working after GBS

    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm

      I am in school for nursing, I am a phlebotomist now. My teacher told me since I had GBS that I needed to choose a new career and not go into nursing because since I had GBS I would have a weak immune system and all I would be doing is killing my patients with having a weak immune system. Does anyone have any literature about GBS patients returning to work in the medical field after GBS and NOT killing their patients so I can give it to my teacher. She didn’t even know what GBS was, I had to tell her

      Thanks ya’ll!!!!


    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm

      I am not sure I understand this correctly, but I though both GBS and CIDP were the results of a overactive immune system, not a weak one. I sure someone with more knowledge on the subject can give a more informative answer.

      Jim C

    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm


      i am absolutely horrified by the stupidity of what this instructor has said to you. it is absolutely not true! im soooo irritated right now!

      you know, i have thanked God hundreds of times for leading me into the nursing field because, had i been in any other field, i dont know that i would be able to work. ends up taht i most likely dont have GBS, but i have a ton of the same symtpoms (long story). in my opinion, nursing is the perfect field for so many people, because there are so many areas of nursing that you can get into. bonus-the pay is pretty good, too.

      you dont even have to be around sick people, should you choose. but that shouldnt even be an issue. i have chosen to continue my education and am starting school again very soon to get my masters in nursing education, then prob a doctorate. the sky is the limit in nursing. you can work in hospitals, nursing homes, private homes, schools, colleges, universities, psych, substance abuse, military, the state, public health, case mgt, discharge planning, recruitment, etc. i couldnt tell you all of the opportunities that will be available to you!

      the nursing shortage in america is huge right now, and is only going to get worse. we are short right now about 350,000 nurses in the USA. this means that employers are getting very creative in offering different types of positions that are dream jobs for different types of people.

      it would break my heart to see you leave nursing because of what some heartless person said. i dont know if you can go to your dean of nursing (i had a wonderful relationship with mine and could talk to her about anything). if you trust that you can talk to your dean, then you should. if they already know about your illness, tehn it cant hurt to ask for their advice on where to take your career. actually, that is exactly what i did. and, they also deserve to know that they have an instructor who sucks and is hurting the advancement of the nursing profession.

      sorry if i sound harsh, but the instructors statement was sickening! there are a few other nurses and health professionals on this site. i talk to them and i am going to ask their opinion. maybe im being too emotional, but i highly doubt it. they work. my aunt (nurse x 40 years) has two coworkers who have recently been thru GBS and they are both back to work, too.

      i might send you a private message, or you can do the same. keep in touch!

      best wishes!


    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2008 at 5:44 pm


      you said you are a phlebotomist right now, right? you are exposed to just as many people now as you would as a nurse, right? maybe even more, since im sure you draw more peoples’ blood in a day than i would come into contact with as a nurse. my assigned patient load would be 5 to 10 people, with a total of 31 patients on our floor for me to come into contact with. wouldnt you draw more people than that daily?

      just a thought.

      hang in there and dont let em put doubt into your head or heart!


    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm

      Your teacher – what is she thinking? The way you say it, does she think you are contagious to your patients????? GBS/CIDP is not catching. And Jamie is so right; there are so many rewarding areas in nursing today that you can choose that will be suitable for your needs and your patients. Go above your teacher’s head and talk to someone who actually knows about our condition. and don’t give up on a rewarding career that needs nurses-be determined to be the best that you can be. The best of luck. Emma

    • Anonymous
      July 13, 2008 at 2:37 pm

      Thank ya’ll so much for your support on here. It’s so good to hear from ya’ll and realize that I’m not the only one that was upset by what she said. I am going to the dean of nurses about this as soon as this class is over july 31 because I won’t have to have this teacher again (praise God). After she said that to me that day about me needing to change my career and not be a nurse because since I had GBS, I would be killing my patients, the students in the classroom looked at me like I was some kind of disease. I have never been so belittled and trampled on and put down like that in my life. I know she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It did hurt my feelings that day VERY badly and embarrassed me, but one meisly little comment from a stupid teacher who obviously has no idea what she’s talking about, is NOT going to keep me from becoming a nurse. I even typed her a report on GBS and let her know at the end of it that I could go to work as a nurse and not kill people because I had GBS. I can’t wait till she reads it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Still on the path to nursing,

    • Anonymous
      July 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm

      That teacher said that to you in front of the whole group???? How very rude, condescending, and mean, among other words I won’t say here. You really will have more educators that are good ones. Finish up this class and keep going forward Tiff !!! There will always, ALWAYS, be a need for nurses. Jamie had a wonderful list going of what you could do. I will add a couple more that are less physical, but still so important: PAT(pre admission testing) and patient education-that may be a part of case management, depending on hospital size. Also if you are a phebotomist, you could certainly qualify for the iv team-maybe requires a lot of walking, but the hospital may allow you a scooter-hey, throw that iv tray in your basket and you’re off!! Just some food for thought. Let us know what your grade is on your paper on GBS:D Emma

