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Will severe spinal stenosis prevent me from nursing?

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by Butterfly0328 Butterfly0328 (Member)

Butterfly0328 specializes in future OB/L&D nurse(I hope) or hospice.

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Hi everyone, I have been working so hard to get all my pre-reqs done in order to apply to a nursing program. After this semester I only have Micro to take. BUT, I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I have severe central spinal stenosis in my lumbar L4-5 through L5-S1. I have been getting steroid injections and have just started the nerve blocks. I am so depressed because nursing has been my dream for as long as I can remember. This would be my second career. I refuse to give it up. I have spent the past 2 years completing these classes (as I also work full time) and I am so very close to applying. Have any of you faced the same situation? Any words of advice would be great. Thanks so much.

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classicdame is a MSN, EdD and specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

2 Articles; 26,120 Visitors; 7,255 Posts

Ask your MD about long term prognosis and expected limitations. Nursing is so flexible. There are plenty of "desk jobs" for nurses. Consider the Nursery so your patients are easier to lift

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Butterfly0328 specializes in future OB/L&D nurse(I hope) or hospice.

7,028 Visitors; 286 Posts

Great idea. I love, love babies anyway:). I was also wondering about hospice nursing as it doesn't appear to be as demanding as bedside nursing. My mothe is currently in hospice and I spoke to her nurse this past weekend. I just don't know if it's even possible to right into hospice as a new grad. I will speak with my doctor, but really the bottom line is I am not going to give it up. I am just going to have faith that there will be something out there for me to do. I don't believe God would have brought me this far only to have my dream taken away. I am praying the nerve blocks will work, even for just a little while for me to gain experience in a specialization at which point I may look into legal nursing, management etc. But thank you taking the time go give me your imput. God Bless

*Joann*

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*Posh* has 6 years experience and specializes in med-surg/ tele.

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Yes! Three years ago, I started having severe back pain and was dx w/ spinal stenosis, ruptured disks and degenerative disk disease in L4,5 - S1. I developed arthritis and bone spurs. I had numbness in several toes and severe leg pain from the nerve compression. I had to stop bedside nursing for a year and take a desk job that I despised. My doctor tried to talk me into getting out of nursing all together and take disability. After PT didn't work, I was sent to a pain specialist. He was excellant! I recieved 3 steroid injections in two months. Two months after that, I had a diagnostic nerve block. A week after the nerve block, I had a facet rhizotomy. That was last September. It worked so well that I quit my job a year to the date I was hired and went back to the hospital in October. I don't take any narcotics or muscle relaxers. I take Aleve for the occasional back ache after a 12 hour shift. I take care of myself with daily stretching and I ask for help with moving patients if I think I may need it. I said all this to say that it can be done. The worst thing you can do is sit at a desk or home health (not home care). Don't be afraid to be your own advocate and communicate with your doc. Good luck!!!

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Butterfly0328 specializes in future OB/L&D nurse(I hope) or hospice.

7,028 Visitors; 286 Posts

Posh, what a truly inspiring story. I am going to write down the procedures you had done and discuss them with my pain doctor. I have already had 2 cortisone injections and last Wednesday had the first part of a two part nerve block. Today I will have the second part. I have noticed a big difference in my pain level already. I currently am taking Oxycodone 30mg q6h. After the nerve block last Wednesday I have been able to take only 15mg q6h and sometimes can go as long as 8 hours. I am going to begin a Yoga class soon as I have heard this is very good for the body and healing. I am still just as excited about nursing school, but just thrown off a bit by this dx. I believe challenges were meant to overcome. I wish you continued luck and will pray you continue to do so well. Thanks for the encourgagment. God Bless

*Joann*

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Faeriewand has 8 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in med/surg/tele/neuro.

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I was thinking Psych nursing but I think they do "takedowns." I don't know too much about that specialty so perhaps someone else could elaborate. I just loved my psych rotation. :) Good luck in your nursing career!

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Butterfly0328 specializes in future OB/L&D nurse(I hope) or hospice.

7,028 Visitors; 286 Posts

I was thinking Psych nursing but I think they do "takedowns." I don't know too much about that specialty so perhaps someone else could elaborate. I just loved my psych rotation. :) Good luck in your nursing career!

Thank you. I will make it work somehow.

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tamadrummer has 1 years experience and specializes in 1st year Critical Care RN, not CCRN cert.

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Personally, I would not go around advertising your injured back. You may be screened out because of it. While you cannot lie about it if asked, I would not volunteer that I have a back problem either. I have had L5/S1 total arthroplasty using the charite III artificial disc.

If you have back problems that cause you pain, you will suffer during clinical rotations. You will be on your feet for hours and bending over patients and moving patients up in beds or transferring them or rolling them to wipe their butt.

Nursing school is demanding as all get out! Try to volunteer in a hospital or get your CNA and work for a while and see if you can do the most basic tasks. You are not in the same position as others that are currently nurses and can make decisions about how much they are on their feet. As a student, you are not ever going to be cut and "slack", you will be under highly demanding situations.

Good Luck,

Brian

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*Posh* has 6 years experience and specializes in med-surg/ tele.

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Personally, I would not go around advertising your injured back. You may be screened out because of it. While you cannot lie about it if asked, I would not volunteer that I have a back problem either. I have had L5/S1 total arthroplasty using the charite III artificial disc.

If you have back problems that cause you pain, you will suffer during clinical rotations. You will be on your feet for hours and bending over patients and moving patients up in beds or transferring them or rolling them to wipe their butt.

Nursing school is demanding as all get out! Try to volunteer in a hospital or get your CNA and work for a while and see if you can do the most basic tasks. You are not in the same position as others that are currently nurses and can make decisions about how much they are on their feet. As a student, you are not ever going to be cut and "slack", you will be under highly demanding situations.

Good Luck,

Brian

I agree... I don't say anything about it. Oh and make sure you have great shoes. I wear Danskos.

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Butterfly0328 specializes in future OB/L&D nurse(I hope) or hospice.

7,028 Visitors; 286 Posts

Personally, I would not go around advertising your injured back. You may be screened out because of it. While you cannot lie about it if asked, I would not volunteer that I have a back problem either. I have had L5/S1 total arthroplasty using the charite III artificial disc.

If you have back problems that cause you pain, you will suffer during clinical rotations. You will be on your feet for hours and bending over patients and moving patients up in beds or transferring them or rolling them to wipe their butt.

Nursing school is demanding as all get out! Try to volunteer in a hospital or get your CNA and work for a while and see if you can do the most basic tasks. You are not in the same position as others that are currently nurses and can make decisions about how much they are on their feet. As a student, you are not ever going to be cut and "slack", you will be under highly demanding situations.

Good Luck,

Brian

Trust me, I will not "advertise" my back problems. I do appreciate your advice and will give it some serious thought.

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MALENURSE50 has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in substance abuse, psych, LTC, corrections.

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Most nursing positions require long hours on your feet, bending, stooping and lifting. Spinal stenosis usually is progressive in nature and unless you can find a job where the above isn't required, I don't see you being an effective nurse. Remember if you are in pain on the job, how much fun can you be having? Some med passes alone take 11/2 hrs. to complete. Good luck though, and I admire you for chasing your dream.

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I have been there with the back pain. steroid inj. and spinal fusion. You can still be a nurse. I would shadow or as someone else stated try being a CNA. I have worked floors to OR to home health. The worst place is a desk job. You just have to smart about it and take care of yourself. Yoga and pilates help. I wish you the best of luck. You don't have to give up your dream!

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