Question About Nursing

Nurses General Nursing


I have a quick question I want to pose to this board about nursing. My wife is almost done with school. She'll be pinning in a could weeks, and we've been talking about where and how much she'll work. She really likes the ER, but her working in the ER scares me from an infectious disease perspective. She doesn't have the best immune system in the world, and I'm concerned that a: she'll catch everything under the sun, and b: bring it home to the kids (5 ranging in ages 1-9).

She's telling me that if you talk to anyone in the field they'll tell you that being a floor nurse makes you more likely to catch something. That doesn't seem to make sense to me because at least you know what's going on there whereas in the ER, you could be treating something with something pretty nasty and not even know it.

The other part of that conversation is how much to work. We'll be moving to a bigger city in about a year. She's concerned that if she waits a year to start working that will cause issues with all the continuing education a nurse is suppose to do. I can't recall what she called it.

Some information would be very helpful. Thanks

Specializes in Acute care, Community Med, SANE, ASC.

I can't really say if the likelihood of infection is higher in the ER or on the floor but perhaps someone else can address that.

However, I would not suggest she wait a year to start working. The first year of nursing is hard enough but I think taking a year off would make it even harder--I think it could make it a little more difficult for her to be hired.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

Are you in the medical field? Your wife should be able to work where she wants. As a nurse, it is inevitable to be exposed to things, especially as a bedside provider. Unless you've stepped in her shoes AS A NURSE, you are coming across as very controlling.


22 Posts

I have been a nurse for 8 years, I can say unequivocally that I get sick much less often than my husband of two years, who is also very healthy. I work with very sick (from an infectious disease perspective) patients in the ICU/CCU. The good thing about an ER nurse is that you may be exposed to a lot, but not for any extended period of time as we are in the ICU/CCU. I actually think that constant small exposures to bugs RAISE immunity over time, perhaps that is why I just don't catch things easily. Even my first year, I was sick no more than normal.

If a nurse sticks to the prescribed standard/contact/airborne precautions, there is no reason he or she should even be exposed to what's out there. Few contagious diseases in this country are dangerous, except for tuberculosis, and that, one is constantly checked for (yearly PPDs). I work with nurses who have lupus and other autoimmune diseases which requrie immunosuppressive therapy, and they are just fine.

I hope this alleviates your concerns. There is truly not much to worry about.



195 Posts

I would definitely not wait a year; skills grow rusty with disuse.

Re: infection...If it is a big concern for you, maybe your wife can take some precautions: vitamins for her own immune system, changing clothes (and SHOES!) before coming in the house, showering right away after work.

When all is said and done, nursing is a hard job, and while your feelings count somewhat, she is the one who needs to be in the department she loves, and if that's the ED, so be it.


985 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

As far as working, if she has as much luck as some of the other new grads on this board, she may not have to worry, as some jobs are far and few in between, especially with new grads. If someone is going to give her a chance, then tell her to go for it!


14,633 Posts

Hospitals are full of "bugs," wherever you go in the hospital -- I've never (in 25 years of nursing practice) heard anyone suggest that the ED is a particularly higher risk area in terms of exposure to infectious disease than many other areas of hospitals.

As for waiting a year, really bad idea. There are numerous older threads here with cautionary tales about people who thought it would be okay to delay entering into practice and ended up having serious problems getting their careers underway. Nursing is v. much a "use it or lose it" scenario. New graduates have only the bare minimum of necessary nursing knowledge and skills, and the first year or so of employment is really critical in terms of developing clinical skills, time management skills, general nursing knowledge, and confidence. Many in nursing consider it a vitally necessary continuation of one's nursing education. Plus, if she waits and then goes looking for a job with a year gap between graduation and looking for her first position, she will really be at a disadvantage simply in terms of job-hunting -- employers will not consider her a v. attractive or competitive candidate, even compared to other inexperienced (but more recent) new graduates. And, these days, finding a position as a new grad is difficult enough under ideal circumstances -- just look around this board at the numerous threads about how bad the nursing employment situation is these days, particularly for new graduates.

Congratulations and best wishes to your wife! :balloons:

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I have a wild idea. Why don't you let your wife decide these things for herself since she an adult. You come across as being WAY too controlling.

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

You know what guys, perhaps he is just a concerned husband....but to the OP,

A)ANYONE can catch anything....but there are precautions...the showering, the changing, etc. I take my shoes off at the door, throw my clothes in a seperate hamper, and plan on starting to take showers to get in the finance doesn't like it when I come see her and I "smell like work".

I understand the concern, but she is a adult, just let her do what she needs to do. Floor nurses(which I am one) are exposed to the same things, over and over....

ER nurses get more exposure, and generally take better precautions...not gonna lie, I don't always gown up for iso rooms....use gloves, yes...gowns...depends.

B)don't have her wait a year...the 1st year is tough and it takes time to get into the groove. If nothing else, it'll build her expierence so she can go to a good place when you move.

+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X