    • Anonymous
      July 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm


      id make copies of that report and give them to everyone in your class! and to your dean. or do a class presentation. i say this for a couple reasons…

      if she announced this to the entire class, she has misinformed all of them, which can cause them to misinform others or provide inappropriate care. not that it would entirely be her fault, but it will contribute to sub-standard care of a GBS patient or another like them. your classmates deserve to know what this is, now that the instructor has made such an issue of it.

      also, you deserve the respect of your classmates. if they think you are contagious or dangerous, that can potentially interfere with your education. maybe im over-thinking this, but it makes sense to me. if she would have said, “you are immature” or something, then that would be different, but your classmates surely take what she said as a medical fact and may judge you on that unless you [B]educate[/B] them otherwise.

      one last thing-
      you need to prove yourself as a strong, independent woman in the medical world. sticking up for yourself (with facts and critical thinking) makes other medical professionals have a ton of respect for you. they dont like bossy know-it-all nurses, but they also dont like shy, timid, scared to speak up nurses, either. find a good balance…starting now. whining to your class or dean will make it worse. presenting the facts will make you a leader.

      with love!

    • Anonymous
      July 13, 2008 at 11:45 pm

      Tiffany, what you teacher probably was thinking is with a weakened immune system you tend to get sick more often and can pass this on to your patients or get it from them easier. But the underlying assumption is wrong like others here already mentioned. Having GBS or CIDP does not mean you have a weakened immune system. The only time this would be true was if you were getting chemo or are sick from some other disease. IVIG actually strengthens your immune system but with GBS you probably only get this once. I personally am getting Rituxan right now which kills all my B cells. I wouldn’t make a good nurse 😉 but I am finished making those kind of decisions, I’m retired.
      Follow your heart and take care.

    • Anonymous
      July 14, 2008 at 12:00 am

      Hi all, I remember a post about an author, Donna Jackson, who had/has GBS, and wrote a book about autoimmune disease and everyone who posted was interested in reading it or had read it and liked it. I had emailed her about her book and this website. She sent me an email about people working with chronic illnesses and is writing an article and would like some input. Here’s what she sent:
      Hi All,

      Forgive the intrusion for those to whom this most certainly will not apply — but please feel free to pass it along to those to who might be interested in taking part in this article for MORE magazine.

      I’ve just finished writing a piece for MORE magazine on working while handling a chronic illness (including autoimmune disease) and they’d like me to add a sidebar with short quotes from women from around the country on their “best coping strategies” (see below).

      Interviewees must be:
      1) between the ages of 40 — 59
      2) working 25 or more hours a week
      3) suffering from a chronic illness (autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease, or other chronic health conditions)

      If you or someone you know meets the above criteria we’d love to hear their/your responses to the following questions. We’d like to know your:
      1) name
      2) age
      3) occupation
      4) city/state
      5) illness you suffer from
      6) Do you have any novel coping strategies for handling a chronic illness at work? (These might be mental, emotional, attitudinal, physical or practical coping strategies.) Have you had an epiphany that has helped you to do much better handling a chronic illness at work? (E.g. “A turning point in my work life came when I realized I had to leave my blackberry at work so that I could get the rest I needed at home…. ” Or, “My best coping strategy is to remember that… ”
      7) In my reporting a number of women told me that one of the hardest issues they face is to put a bright face on their illness while at work or at work functions, giving everyone the “thumbs up” and appearing upbeat for the sake of others — even when they are not feeling well. Is this true for you and can you describe what these moments at work are like, how they feel, and how you deal with them?

      Thanks so much!

      Donna Jackson Nakazawa
      THE AUTOIMMUNE EPIDEMIC: Bodies Gone Haywire in a World out of Balance

    • Anonymous
      July 14, 2008 at 10:01 am

      As far as I am concerned your instructor couldn’t be more wrong. The nursing profession needs more compassionate nurses and who better than someone who has had the GBS experience. GBS is definetly not contagious so you are not putting patients at risk. If anything your residuals from GBS make nursing more of a challenge for you but that is your decision not the instructors! My CIDP and cancer experience has made me think about how much I miss interacting with patients. I was thinking about possibly going into a patient ed job so I could get back to patient care a bit. Currently I am still off on disablitlity but do plan to return. I do clinical informatics—they need nurses to help design computer systems for use in the hospital. Please don’t give up! Nursing is a great profession.

    • Anonymous
      July 14, 2008 at 12:26 pm

      Donna, I am sorry to say that I don’t qualify on two counts, I am now 60, so too old, and my doctor took me off work at age 53, but I do think I have an important contribution to add in that I wasn’t the timid nurse, nor was I a know it all, but I was a mentor to a lot of student nurses and did a good job with patient education, discharge planning and family counseling. Maybe the title is : ” How I coped with suddenly cidp, no job, and the mental struggles I endured to still feel important in my society.” The useless feeling I have sometimes outweighs my cidp pain and difficulties. But a good guy on this forum said ” never ever give up ” and I am tring to do that. If More ever wants to interview the seniors struggles, I am more than willing to submit my story. Am sure that there are others like me. Emma