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Overweight Nurse?

Pre-Nursing   (20,600 Views 64 Comments)
by MissKatie MissKatie (New Member) New Member

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sdwmb specializes in home health, public health, Parrish nsg.

20 Posts; 1,801 Profile Views

As in other aspects of life, you could expect subtle and not so subtle discrimination. One morbidly obese nurse could only find work from someone who was "accepting" (but with a price). Some people find it acceptable to make derogatory comments to, or in front of, the obese nurse.

How horrible, there is no excuse for discremination. I have had older people accuse me of being lazy or stupid because I am fat. Really? I just go on with my life, or turn it into a joke while passive/agressive letting them know they are wrong to say stuff like that. What is so funny is that when they come back they request me.

As far a employees and coworkers that ticks me off!

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4 Posts; 576 Profile Views

I rarely post on here but your story touched my heart. I too am morbidly obese and desperately wanted to be a nurse. For years my family would encourage me to go back to school and get my degree in nursing. I always had an excuse but to be honest ... I didn't think I could do it at my weight. I always told myself, "when I lose weight THEN I'll go back to school." Twenty years later ... yes, TWENTY years later I was still waiting ... and miserable because I wasn't doing what I dreamed of doing. I was not living up to my potential. I got more and more depressed and heavier and heavier instead of thinner and thinner. One day I decided that enough was enough ... thinner was not going to come right now but I could start taking classes and see how that worked out. I could move forward even at my weight of 275 pounds (5'2). So at age 42 I took two online classes.... and guess what? Even at 275 lbs and age 42, I WAS SMART!! Wow did that make me feel good! I applied for FA and in the Fall I started full-time at the local community college and worked on my prereqs. I applied to nursing school two years later with a 3.89 average (my school admits strictly on grades) and got accepted to one of the top schools in my state! I was on my way ... and boy was I scared!! Could I do this? Could I pull this off?

Well ... I am happy to say that I will be starting my Senior year in a few weeks. Has my weight been an issue? Sure! I went home with aching feet and sore knees after every clinical but you know what? I made it through! I just kept pushing!

After my second semester I needed to make a decision about what to do over the summer. Many of my classmates got jobs at hospitals. I decided that this summer was going to be the "Summer of Me!" I joined the local YMCA, recruited my sister to join with me and have spent the last 2 1/2 months exercising and changing my eating. I have lost 16 pounds and feel great! I am stronger than ever and feel confident that even at my current weight of 257 lbs (still morbidly obese) that I will be more able to handle the next year.

I just keep telling myself (and anyone who will listen) that I feel that this is the path I am supposed to be on and that God has not put me on this path to fail ... I WILL get a job after graduation and it WILL be the job that my body can handle ... overweight or not! I love people and I love helping people and that will outshine any weight issue I have!

Good luck on your path!

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coonkine has 1 years experience.

41 Posts; 2,644 Profile Views

I remember I used to worry about this too.

The best solution? Lose the weight.

I'm not trying to sound mean or anything but losing weight really is the best thing to do for yourself. You just have to be really motivated and commit, no matter how hard it gets/what condition you have. Most importantly, you have to do it for yourself - no excuses, like no time, more expensive.

And I'm saying this from personal experience. I went from 400 to currently 200 (I'm 6'3 - still working on it), using diet and exercise (DDR anyone? haha). My aunt has the same condition and has lost 85 pounds so far. If we can do it, so can you! Good luck [=

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400 Posts; 10,646 Profile Views

