Nursing and RA

When reading people's posts I noticed quite a few are nursing or former nurses. Made me wonder if there is a correlation or just one of those things. I nursed all my working life and retired six months early due to RA, should have gone sooner as the last year was horrendous. How many of you out there are nursing or former nurses, what's your story, could being exposed to so much be a factor. Probably I'm thinking rubbish but you never know. Merry Christmas and a pain free New Year x

27 Replies

  • Or perhaps nurses are more likely to find and use the forum......

  • I was a nurse . We didn't use hoists when I was younger lol . Over work and under paid equals RA lol?!

  • my grandma had r.a. so i know where it came from, however i was a nurse.

  • Interesting! I read somewhere that an exposure to a virus could possibly be a trigger to developing RA. I was exposed to Tuberculosis doing some volunteer work in India as a Nurse, went on INH for 9 months on my return but two years later was diagnosed with RA. Who knows. Seasons greetings everyone! Cheers Doreen

  • I nursed in the time the only gloves used were for surgery. We cleaned everything with bare hands. Exposed to many bacteria and viruses including TB, so you never know !

  • yes, those were the days! I graduated as an RN 40 years ago in January 2016 so there have been many changes, hopefully for the better.

  • I am a nurse, for 30 years, and am one of those first in last out, no breaks, extra five mile types. I have a real problem with overwork, stress and trying to fix everything, I identify myself hugely by my job, the more I do, the more I care, the better I am.

    I think also, I worked in exposure prone environments, acute medicine, heavy, stressful, higher incidence of viruses and bacteria's....

  • Very interesting!

  • I tend to agree, I think there is something in your comments.

    I was a nurse diagnosed with RA

    19 months ago. I worked closely with a colleague in the same exposure prone environment for many years, she too has RA

    We have discussed the possibility of a link as we were exposed to many bacteria and viruses. Also we cleaned and sterilised instruments and equipment with hazardous chemicals without using protective equipment.

    I personally think there is a link

  • Yes IT IS

  • Interesting idea...

    While this is an extreme speculative case, I know of three nurses who worked in an ICU some 20 years ago which was close (as in, just through a door) to theatre and x-ray services. Two are dead from breast cancer and one has had teratoma, and nearly lost his life.

    The three of them worked for several years in that environment and you can't help wonder if there might be a connection.

    As for other diseases, I contracted Hepatitis B while trying to achieve double reverse barrier isolation (patient had Hep B and burns so we had to keep infection away from the patient, while keeping their infection isolated). My outcome was +ve immunoglobulins, -ve antigens so not infectious and I have my own immunity.

    And as others have suggested, we would have been exposed to a vast range of bugs (hospitals are the gubbiest places on the planet) and chemical use to try to control those bugs.

    My mother (also a nurse) had various arthritic conditions, as did her father, so there is probably a familial link there, but perhaps the exposure to pathogens and fierce chemical was a contributing / exacerbating factor.

  • I blame Cidex!!!!!! But it could be my great grandmother dad eight uncles four cousins all have it and mine came on after severe swine flu

  • Not sure what Cidex is but can imagine ........

  • Cidex was a mean green thick potion you made up with water ( no special equipment) gave it a stir and put scopes etc in to sterilise. It gave off a powerful smell! Years later it was then you had to use a special room then gloves gowns eye wear them they stopped us using it lol! Those were the days ha ha ha .

    But I do think the family history beats that ha ha .

    I worked in nightingale wards and stood in a line at the beginning of a shift with my hands behind my back to be given a job, such as today you do the mouths! not look after patient X ! You hid in the sluice when the consultant came and you were scared of the Suster., I also had to meet in the canteen and eat breakfast with Matron or you were not allowed on the wards. And I had to have official permission to marry! This was only 1976 I started!!!! But great career. Xx

  • I started as a cadet nurse at 16 then started training at 18 in 1966. Such big changes by the time I retired. Yes I do think family history plays a huge part but do wonder what we were exposed to. My Saturday job was to clean the walls after the " arthritis " clinic. Injections of vitamins and gold was given to the poor ladies with deformed hands. The doctor sprayed the stuff everywhere when filling the glass syringes. We had to wash the syringes and needles and put In the metal tube for sterilising. Health and safety would have a field day now. Those were the days ?

  • Lol yes!! And all the urine testing and spoons of poop to test , the joys!

  • Gawd, remember those tablets you had to nudge against the 'sample' to detect occult blood in poo?

    Ya tell kids these days and they don't believe it!

  • I had a ward sister who made us taste certain medication to show us why the kids spat it out. One was powdered pigs pancreas, yeuk, smelt bad too.

  • We did too , they even taught us when I very first started to taste a bit of wee for sugar, luckily that didn't last long!

  • While that was a diagnostic technique for the Greeks, I didn't think we had to do that in the last 100 years!

    During our training we spent a day with a hospital related appliance like a urinary catheter (one class mate did!) - I just went for a simple naso-gastric tube. I lasted about 10 minutes.

    Lazy ones went for a wheel chair or, a bit further with eye patches.

    What japes!

  • Think it was a very old surgeon who thought it a good idea!! As I say I only remember doing it a couple of times , maybe he was just proving a point!

  • Yep!!

  • There's lots of interesting research related to HepB vaccine (compulsory for health workers I in the UK) and RA. I am a nurse and my symptoms started immediately after the first of 3 vaccine doses (as a student). It gradually became worse after the next 2 subsequent doses. With hindsight, the link, in my case, is clear to me. My response titre was 0 - a non responder, so no matter how much of the vaccine I took, it would never benefit or protect me. No family history of RA. Things were well controlled for 7 years on Sulfasalazine but I recently started Methotrexate as RA became more active. Seems to be helping. Can't help but wonder.... What if I'd never had that vaccine...

  • I've read quite a lot of research about sleep deprivation and our circadian rhythms and the disruption of them by shift work and night work. Our bodies are designed to sleep at night and do an elaborate hormonal dance. This disruption caused through shifts etc is linked in the papers I read to autoimmune diseases. Working shifts especially nights the research showed you consumed 30% more calories than working in daylight. I was a nurse and a midwife working mixed shifts for 30+ years. Working for the health service is not good for your health, I have quite a few friends who have acquired autoimmune diseases and the vast majority of us struggled with our weight.

  • I would agree with that, shifts are a killer, especially in winter were you never see daylight. The NHS batters us down in many ways, the back breaking work, the shifts, keeping your brain sharp. The emotional toll of nursing patients and caring for families. Going into work with a smile on your face while things at home maybe falling apart. Don't get me wrong I loved nursing it was all the other pressures that made life hard. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas x

  • Definitely, is a connection between nursing ,teaching ,infection closeness to other people in one relatively small aerea

    whit vaccines we run in to the same problem exposure to bacteria or viruses and if not..most of was exspose to various infections in our lives Plus a genetic inclination And we get RA , I am sure ,i am Reding post

    For the last 3 years and the correlation

    Is obvious, I wish I was a biologist a scientist a immunologist and a Genetist

    and be able to study our conditions and come up whit a cure

    Thanks for Reding


  • Yes and yes

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