. It was extremely humiliating. I thought at first it was blood sugar related, but after a few episodes, we took my blood sugar and it was fine. My BP, however, was extremely low. I even had thoughts of "what if I am just not cut out for seeing certain things?" I spent years as an EMT and have seen just about every horrible sight you can imagine, so I refused to believe that was the cause.

I finally went to a cardiologist last month and she, at first, recommended a beta blocker, but I was worried that it would only aim to further lower my BP, so instead I take a vasoconstrictor. Viola! It's working so far!

Don't give up on your nursing dreams because of your issue just yet. It may be that you need to go through trial and error to find the right med.

Thank you so much for your response. It's nice to hear from someone that knows where I'm coming from. I am on propranolol, which helps me a lot, but not when it comes to strenuous activity. And now I have found out that I may have a genetic issue called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which causes faulty connective tissue, may be causing my POTS, and can be degenerative on the joints. In physical therapy to try to help. No official dx yet.

I will say I haven't tried a vasoconstrictor. Might be something worth looking into.

It's like every time I try to look into other careers, health care is what I always come running back to. But I still make no progress in moving forward with anything, like I'm stuck. :/

kitzela

Has 8 years experience.

Its never too late to go back . I have POTS too. I thought I couldn't be a nurse because I have EDS and POTS, too so I didn't pursue it out of high school. But when I was in my 30's I decided I wasn't going to let it stop me any more. I went back to school and have been a nurse for 6 years now. If healthcare is what you want, find something you can do. nursing has so many options. School is hard but doable.

I too have POTS and EDS! It has affected my nursing career in so many ways, but like others mentioned there are so many forms of nursing that I wouldnt let it stop you!

I had to take a semester off from nursing school because my OI was so bad. I was terrified I would graduate and be unable to work, but I pushed through and found creative ways around things!! I wear waist high 30-40mmhg grade compression stockings to work, and they have been the biggest lifesaver. I definitely couldnt do my job without them!!! I drink water constantly and load up on sodium. When choosing a job I took many things into consideration, but primarily the temperature in the unit. I turned down 2 job offers because I felt the unit was too hot. I chose my current unit because it is freezing cold and very small (only 10 beds). The nurses station is steps away from the patients rooms. I make sure to sit EVERY chance I get, and when I start getting dizzy I chug water like I might never drink again!!

All of these things have helped me do my jon up until this point. Unfortunately I am experiencing worsening OI in addition to all the stress at work. I am realistic enough to know I need to make a change, though it is a hard decision for me to accept. I feel a bit like I have failed, though I know there are many other areas of nursing I could enjoy. Currently I am looking into home health or hospice. Physically I believe these jobs would be much less challenging.

Long story short- I believe it is possible with persistence to accomplish your goals, and I believe there are nursing careers that are more POTS and EDS friendly. I say go for it if it is something you feel you would enjoy!! :)

smile_through_it I have POTS too, and am in graduate school and am working full time as an ER nurse. It is HORRIBLE. I have good days and bad days, but tend to have more bad days, and it is frustrating. Looking for a new job.