View Full Version : Carer choice!

03-24-2008, 08:06 AM
Hey all, I am just wondering if anyone out there works alot on their feet. I am @ Uni undertaking a Registered Nursing course and am half way through. I am concerned with my pain will get worse and impinge on my ability to work long ours on my feet. Anyone have any experiences in this area?

Oh, and will surgery stop me from standing up for long periods of time, after recovery time of course. Thanks all!

03-24-2008, 08:48 AM
I don't have enough information about you to answer this. Ideally, you will have no pain. There are lots of people on this forum with pain complaints, but those without pain don't come here. My surgeon was doing a Harrington Rod surgery every week when mine was done, and I have never seen a post from one of his patients. I don't believe I would have had any problems as an RN. I have been employed an an occupational therapist for over thirty years, without significant problems until recently. Nurses are on their feet a lot, but not standing still. Standing is much harder than walking.

03-24-2008, 11:41 AM
It may be too soon to tell, but I'm going to school to be a chiropractor, which is both somewhat physically demanding and you are on your feet alot. I'm just over 3 months post op, and I feel like I do better standing for long periods of time as opposed to sitting. I'm not sure how the future will present!

Hope this helps,

03-24-2008, 11:47 AM
I can stand comfortably for much longer periods of time than I could before my surgery. Even though I still have some surgical pain, the muscle fatigue and sharp aches I had pre-surgery are mostly gone.

03-24-2008, 01:37 PM
I work as a Respiratory Therapist at a large trauma hospital where I work mostly in the ICU but also in acute care sometimes. I was very worried that I wouldn't be able to do my job after my surgery. But when I came back in December '07(after 6months off) I started with 4 hour shifts, then 6 hours and now 8 hours 4 days a week. My goal is to be 40 hours a week by June 1st. I still have some discomfort between my shoulder blades which is strange since my pain was mostly in my lower back before surgery. Taking your time in coming back to a physically demanding job I think is the key. Take care

Surgery June19, 2007
Anterior/Posterior T4-L5 fusion w/ instrumentation

loves to skate
03-26-2008, 08:04 PM
Hi Jimbo,
I worked for years as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. Standing was a big part of the job when I worked in the Chemistry Department. I probably had scoliosis for a few years before I was diagnosed at age 65 since I had lost 3 inches in height over at least 5 years, maybe longer. Standing became an issue when I began to suffer from severe sciatica at about age 64. I am almost 4 months post-op now and am able to stand long enough to get meals prepared and on the table. Before surgery I had to sit down to prepare meals, especially by evening time. I know that everything is getting better and better but I am retired now so I don't have to deal with standing at work. I had low back pain and muscle spasms on and off since my mid 30's so I am guessing that is when the scoliosis started because I'm pretty sure I didn't have it as a teenager. My Dad was a Physical Education teacher and he would have noticed it if I did have it. Anyway, go for the nursing degree. You could always get into private duty nursing or visiting nursing if standing becomes an issue for you. You didn't say if you were in pain now. Are you contemplating surgery now? Best Wishes to you whatever you do.

03-27-2008, 03:33 AM
First, I will just say, everyone is different so there is no way that you can predict what will happen with you after your surgery, based on my or anyone elses experience.

Speaking from my experience as a registered nurse who has had surgery, I found it difficult. I had my surgery once I finished my training, and had been in a lot of pain during training. After the operation, I found that I was doing ok for the first few years, but it did get progressively more difficult as time wore on. I worked on a cardiothoracic ward, and then in intensive care. I found being on my feet all day difficult, and many of the tasks involved in nursing hard. They all added up to me leaving the profession and retraining as a clinical psychologist (currently still training). Things I found hard in particular were lifting patients, as we didn't have a huge array of hoists and helpful things like there are in other countries with more money spent on health (like america!). Also doing things like reaching over the bed to hang IV bags which were in awkward places over the top of beds, and trying to lift pumps on and off of the IV poles which were in weird places. There is not always someone willing to help as everyone is busy with their own patients, and generally can get a bit annoyed when you need help with stuff they can do on their own. I also found it hard being on my feet all day and walking around the whole time, as it's not like you can say to your patients "hey, I'm sore too hang on a minute I need a break!".
You need to know though, that I was unlucky enough to have a curve that needed a second operation, and that not everyone has an experience like mine.
In having said that, ask any 'normal' nurse about how their backs are, and chances are you will get a negative answer.
On a more positive note, I really loved nursing and I got a lot out of it. Although I had an early exit from the profession, it gave me some amazingly valuable learning experiences, and helped me to grow up and learn more about myself and who I want to be. Despite being sore, I had a really good time working in ICU and really liked the job. It is a good career to set you on your way to other professions, and I always had back up options like moving out of adults into neonates or something 'smaller' that I didn't have to lift around! At the end of the day there were options that I didn't take which would have taken me out of the most physically demanding areas and into community health, mental health etc... So if it is what you want to do, you will find a way of making it work for you!
I thought that I would give you an honest answer from my point of view, because clearly you know that it is not going to be plain sailing. Right now studying sitting at a desk all day isn't ideal either.
The bottom line is, if you are fit and make sure you keep your back strong, you will be ok in whatever job you choose. Plus, you will be more aware of propper lifting techniques and how to look after your back than those people who don't have scoliosis.
I hope I haven't scared you!

03-30-2008, 04:01 PM
I think Sue RRT has the right idea. Take your time easing back to work. I worked part-time for a while (2 twelve hour shifts a week) and never did them in a row. Then I worked them in a row to see how I would hold up. Then I went full time (3 twelve hour shifts a week) and I am doing fine. I don't work them in a row unless I have to. I am 52 years old. I do find I do better standing than sitting and must have comfortable shoes. I have to have help when lifting patients and just tell them, "I've had back surgery and need to get assistance." Most of them understand. I don't want to risk damaging my back. I think nursing is a great choice because of the flexible scheduling you can usually do.

04-06-2008, 09:58 PM
I am in retail management and I went back to work after 4 months. It was tough in the beginning but I feel so much better now as compared to prior my surgery. I also go to the gym 3 times a week. Trying to stay fit definitely has helped my back. I still get aches and pains when I overdo it but I am glad I had it done.