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Thread: My health concerns & future in Nursing

  1. #1

    Unhappy My health concerns & future in Nursing

    Hi, everyone! I'm 26 years old, I was a nursing assistant for about 6 years right out of high school. I'm currently doing general classes in community college with the intent of getting into an LPN program to start. I've wanted to be a physician or a nurse for a long time because I'm a nurturer with extraordinary compassion that doesn't allow me to feel fulfilled unless I'm making a difference in the world. I also have a strong interest in the human body because it's so complex and I LOVE complex! I need to be mentally-stimulated at all times, I value knowledge and I want to continue learning for the rest of my life! I like to exercise my problem-solving skills as well as counsel and nurture people.

    I do have a problem though and it's a major concern when I contemplate deeply about a future in nursing. This is what brought me to this forum..... I am physically-limited due to suffering with Fibromyalgia syndrome and some sort of autoimmune disease(s) which has (have) not been able to be pinpointed yet. I am a classic case of autoimmune disease though and I suffer immensely everyday, with everything getting worse with each passing year. Perhaps I could get to the root of these issues and be treated in the future; however, I'm struggling in this economy with finding a steady job and I have no health insurance coverage whatsoever. I have no medical care aside from family physician visits for antibiotics to clear up reoccurring infections (which never seem to go away anyway), but I'm in serious need of specialist doctors instead. So in the future, when I'm more settled and able to receive medical care, could my symptoms and conditions be treated? Possibly. Could I function normally then? Possibly. But do I know if this will ever be the case at this point? Certainly not. At this point, I need a wheelchair for long distance walking and a rolling walker for my worst days (for if I need to walk a lot out in public, etc.); other than that, I CAN walk normally and without aid, it just comes with a tremendous amount of pain in my muscles, ligaments and joints. Sometimes I have some balance issues, but those come and go. Almost every system of my body appears to be affected at this point though.

    I think it's smarter for me to start out as an LPN if I were to pursue this career because I NEED a steady professional job -- I need to get on my feet -- and LPN will allow me to work sooner. It will only take me 2 or 3 semesters to complete once I get a couple more pre-reqs out of the way! I also would like to see that I can land a job that I can physically handle BEFORE I go further in my education (for RN).

    Anyway, am I on the right track to just go for it because it's my passion!? Or is it pointless to become a nurse if you're physically-limited, if you can't walk around or stand for long periods of time; if you may need to have a walking aid? Perhaps I will be better in the future once I get adequate medical care, but what if I'm not? Are there less physical jobs for nurses? Are there non-nursing jobs for those with nursing degrees? Do you know any nurses or students who do just fine even though they have some type of disability? Would I have to face discrimination in workplaces?

    I was always interested in working in an ICU at a hospital, but do you think hospital positions will be impossible for me to endure? I definitely think that there are less physical settings in which medical professionals can be employed, such as urgent care centers or doctor offices, including specialist doctor offices, etc. Am I correct? Are there any more similar settings? Also, do you think it would be ridiculous to have to wear a mask at work all of the time if I'm around sick people, to shield me from getting sick from the germs? (Again, my immune system doesn't function well). This is my calling and I DON'T want to stray away from it, but at this point I'm suffering immensely in pain and I'm not sure if I will get BETTER in the future or if I will stay about the same or even decline. It's scary. Please tell me that I may still make a great nurse regardless! But be honest. I REALLY appreciate it! I want to be a nurse! Help!

    XOXO,
    Eden

  2. #2
    Super Moderator cougarnurse's Avatar
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    Yes, you are on the right track, for you. Not everyone can 'afford' to do RN course work right off the bat. Some of us (like you) needed the income to eventually obtain that RN.

    Have you ever considered doing Home Health once you get your LPN? There are often 'Hi-Tech' cases available, though some cases are RN-only.

    Just an idea....have you ever tried Bee Pollen?

  3. #3
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    Eden,

    Continue with your education but you also do need to figure out what's wrong - Is there a University Medical school near you often you can get treatment for free and get a full differential diagnosis.

    Plus you have to get health insurance now or face criminal penalty - check out the exchanges and see if there is any plan you can afford.


    Hppy

  4. #4
    Hey, ladies! Yes, I figured that perhaps Home Health may be something I could do. Do you think that I could make decent money doing that? (Although anything is better than what I'm making right now, which is nothing)!!! I recently worked with people with mental retardation and down syndrome in a home setting and I absolutely loved it. Do nurses ever work with the developmentally-challenged, by any chance?? And bee pollen in what aspect!? Like, supplements? No, I have not. Does it have good success rates?? How does one acquire such a thing?? I'll have to research it.

