Working as an RN with a Chronic Illness

November 29, 2017 "Me" time, holidays, Uncategorized

Working as a nurse is HARD. While TV shows and movies make it look very glamorous and fun, most of the time it’s not that at all. It’s VERY demanding; physically demanding, and mentally demanding your entire 12 hour shift!! You have to be running on all cylinders at all times to keeping the patients safety and well-being above yours.  You may not use the bathroom for an entire shift because you “just never got there.” And lunch, is often a joke!  If you get time to eat you inhale something on the move because that’s all you have time for!! Your needs have to take second when you are on shift.

So how does all that work when you are chronically ill?? The days when your pain is at a 10 and you can barely move? Well, you put on a happy face and push through. Tasks that normally take 10 minutes may take 30 minutes on bad days.  You will write down everything on days when your mental game is not 100%. Whether you have time or not you will have to take some time to sit periodically or you may not make it through your shift!!

Sadly, many nurses who are chronically ill end up leaving their jobs because nursing is not compatible with true chronic illness. They may still be able to work in a different type of nursing, but eventually as their health continues to decline this may be hard as well.

The important takeaway is that if you have coworkers with chronic illness you may not know. They may not choose to share. If this is the case don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because someone may take more breaks or move more slowly. Don’t just assume they are lazy. Ask what you can do to help! People don’t think about how being chronically ill will effect your career! But it’s just the opposite, it definitely effects every part of your life. The career you have worked so long for and love so much may no longer be attainable.



  1. kkr0cks says:

    First, I quit working steady night shift. After a break, I worked in an 8-5 outpatient cancer center. Eventually, I had to quit that as well.

    • Amber says:

      I can relate. I went from full 12 hour days. To outpatient infusion clinic where i still worked some rotational weekends and holidays, to a true clinic with no weekends or holidays to preadmission for 6 months then I quit for 6 months when Mayo Clinic told me I had to. Then I went back and did 7 months of hospice and have been off totally since August after I had a seizure and totaled my car. Never had seizures before that day that I knew of. And am waiting on my disability hearing.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,604 other subscribers