When I first wanted to get into nursing, I applied at a 3 yr hospital run diploma program, in 1981. I was rejected because "my weight was not in relation to my height" or words to that effect. (It would have been if I was 7 feet tall!) I then decided on a private LPN school and was accepted. During the last trimester of school, I developed gallbladder disease and lost 40# and 50"...I was looking good. Had my chole in 1983 and couldn't button my pants 6 days later when I was discharged.(No diet restrictions after surgery and NO decent food for 8 months-had to make up for lost time.) I've always been obese, but due to a back injury in 1990, became disabled for 13 years and super morbidly obese, gaining 100# during that time. When I couldn't find any work when my disability ran out, I reluctantly returned to nursing in an AL facility. The orientation alone damn near killed me! Of course, the LPN orienting me was not organized so we had a lot of running to do to for 12 hours. Finally on one run, I told her to go without me. I couldn't wait to start on my quiet night shifts. I thought alot about weight loss surgery, even researched it to a degree. When I started in a different AL place, a year later I had weight loss surgery. It was the best thing I ever did. I lost 162# and was amazed at how much better I could do my job, not having all that extra weight to haul around.

So it is possible to get through nursing school as an obese person...not easy, but possible.

Best of luck to you in your endeavors.

:smokin:

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31 Posts; 1,695 Profile Views

I currently weigh 250 and I'm 5'4, which puts me well over a BMI of 40.

I'm a 200 level student, which means I'm only halfway through. I've been going to clinicals for about a year.

So. Some things I've learned:

Get some really good sneakers, and get some Dr. Scholl's gel pads to put inside. There is absolutely no way to avoid being on your feet all day, so nice, comfortable shoes are worth twice their weight in gold.

You are almost certainly going to see your feet swell up. This is not limited to overweight nurses - I have a classmate who's a hair over 100 pounds, and her feet still swell up. When you go and get your uniform, buy support hose as well. These are socks that go all the way up to the knee, and fit very tightly. They'll prevent the swelling. They'll also cost about six bucks a pair. I don't use mine for anything but clinicals.

You are going to be up and down constantly. You should start doing exercises now to strengthen your knees, like squats. They suck, but they help in the long run. My knees hurt all the time until I started focusing on exercising them.

Work out your upper body, too. When it comes time to shift an obese patient, no one is going to care that you're obese too. What they care about is whether or not you can lean across the bed, grab that pad, and help haul the patient onto the gurney.

Student scrubs are built on the boxiest, least flattering lines possible. They cost a buttload, and they shrink the first time you wash them. Make sure the top is big enough that you can swing your arms all around and still have some looseness across your breasts. I've got a great big belly, so I also made sure that my top was long enough to cover it, which is especially nice when I'm swollen up with my period. Also, make sure you can squat down in your pants.

If you're lucky enough to observe surgery, you'll have to borrow surgical scrubs. Get a size larger than you think you need. I spent my first hour of surgical observation praying that no one realized how *tight* my pants were.

As for how people regard you...

Some people are going to be horrible. They'd be horrible anyway. If your weight is your most noticeable feature, they'll focus on that. If you had extremely bad acne, they'd focus on that instead.

Some patients are going to dismiss your advice because you are overweight. They're ignoring the fact that you're not speaking as an overweight person, but as a nurse. Dismissing advice because the adviser is overweight is just as stupid as dismissing it because the adviser is a woman. Being fat doesn't magically negate your education. Being a nurse doesn't magically mean you're a healthy person.

The important thing is that you be able to do your job and take care of your patients in a safe, efficient manner. I've never had a problem doing this.

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2 Posts; 704 Profile Views

I'm a chubby nurse as 225 lbs and 5'2 and the worst problem I have is I sweat something awful.

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I weighed 345 pounds when I completed nursing school. I am 5'11" so I know that I will never weigh 120 pounds. During my first month as a nurse on a Cardiac Unit, I was teaching a patient about a low fat diet. He calmly told me " I'm not the only one who needs to be on a low fat diet." With that, I went down 5 flights of stairs and walked back up all flights!!! I could not breath and my heart was racing. I decided that night that I would become a better example to my patients. It took 1 year to take off 175 pounds. No diets, pills or surgeries. I simply did the 5 flights of stairs during each shift (which only takes 3-4 minutes at first) , 50 push ups, 50 sit ups and 50 leg lifts every day. I modified my diet very little. Instead of dieting, I would do an extra set of exercises for each bread or dessert I ate. This not only made me think twice about a dessert but made me more mindful of what I did eat. This all took place in 1994 and today I stay between 175-190 using the same method to this day.

