Recently while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across an article titled “Can fat nurses be good nurses?” And my initial reaction was “fuck this article!” However, my curiosity had me scrolling back up and clicking the link. I had to read the article before I realized that it wasn’t full of shit.
I hate thus, but it’s true – the answer is no.
Now before you buck up and argue my opinion, know this, I am overweight. Clinically speaking – I am obese. That’s a scary word, am I right?
This article of course brought up the opinion of “How can a nurse, who is supposed to teach the public how to be healthy, really going to productively do so when he/she is overweight?” You know what? Fuck that opinion. Seriously. There are so many things that can play into a person being overweight, this is not a valid point. However, the article also put into perspective how much harder it is for an overweight adult to perform the duties that a nursing position requires – and THAT I agree with. Honestly, I don’t need an explanation because I’m the one who is overweight and climbing up and down stairs all night at work – struggling with muscle cramps, difficulty breathing, and some smelly ass armpits come the end of my shift.
The fact of the matter is (and thus of course is a point that the article only touched on) it is difficult for a person in healthcare to live a healthy lifestyle. Think I’m the one who is full of shit now? I’m not. Maintaining a healthy weight for anyone, is a challenge. It is not easy to lose weight, for anyone. Healthcare employees, such as nurses, are not only overworked but we also work odd shifts making it even harder! Sad, but true.
In the last year I have worked two jobs back to back. Until recently, I worked one job from 10pm to 10am a few nights a week, and another job from 4pm to midnight – amd yes, at least twice a week those were back to back. On top of this I insisted on still having a personal life which mostly involved me driving back and forth to see my boyfriend – who lived 45 to 50 minutes away.
How did I even have time to sleep, you ask? Better question – How did I have time to eat? The answer to both of those questions is – I didn’t. I certainly didn’t have time to cook a well balanced meal, which often meant grabbing some McDonald’s, which I now cannot stand by the way.
Here’s the thing, without well balanced meals and without adequate sleep – weight easily becomes an issue. This is something that I still struggle with daily! And something has to change. I’ve known this for quite some time now. It was made even more clear today as I was shopping at Goodwill for some decent jeans and could not only not fit into a size 18w but I couldn’t fit into a size 20w either! What size did I enjoy my shopping trip with? I didn’t. I just accepted defeat and left with nothing but a bruised heart. And then I come across this article and I just wanted to hide in a closet somewhere. Only I realized “Hey – I probably wouldn’t fit in one anyway!”
Okay okay, so I’ve gotten a little off track here. My point is this, when it comes to an emergency situation, which I am obviously prone to, am I going to be able to successfully perform my duties? No. Probably not. I mean really think about it. The most simple emergency protocol of CPR – am I really going to be able to perform 10 to 15 minutes of chest compressions until the EMT’S arrive and take over? What if they’re held up? If I were working in a hospital, which someday I will be, would I be able to run down halls and up staircases to assist with a cardiac arrest? No. Not with my current weight. And I’m sorry but 99% of overweight and obese nurses will fail at their job duties when it comes to an emergency situation. For those of us who provide in home care (and I hate to even say this because I do) we are on our own until the EMT’S arrive.
Yes, this scares the shit out of me.
It’s also a wake up call. And if you find yourself in the same position or if you plan to pursue a medical career and struggle with your weight – please – make getting into shape a priority because other peoples’ lives depends on how well you perform your job! This was already a goal on my quarterly goals list for the fall – but this has to be more than just that. It has to be something that I get serious about and right now.
Wishing you all success in finding the motivation that you need to get right with yourself so that you can get right with the ones you’re caring for.
Until next time.