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all you RN's out there, i need your advice please on the profession

michellemmichelle Posts: 197
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Chronic Pain
well , i will be starting RN school this month and will finish next may. I have been accepted to the online program but will be scheduling my clinicals and taking the tests on campus. My question relates to my pain management while on clinicals and during tests. Normally i am allowed extra time on tests because of the pain medications and having to constantly change positions.The extra time on tests is to allow me to double check my answers because sometimes when im in pain i miss tiny details because i concentrate on the pain. my meds dont affect me cognitively , they just help take the edge off the pain. Unfortunately i deal with mostly nerve pain and cannot take the nerve meds because of the cognitive effects. (although lyrica worked great for the nerve pain it made me dumber than a box of rocks.)when im at work i use a tens unit and change positions alot to help. I have been advised by many practicing nurses and one instructor from another program that i should not advise or let on to my needing pain meds to function nor even allow my tens unit to be shown because they may put two and two together and start inquiring. I am concerned on how i will be able to get through clinicals without showing pain since i walk with a limp. I have been told despite it being covered by the ADA in school the nursing board will boot me out quicker than snot. yes i know the concern regarding care and med dosages i will be administering patients. I have a process of triple checking all details and i function well as long as my pain is controlled. I will be planning to take much less meds while on shift but am concerned regarding if im "found out" regarding pain management in ANY form i will lose my spot in a program i worked so damn hard to get into. Is the rumors regarding this issue true and what advice do you have? thank you for your time.


  • Hi all new to site had micro d l5 s1 7/28/11 still post op sore but ok walked 1 mile today left leg weak .left foot still numb but I guess gotta be patient . This site has helped me alot so maybe I can helP as I am an RN and personal trainer .surgery went well but I am paranoid about re herniating disc so u guys need to keep me from goin nuts about it .and send me any ? U may have. like the rest of u I'm here to luv ya &help if I can.talk 2 u soon! Papa57
  • I don`t know what RN course is done in only 1 year so you got me there. What kind of pain medsÉ Can you take them after you`re finished working I know before my injury I worked in the states as an RN and they tested for drugs first day I was there and could pull you at any time so don`t know how it relates to students. I don`t know how or see how anyone can advise you to hide it or reveal your pain meds as that`s a choice you have to make for yourself. I hope you can complete the course. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm sure you love the field of nursing or you wouldn't be pursuing it as you are. Aren't you gambling in a pretty high stakes game that you can check and triple check yourself to make certain you don't make a mistake? Could you live with yourself knowing that your mistake due to taking pain medication cost someone else their life? I don't know how far you thought this through, but your post leaves me shaking my head.

    I hope you are successful in managing your pain and pursuing the things you wish to do in life. Honesty is generally the best policy and any time you have to hide something or withhold information, it usually winds up biting you in the backside.

  • Thank you all for your replys so far.Charry , it's a paramedic to RN program that I've tested out of the first two semesters and since I already have basic general Ed courses all I have left is two semesters of core RN courses . Hagland I totally Agree with you on the honesty part and that's why I'm asking for what is true in this situation because I've never encountered that before .after. Reading my post I see where the confusion is , I don't plan on using my narcs while on shift but I have to use my tens unit and lidoderm patches but my concern is if I use my narcs after shift and they see me limping and use of the tens will that raise concern to investigate and boot me from the program. The process of double / triple check was in place when I worked the ambulance before I got hurt so it is already an established practice for the very reason Hagland stated. I can suck up the pain for two semesters ( at least I'm gonna try) to get my license and then if I cannot work in the hospital at least an Rn/ Pmed license gives me more options for employment rather than just in the field /teaching.
  • I commend you for going back to school while in pain. Are you able to make it through an 8-12 hour shift without taking your meds?

    I was in nursing ( on the floor) and this is also how my back injury began. I know now that I will not be able to go back to work in the same environment due to all the lifting required. There are definately other avenues that I may get into ie doctor's office etc.

    Do you want to work on the floor as a nurse in a hospital environment or prefer to work in an office or teaching environment? The clinicals themselves will be tough.

    I wish you all the best. It is truly a passion to get into nursing, so I understand your questions and worries, as I have been dealing with them myself, questioning my return to my job.

    Please keep us updated.

    >:D< Karen

    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • As far as direct nursing care is concerned, you have two things to think about...injury to yourself and injury to the patient....in many ways.

    It is vital that you that care for your back while doing such a physical job. The wear and tear on your body will become evident over time. Not only do you have to protect your back, you have to protect your patient physically. What if a patient falls while in your care if your back is not strong enough to support your patient. Not to mention, you should never, ever take pain medications while caring for patients. You could put the patients well-being at risk, and your licensure at risk. If you test positive for mood-altering drugs while working, you could be imprisoned.

    There are non-patient care jobs that might be more suited for you, but you will still have to complete clinicals which do involve direct patient care. Being the ultimate patient advocate has to be the priority.


  • Post deleted. Solicitation is never permitted at Spine-Health

    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Administrator 08/09/11
  • Thanks Ron , if I wanted to be solicited then I would go back to working the streets....( as a paramedic of course....lol)
  • I can see your dilemma. Are you able to seek advice from the board of people who run the course, or who set the exams etc.?

    Can you give all the information and concerns you have - WITHOUT GIVING YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS - and see what their advice would be?

    I'm sure this is not the first time it's occurred. What about 'disabled' students on your course - how are they catered for and what provisions are made for them?

    It's obvious you are not in the UK because firstly, nurses do not lift and carry people any more (because too many staff go off with back pain and they lose too many working days!) and secondly, there has to be 'equal access' on most courses/services in the UK (whatever the disability) for all students - whether it's physical, psychological, sociological or ethnicity (if English was not your first language for example).

    It may be worth asking lots of questions 'incognito'.

    I admire you for starting RN school, especially if you're in chronic pain! Good luck!!!
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • I, too, recommend being honest with them, but try not to share too much information about pain meds and such. The TENS unit and lidoderm patches shouldn't be an issue. Obviously, it goes without saying, that you shouldn't be taking pain meds while you are working.

    Which leads me to my next question...what do you plan on doing once you graduate? Are you sure you are physically capable of performing such a physical job? I was an RN up until I injured my back (outside of work) in October 2010. I was unable to return back to my previous position and lost my job as a result. Are you able to be on your feet for 8 to 12 hours at at time? Lifting is often something that is done many times during your shift, and I know for me, I simply am not able to lift. It took some time, but I was fortunate enough to find a desk job as an RN that I just started this past week. If you were a paramedic before, then it sounds like you are no stranger to hard labor, but an RN works just as hard. I have accepted the fact that I will most likely never be able to return to direct patient care. If my back is this bad at the young age of 29, then I can't imagine it getting any easier as I get older.
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