Good luck with nursing school and remember that it is a constant battle but a battle that can be won!!!!

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ddv106 specializes in School, LTC, OB, LNC, Instructor, etc.

33 Posts; 1,988 Profile Views

Hi MissKate,

You are not alone. My mom used to complain that the wind would blow me away. Since childhood, I have lost and gained elephants in my life. As a nurse, I am always trying to eat well and exercise. But I did not take the time for me. I have had a break or meal in the past that I can count on 1 hand. Eating regular is important. But as nurses we are always going to do it after one more thing I need to do. Also I worked shift work, mostly 11-7 and did not eat right.

Weight Watchers is great because it is a lifestyle change and not a diet. Diets don't work, changes that last do work. The program shows you how to eat regular food in a balance that is healthy. No drinks, pills, shakes, just your regular food that you buy in the supermarket. I have done great with it and it is something that has become part of my life. I can look at a portion and the palm of my hand and know if it is too much or too little. I eat well and I am not hungry. I found a fun way to exercise. I go to the YMCA, not expensive for membership and they have varying hours. I use the pool. There I exercise in the pool and walk. As a nurse, I have enough pressure pounding my body and this is refreshing. I also meet great people while having fun. Remember, we are a work in progress. Like yourself, no matter if you are large or small. If you don't like yourself and have a relationship with your inner being, you will have difficulty succeeding at anything.

Good luck to you and take one day at a time. If you mess up today or eat too much, start over with a new day tomorrow. Don't forget, we are here to support each other. Oh something I just thought of, I know many nurses eat the young nurses alive, but they really don't taste good at all. Laugh, Smile!!!!

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nursedora specializes in Med/Surge, Geriatrics(LTC), Pediatricts,.

105 Posts; 2,012 Profile Views

We all have given you advise based on our own personal experiences. Some of us "fatty's" have not had any bad experiences for the most part, some of us have. The bottom line is, if you are healthy, being fat or overweight isn't all that big a deal, but if your weight is a hinderance to your job, and you are not healthy because of it, then it is a big deal.

Find your target size. Mind you I didn't say weight, because muscle weights more than fat, so you may end up being a solid 200 #'s, but still be fit and lean. When you can climb the five flights of stairs without getting winded, or if you can reach across the bed to move that 400# dead weight body, or whatever our job entails, then you've accomplished a goal.

Making sure your uniforms/scrubs fit comfortably is one key thing! No, they aren't all that flattering, my student uniform had an extra apron that kept getting in the way, but student uniforms are only for a short time, the ones to worry most about are the ones you wear daily. Try them on before you buy them. For your first ones, try to stay away from mail order, and go to Wal-Mart or someplace where you can try them on, do the mix and match, so you have comfortable uniforms that fit. Tops should be a little baggy in the arms and belly area, so you have plenty of movement, and the pants should be baggy in the seat so you can squat in them. And then if your facility allow's a scrub jacket, this too should have plenty of room in the arms.

And as someone else said, diets don't work, but a lifestyle change does. In our proffession, we don't always have the luxury of eating a meal when we want to or need to for that matter, so, on the times you have grab something and go, make it a healthy choice. Stay away from the soda pops, and sport drinks, coffee, anything with caffine in it. Drink plenty of plain ordinary water. Fruit juice will help give energy. Eat foods high in fiber, whole grains. Limit red meats, when you do eat meat, make that the smaller portion, and the vegies and garden salad the larger portions. Snack on carrot sticks and celery. Any raw vegies, skip the ranch dip though, go for a sprinkle of lemon juice instead. And as much as you want to just sit when you get home, get moving! Go for a walk, or a bike ride, or as another said, go for a swim. When you want to just sit, and it's not bed time, get active. This too will give you energy. Again, our line of work is rough on the body, we have to be double diligent to keep active and healthy. In the end, it's worth it, not only so our pts will listen to us, but for our own health.

