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What hurt worse back or feet

O.k. I'm interested in going further into nursing and have a million questions about a day in the life. As a cna you do some uncomfortanble things which I'm sure you all know. What gets me is transfering and bed baths. I'm 6 feet and giving a bed bath alone hurt my back. I know rn's and lpn's do lifting also, but is is as much as a cna? Also, cna are to me like servants in home health can you give me this, can you give me that, do this, do that, is being a lpn or rn this way too? I's not that I don't like what I do but I wonder if I continue to persue nursing what will hurt more. Right now it's my back and in my mid thirties, I want to save my spine some for my older years. How do nurses make sure they don't injure themself?

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

I use lifts, or will get another person to help.

When doing baths, etc..I raise the bed to my comfort. (I'm 5'9").

I really protect my back as much as I can. Granted there are the moments when it's unavoidable and I have to catch them if they stumble, or something by myself.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 38 years experience.

If you are doing home health, you are probably stuck with patients with low beds. My only advice is if the patient can sit on the side of the bed or get to a shower chair it might help. In a hospital, you can raise the bed to a comfortable height and have various lift devices.

As far as nurses having the same problems...I didn't give baths when I did home health but I did plenty of dressing changes on legs of people who were sitting in a chair. I spent many hours crouched over!

I was doing a supervisory visit once and the wife asked me if I ever did any "real work"? I had to laugh and ask her what she meant. She said, "I need help flipping my mattress." So that day, I did some real work and helped her flip the mattress :)

Wave Watcher

Specializes in Community Health/School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

When I worked the hospital floor (RN) I didn't stop for 12 hrs. I ate standing up and pretty much peed standing up so I could get out of the bathroom quicker! Even as a nurse you still get patients/family members/doctors saying, "Do this, do that, get this, get that", you never have enough time or hands. I still did bed baths, toileting, feeding, walking pts, dressing pts. on a weekly basis. We had CNA's but they were also busy. I'm 40yrs old, my legs hurt the most even though I wore support socks and great shoes. The only thing that helped was to get home and get off my feet.


Specializes in NICU.

NICU - I might get carpal tunnel syndrome, but I won't hurt my back.

My feet hate me though.

DixieRedHead, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED/ICU/TELEMETRY/LTC. Has 20 years experience.

I can protect my back. But my feet hurt. I have beat them to death. Wear good shoes, orthotics. I have tried all kinds of shoes, very expensive ones, cheap ones, everything. Thanks goodness only two more years.

Good shoes will help the back and the feet. Nursing home as a CNA killed me, I can't imagine doing home health where you can't raise the beds and don't have all the "good" equipment. (Ok, the equipment generally sucks, but it's a bit more ergonomic than what's in homes.)

I remember so often not raising the bed because we had the hand crank ones, that the cranking was almost as hard on me as the doing the work with the bed down.

All I can say is NEVER sacrifice your back for convenience, because one day there will be the time that bits you in the sciatic nerve.

And IMO, NOTHING is as physically demanding as a nursing home or home health CNA. And I'm a nurse that helps out with the baths and such. But it's nowhere near as strenuous as it used to be when I was a CNA.

Back problems yes, but I guess I am lucky my feet never bother me after 13 years.

windsurfer8, BSN

Specializes in Psych/Military Nursing. Has 13 years experience.

I am 6'3 male nurse. I ALWAYS raise the bed up when doing my work. Also...a lot of it is taking care of yourself on off time. I eat very healthy diet. I keep my weight under control to protect my knees. Lots of abdominal and back work. Squats and deadlifts. Not to become a weightlifter. But functional strength. Meaning..a deadlift is like reality. Bending over to pick something up. Also..sleep..sleep...sleep...get it.

ALWAYS get the correct amount of staff for a bath or transfer. I was working as an LPN in a nursing home....all the cnas were in a mandatory meeting and it was just me and another LPN on the floor. A very demanding 450 # bedbound patient demanded that we take her off of the bedpan that very second...so the two of us did it...she was a 4-5 person transfer/assist. I am 5 ft 3 in and 120 # btw...Over one year later, I am still paying for it. My feet have never really bothered me except for the time a patient ran over my toes with his power chair. It is always my back.

I had to laugh because the bed it the old hand crank and I can't lift it. I wear a back brace that helps me, but not enough. I hurt my back on a friday and it took three days to get it back right. People complain about body fluids, thats not the problem my back is. I's o.k now since I guess I haven't hurt it again since then, but I know i'ts only a matter of time. Last time I was luck enough to have the weekend to recover, next time I may not be that lucky.

I have also thought about getting in better shape. Like I said I'm 6 feet tall but I have a small frame and have a weak upper body. One thing I am liking about a facility is that there is help and new equipment. As for doctors ordering you to do things and not much time, I didn't think about it that way.

Edited by tishluvnc

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

Your back is definitely at risk of injury and chronic pain if you stay in the healthcare field. Bedside nurses also help with moving, lifting, turning patients so becoming a nurse won't protect your back, unless your able to get into a office or clinic job which tends to pay less. Also I read being tall and or overweight increases your risk of back pain. They say 85% of us will suffer some back pain in our lives and that it usually goes away. The problem with healthcare is the lack of lift equipment and that patients are obese and superobese! You can end up in pain from a sudden injury or it can build up slowly over years of cumulative injuries that you never knew happened. Damage can happen without pain at first and then wham the pain sets in.

My feet hurt sometimes a lot but if I take my low dose elavil it really takes away those aches and pains!