    Hppy, I honestly don't have anything around where I live. I can't even get a job at the moment around here because I live in a very small town and all of the biggest cities are even a hike for me. (I work in retail, but they're not giving me any hours so it's pretty much like I don't have a job). Many of the University Medical schools are all the way on the other side of the state from me! Boy, I just wish I had the friggin money to get up and move! There's nothing in this area.

    I know that I would need health insurance before entering the nursing program. They won't even accept you unless you are covered. A lot is going to have to be figured out - that's even if I can get through the math pre-requisites first. I'm not doing so well! I'm a 4.0, but I'm not sure how I'm going to be doing on these math tests. It's awful In regards to the insurance, last I had checked, I wouldn't even be able to afford any insurance options at my community college. I'm at the point now where I'll have to go speak to a counselor at my school and see if anything can be suggested for me. I can't keep going on like this.

    Thanks for the replies!
    XOXO

  5. #5
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    Eden,

    There are good jobs working with the DD population. I am an RN consultant for a private corporation that owns and operates ICF group homes. Homes classified as having a Nursing component often employ LPN's. The money is not as good as what you can make in a hospital setting with the mandatory overtime but it is very satisfying.

    As for insurance - you're now required by law to purchase insurance or face civil and criminal penalties. But don't get me started on healthcare reform.

    Anyway, good luck on your journey and stay strong in your goals

    Peace and Namaste

    Hppy

  6. #6
    Thanks again, hppy. I've done LOTS of research over time, but I'd rather hear it from actual nurses if you don't mind: In which settings do LPN's tend to work? I would keep Home Health in mind, and as said, I'm interested in the DD population as well, but I have A LOT of areas of interest. Are LPN's often hired for psychiatric positions? And if so, how physical of a position do you think that would be? I'm also interested in Oncology, especially pediatric, so any position in regards to that would be great. Hospice as well as Urgent Care also serve as interests of mine.

    The only concern I would have about hospice is that I had severe trouble working in the nursing home setting in the past. I got let go from a job due to not being able to perform physically anymore! I would imagine hospices are just as physically-demanding. But I was a CNA back then... do CNA's "do more work" than LPN's?

    My friend is a new NICU RN. That's one of my dream jobs! I am envious! I could only imagine how physically-demanding that would be though? What do you think? Anyone have experience?

  7. #7
    Member Extraordinaire hppygr8ful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evanescent Eden View Post
    Thanks again, hppy. I've done LOTS of research over time, but I'd rather hear it from actual nurses if you don't mind: In which settings do LPN's tend to work? I would keep Home Health in mind, and as said, I'm interested in the DD population as well, but I have A LOT of areas of interest. Are LPN's often hired for psychiatric positions? And if so, how physical of a position do you think that would be? I'm also interested in Oncology, especially pediatric, so any position in regards to that would be great. Hospice as well as Urgent Care also serve as interests of mine.

    The only concern I would have about hospice is that I had severe trouble working in the nursing home setting in the past. I got let go from a job due to not being able to perform physically anymore! I would imagine hospices are just as physically-demanding. But I was a CNA back then... do CNA's "do more work" than LPN's?

    My friend is a new NICU RN. That's one of my dream jobs! I am envious! I could only imagine how physically-demanding that would be though? What do you think? Anyone have experience?


    While I admire your spunk and determination I have to wonder if you are physically up to the job. If you have already been dismissed from a job for not being able to perform physically this does not bode well. While there is a public perception of RN's sitting behind a nursing station while all the aids and LPN do the work - I can assure you this is quite rare. Nursing is and active and dynamic career, often with very long hours, mandatory overtime, lots of time on your feet etc.... Most facilities and hospitals now require new hires to take a physical abilities test to see if you can perform the minimum standard of the job - such as lifting 50 pounds, pushing, pulling, balance, hand grip strength. I honestly don't know of many jobs in nursing that don't place high physical demands on you. I guess you could answer phones and be a telephone nurse in a call center.

    The fact that you can't afford medical care is sort of a moot point as you will be required to buy health insurance or face civil and criminal penalties now that the ACA has gone into effect. Medicaid as we know it will be dead in a few years and while you cannot be denied care based on an inability to pay - the federal government can now place liens on you taxes and property to insure the bills are paid.