My big thing is stay away from caffine to give you that boost, it doesn't realy, it just makes you think you are alert, and awake. Drink plenty of water, about 2quarts a day, and fruit juice. This will give you the consistant energy for the day. Get proper rest. And eat the foods high in fiber, carbs, protiens. Don't deprive your body the nutrients it needs thinking you are dieting. Remember that Atkin's diet that was popular a few years ago? Well, you see it's not popular anymore. Why? Because it deprives your body of the balance of nutrients you need. And everyone I know who went on that diet, ended up with major GI and cardiac health problems, that are irreversable. So, stay away from "fad" diets. Develop a good nutrition based diet that consists of all the food groups in the amounts recommended. A piece of chocolate cake once in a while isn't going to hurt. It's when you eat the whole cake that it hurts. And as women, we only need about 1200 calories a day.

I hope we all didn't overwhelm you, and you can gleen some of what each of us offers to fit your lifestyle.

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dbscandy has 37 years experience and specializes in Renal; NICU.

116 Posts; 4,400 Profile Views

Misskatie, I am obese (now about 300lbs) and have been since I was a candy-striper 42 yrs ago. I became an LPN, won the Clinical Nursing award and began working in a multi-trauma ICU. From there after a year, I was recruited by the Nephrologist of the first hemodialysis unit in my city. After 5yrs, having gone back to school for my ADN, I became DON of that unit + our acute care unit..

In 1984, I moved to FL and was DON of another dialysis unit for three yrs then moved into NICU, where I still reside now after 22 years.

During all these years, I have successfully lost wt many times, and have successfully gained it back. I have prayed for about 6 mths of anorexia, have liquid-fasted for 6mths (twice) and am now back where I started.

(Please don't write any advice to me, folks. Been there, done that, can write a book...and still struggling).

Misskatie, what I want to say in this long story is that through all these years, I knew my stuff. I studied hard, excelled in clinicals and made my mark. I never let my fat get in the way of my abilities & knowledge as a nurse. I could climb on the bed for CPR with the tiniest of them, push those beds, roll those patients and sweat my butt off.

I never let it be said that I could not pull my weight (ROFL) when it came to any job.

I simply went in to each place with the assumption and personal assurance that I belonged. "I'm here to learn, teach me and you won't be sorry".

You are going to meet walls; sadly, some of them will be your instructors, some your patients, some nurses who are supposed to train you. You will have days of tears and frustrations which will make you want to just walk out. Hey, guess what...skinny nurses do too!!! But don't you dare!!! You belong and you deserve it as much as anyone!

As you go along, always try to make yourself comfortable. If your uniforms don't fit, look until you find some which do. If you sew, make them. If you can't, find someone who will make them for you. Always be clean, fresh and keep clean neat hair. Society looks at overwt people and just expects them to be smelly and unclean. Don't be. If you are in a class/clinical and feel icky, keep hygeine items in your purse/locker and refresh yourself.

Try to keep as fit as you can for you will have to move, stoop, crawl, climb, walk, run and push those damn beds. It will be expected that you can keep up physically, mentally and emotionally. I know you can, for I did it, and many, many others in your shoes have done it, too.

Hold your head up, smile and march right on in and make them want you to be their nurse!

Good luck and keep us posted.:nurse:

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dbscandy has 37 years experience and specializes in Renal; NICU.

116 Posts; 4,400 Profile Views

Oh yeah, one more thing...try to stay off night shift!!! As much as I love it, it's a killer for some people!!!:uhoh3:

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SallyEisen specializes in none.

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It is important to acknowledge your own "short comings" and take corrective actions. You can get some ideas by searching on top of the allnurses.com by entering "overweight".

There is a requirement for the job of lifting 50 lbs. If you can handle the prereqs and nursing classes, why not.

Aim high? All that excess weight is not GOOD for you anyway.

Best wishes.

Sally

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