Being an unhealthy nurse and trying to be effective in my work is not easy. Trust me, I know! Unfortunately, I did not discover my health issues until recently. Let me tell, I was blown away by my results. In order to progress to my future, I must learn what happened in my past.
THE BEGINNING OF MY UNHEALTHY STORY
When I started nursing school in 2012, I weighed 135 pounds and was very healthy. I was enrolled in a dual enrollment program meaning I could obtain my Associates Degree of Nursing (ADN) and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) within two years by completing these degrees simultaneously. The emotional rollercoaster that occurred throughout my two-year tenure took a toll on my mind, body, and spirit.
Due to the dual enrollment, it was difficult to sleep, work, and find time to eat between all the studying, clinical, care plans, exams, research papers, group projects, and finals. Finding fast nutrition became impossible and comforting fast food and inactivity became my best friends.
I was constantly bullied by the “cool kids” in my class to the point that it was difficult to study or perform during clinical. Many times it was emotional, but some of the bullying became violent when other girls would wait for me to leave class outside. I almost failed a semester because of the constant berating. Keep in mind I was 26 years old when I started nursing school, but regardless of age bullying is still bullying. In addition to the bullying, I had a professor tell me to give up on nursing school because” if you can’t pass an easy class, you are not committed to the program.” Unfortunately, I did not find much solace through my program. Through all the tough times, I accomplished my goal and became a registered nurse. I gained 40 pounds in two years and finished nursing school at 175 pounds.
CONTINUING UNHEALTHY HABITS AS A GRADUATE NURSE
My first year of becoming a graduate nurse, I worked night shift on a Medical Surgical/Progressive Care Unit and found the time to work out at home and in the gym. I had finally found my purpose and I loved it! My coworkers were so inspirational and considerate. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people that I call my friends. I really miss those nights with them! However, to get back on track, I lost 20 pounds within my first year and dedicated myself to improving my health, career, and spirit.
At the end of my graduate nurse tenure (when you finally become an RN in the eyes of the hospital), I decided to change careers and become an Emergency Department RN and trust me it was totally worth it. In the ED, you learn a tremendous amount of information in a very short period of time. It felt like nursing school again and my body became the victim once more.
I decided to change hospitals in the middle of my ED career and found that bullying is not isolated to nursing school. I was approached by the Assistant Nurse Manager and was informed that other staff members did not enjoy working with me. When asked what the complaints were either performance or attitude, there were no answers. This became very apparent when other nurses would roll their eyes at me when I asked for assistance or when I had a general question regarding hospital policy. The term “nurses eat their young” is very real people, very REAL! These actions hurt my spirit which eventually hurt my health.
MY CURRENT UNHEALTHY STATISTICS
As nurses, we are programmed with an understanding that we put people and their health first. It becomes our mission to care for those in their darkest hours and extend a healing hand of trust. This is the reason most of us became nurses, right?! As we get lost in the care of others, we somehow forget to take care of ourselves.
Three years after I decided to become an ED nurse, I have gained 95 pounds since I started nursing school. I am currently:
5 foot 6 inches
Blood Pressure 163/108 (at my highest) normally around 150/99
Heart Rate 90 to 110 resting (I developed unspecified tachycardia sometime within the three years after nursing school)
I have never been this unhealthy in my entire life.
My health has made me think about other nurses who may not realize how unhealthy they are. We advocate to our patients regarding their health, yet we neglect our own. It is difficult for me to counsel my patients regarding healthy eating and exercise, when I am not doing what I am counselling.
I am writing here today to take a stand against the bulge and bullying. It’s time we start focusing on ourselves. It’s time for nurses to love one another and to want what’s best for our future. In the health section of my blog, I will be focusing on changing my numbers and ways to improve the overall health of nurses through fun eating and interactive exercise. I am hoping this will be a place of growth and positivity for those looking to change their numbers and inspire others.
Please follow me on social media to keep up to date on my progress. I also want to hear about your progress and growth as you take steps to motivate yourself and others.