    For many years I have suffered from chronic pain and fatigue as well as adrenal fatigue and went through various treatments and took a lot of pills. It wasn't until I started learning about chronic inflammatory syndrome that I started to get better. Here are some tips. If you drink alcohol stop. Minimize your use of pain medications both prescription and OTC to the lowest effective doses. Eat a diet that is gluten free, low in complex carbohydrates, do not add sugar salt or artificial sweeteners to your food. A teaspoon of sugar only has 15 calories and your body knows what to do with it. Limit high density calorie sources. Do not eat red meat more than once per week. Eat at least one meatless meal a week. Balance your diet with fish and poultry.

    Exercise sensibly - spend 15 to 20 minutes twice daily stretching then walk at a moderately brisk pace for 30 minutes a minimum of 3 times per week. Swimming is a perfect exercise for people who have chronic pain .

    Sleep 6 to 8 hours a night and if you take sleep aids cut back and reduce you dependence on them

    Find a free county clinic and get some blood work done. at a bare minimum you need to get a CBC w/differential, a cmp, Thyroid studies, Cholesterol, kidney and liver function tests. Get checked for diabetes.

    I actually felt like crap for so long before I started these common sense approaches - You will start to feel better but you need to do the things necessary to get there.

    Peace and Namaste

    Hppy

  8. #8
    Thanks so much. I do appreciate your honestly. I agree that nursing may not suit me due to the high physical demands. That really sucks though. But I've been considering other career paths, such as special education. I just wish I knew more of how they're doing in this economy, and I don't believe the salary is anything to run, skip and jump about. Money only matters to me because I'm already poor and chronically sick, which is a bad combination. The poor only get sicker! But I have a big heart for those with down syndrome, autism, MR, etc. And teachers can walk around with walking aids, etc. That's definitely less of a problem in that field/setting. So I will see...

    Hppy, the funny thing is... I don't drink alcohol, I don't drink sodas, I hate coffee... I drink all water all of the time. I have severe acne too so I try to watch what I eat and drink, as blood sugar spikes = inflammation = more acne. I have noticed the pattern. I buy gluten-free foods when I can afford them... unfortunately, I often can't afford them, but when I can, I stick to them until they run out. I don't notice much difference in my pain, fatigue, etc. either way. I never take OTC pain relievers or sleep aids or ANY medications whatsoever. They never even TOUCHED my pain in any way, so there's no point in taking them. I don't like sugar or sugary foods or desserts, and I especially don't use artificial sweeteners. Seafood is my favorite food and chicken is the only thing other than that that I eat. I have a great diet, but I still suffer in pain. I don't eat much red meat at all, as I was a vegetarian for 5 years so I still prefer to not even eat meat every single day. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and seafood.

    However, I can't eat anything anymore without getting hives. I have so many food allergies and intolerances, it's disgusting. The list keeps building on. I wish I could get to the bottom of it. I may be close to getting a full-time job, so I'm going to see how this pans out. If not, I'm going to look into ACA plans.

    Now, I'll admit I do not exercise other than when I was at my retail job. I have had a lot of SEVERE pain from working out in the past, even only moderately or lightly. I would still suffer from it. I would also get weird symptoms when I would get hot from working out. I would get blurry vision, my legs would feel like rubber -- they would give out, my balance would be all over the place; I have a lot of trouble getting hot and sweaty. (This is why my doctor suspected MS). So over time, I just stopped trying. It hurts too much and causes too many problems. I LOVE swimming, but I don't often have anywhere to do so. Oh, how I wish I had my own indoor pool! I'd be swimming EVERY DAY And believe it or not, my college doesn't even have a pool! Ughh

    Sleeping is tough. I have slept for 12-16 hours at a time, and then some nights, I can't even sleep for 2. My sleeping has always been a mess, and a lot of times when I can't sleep, it's because of the pain I'm in. I can't get comfortable.

    I have issues with my kidneys, actually, since you mentioned them. I have mild kidney damage, but they don't know from what! But due to having recurrent bladder infections over the years (despite taking cranberry tablets and doing all the right things), it eventually caused recurrent pyelonephritis. And now I have kidney infections frequently and proteinuria. They ran tests when I had insurance through my dad for a few short months (before turning 26), I went to a urologist -- they found that my kidneys don't function properly. But we never learned why. He did find a cyst in my bladder though. I've had issues with staph in my bladder and kidneys. I used to have staph infections in my throat all the time as a kid! I have recurrent infections all over my body, viral infections, etc. All of my lymph nodes are almost always swollen. I keep getting pain right where my spleen is, as well.

    They've done all of the blood work for years, on and off. My blood never shows anything abnormal, from what they say.

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