Nurse = health nut?

Image: © Piskunov

Nurses are not only notorious for often ignoring our own health…we’re known for being difficult patients as well.

I had to laugh at myself when I recently made a trip to the ED with a case of pyelonephritis. Not only did I want to assist the nurse taking care of me with finding a vein and taping up my IV, I actually yelled, “OW!” when the doctor palpated my flank area (oh, and I helped the tech change the sheets on my stretcher). What in the world? I felt like the world’s biggest drama queen/ control freak.

Oh, and then there is my refusal to call in sick. The rule seems to be that unless we nurses are dying, we don’t call in, and we then usually end up getting really sick because we haven’t called in so we can recuperate! I know so many nurses who show up to work feeling horrible who then pass it on to the rest of us—to the point where now I (guiltily) call in just to spare my colleagues, not to mention my patients.

And yes, I am guilty of letting my own health go at times—including my weight as of late—to the point where I can’t exactly say this nurse is a very good example. And every time I do get sick, I’m bad about self-diagnosing to the point of believing I have every incurable fatal disease known to man.

Not only am I a bad patient, I’ve become a huge germ-a-phobe and I now carry an arsenal of antibacterial products with me. Plus I make sure never to touch a “contaminated” door knob, pen, stethoscope, etc. Lot of good it does me as I seem to have caught every bug that’s gone around this year—most likely because I work too much and don’t get enough sleep.

When will we, as nurses, learn to take care of ourselves? For now, I’m back on antibiotics and trying to lose weight, and I’ve promised myself 7 hours of sleep between shifts no matter what. Here’s to trying to get and stay healthy so I don’t have to torture the ED with my neurosis anytime soon!

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