Want to be a nurse but have a weak stomach!


Hi everyone!

I am 25 years old and just started taking business classes at college and I HATE IT! I had a huge change of heart and want to be a nurse.

When I think about being a nurse it is a great feeling -- to be someone who knows so much, who can help other people, who can really make a difference. I like the fact that it is an interesting job - and there are so many different things you;ll see, and different people you'll meet. The salary and flexible schedule is also fantastic. This is something I would like to do -- but I have a very weak stomach. Everything gross makes me gag -- foul smells, seeing someone puke, lokoing at something gross YUCK! I am hoping that if I do become a nurse if something gross happens I will just be professional about it and hold back as much as I can. I am hoping if I am in front of a patient I would be too embarassed to gag and somehow fight it. I'm worried though about this. Everyone aroudn me tells me I have too much of a wek stomach for this - and they actually laugh of me when I say I want to be a nurse. Does it get better, is gross stuff something I would get used to? Is it that bad? Is there anything I could do?

I am scared I am going to waste my time and in the end I wont be able to -- please advise!!!

RhodyGirl, RN

823 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg.

If this is something you truly want to do....you will get over it. Getting into nursing school is so difficult right now that by the time you finish your prerequisites, apply, and get accepted, you'll be so thrilled that the gross stuff will seem pretty minor. It's a long, tiring and trying process. I wish you luck in your decision.

racing-mom4, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 1,446 Posts

Specializes in ICU/ER.

I always laugh when people say to me"I cant believe your a nurse, I could never do it, all that blood and guts"....OK I see some blood when I do an acucheck or start an IV, I have never seen guts. I dont work in surgery. I work in an ICU.

Yes some things make me feel like my stomach is in my throat, things like mucus, I am not a big fan of phlem or suctioning. Praise be to the inventor of closed loop suctioning. I also am not a big fan of dumping the contents from the NG container, and yes a big ol GI bleed makes me say "ewwwahhh" in my head.

But ya know what, that is such a small small part of the job, once you get over the shock factor of yuck, you literally go on auto pilot. Nursing is so much more than icky stuff. Nursing is helping people on their darkest day, being there for them when they need you the most, you are their advocate, you see families at their best and their worst. You truly make a difference in someone elses life and get paid for it!!! Amazing I know. I learn something new every shift I work. I appreciate life more than I ever did. I not only feel honored to be a nurse, I truly feel lucky to be a nurse.


1,051 Posts

I was the master of weak stomachs. That is until my mother fell really ill and ended up on dialysis. Whenever there is anything foreign going on with your body, you go through changes and boy oh boy did she go through it. The vomiting, constipation and everything had me sick. But the love of my mother made me suck it up and do what I had to do. Everyone else ran and I was not about to sit around and have her going through that alone. Now, after 2 kids and a sick mother, I am a professional poop and vomit stander!!:)


27 Posts

WHen I started nursing school our instructors asked if anyone had a weak stomach. One girl raised her hand. As the year went on she proved it over and over again. One instance I remember for example, we were watching a laporascopic gall bladder removal on TV. She ran out of the classroom as green as she could be and vomitted just outside the back door(this was before any clinicals). As time went on she didn't only "get over it", she became on e of the best students in class, always volunteering for the gross clinicals. She is now a very successful and wonderful nurse. Best of luck with everything. Just follow you dreams and worry about the details later.


140 Posts

Specializes in Paediatric Cardic critical care. Has 6 years experience.

Maybe it would be an idea to volunteer somewhere and get a bit or gross experience???

I find it a bit difficult to relate as have never been screamish... I bet though if you do become a student nurse you'll be discussing bowel matter with your fellow students around the canteen dinner table by the end of the first semester!!! godd luck:)


292 Posts

Specializes in New Grad.
Maybe it would be an idea to volunteer somewhere and get a bit or gross experience???

I find it a bit difficult to relate as have never been screamish... I bet though if you do become a student nurse you'll be discussing bowel matter with your fellow students around the canteen dinner table by the end of the first semester!!! godd luck:)

Likewise! I'm not that squeamish either, but I thought I would have a really hard time helping the CNA's change patients because they are in such a vulnerable position, and I thought it would be upsetting, not only for the patient, but for me as well. As it turns out, things went just fine and the patients definitely appreciate being clean/dry and comfortable!

I would definitely recommend volunteering as well, especially in a program where you get to be involved in patient care. So far I've helped change patients, I've shaved a couple of men's faces, have fed patients, etc.

As far as making certain tasks more comfortable for you, try chewing minty gum or eating mints, as this really helps get rid of nausea.

Good luck!

I am not a nurse yet (soon to be nursing student. YAY! I got in), but I can feel for ya.

8 years ago I was stuck between becoming a nurse or a dental hygienist. I wanted to be a nurse but I didn't think my "weak stomach" could handle it and I viewed hygiene as an "easier" job that was "not gross" and made just as good money...so I went that route. Now here I am...regretting that decision. Why didn't I just do what I wanted to do in the first place? Now I am stuck starting over.

I soon discovered that mouths can be almost disgusting as anywhere else in the body (I said almost!;)) and I realized that I could get over my squeamishness...I remember I was terrified, TERRIFIED to learn to give local anesthetic injections....I thought I would faint....now it is probably the favorite part of my job. I used to almost gag at seeing pus and abscessed teeth, Now I get mad if my dentist doesn't call me in to witness a particularly "good" incise and drain of an abscess. Not only does it not bother me, I actually think it is cool.

I think that if you immerse yourself in the SCIENCE of what is happening it helps you to cope...and of course thanking your lucky stars that at least this process isn't going on in YOUR body right now and you are in the position to help this person and isn't that what you always wanted? That helps me to get through the gross things.

My friends always want me to tell them my "grossest" dental stories and at first I'm always like "I don't know....nothing is really that gross" but then when I start with the stories it is like every little thing is gross to them....they just aren't used to it like I am. I remember in school when I first realized I would be dealing with blood...not just a little pin prick...but BLOOD, like apply pressure and then place sutures kind of blood...I though I would have to quit school it freaked me out so bad...I seriously just LAUGH about that now when I think back on it.

I am hoping that nursing school will be the same and I'll just get over the gross stuff and focus on the science and learning opportunities. That's my HOPE anyways...but I can definitely identify with you!:up:

husker_rn, RN

417 Posts

Specializes in med-surg 5 years geriatrics 12 years.

I know I've said it before but when I interviewed for nursing school, I mentioned having a weak stomach. I was told that if everyone with a weak stomach walked off the job there would be no nurses and I found that true; some days everything bothers me and some days nothing does.

The answers that everyone has kindly taken the time to post (in all of the weak stomach threads!) are sooooo encouraging. Rather thank click the 'Thanks' button a couple hundred times, I thought I would quickly post to express my gratitude. Thank you, thank you thank you! :loveya:

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

I've worked in the hospital for over two years (first as a PCT, now as an RN) there are only two things that have ever made me almost gag. The smell of C-diff, will do it, and the site of a patient eating her own feces. Other than that, I'm good! :D


7 Posts

Specializes in Long term mechanical ventilation. Has 15 years experience.

you get over it. I used to gag at the sight of phlegm, now I work up to my elbows in it on a respiratory unit.

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