Future Nurse With a Neurological Disorder?

  1. Hi there!

    New to this site, so still figuring things out. I was hoping that some of the fellow nurses or nursing students could address this issue for me. I am from California and I applied to nursing school (in Sacramento, CA) and will be hearing back on November 27. It is a point based system, so I suspect that I will get into the program. However, I am really concerned about the drug screening.

    I have epilepsy and I have been prescribed multiple medications for it. One of the medications is Klonopin, which falls into the benzodiazepine category. For now, I take up to 1mg per day, PRN; however, I am allowed to take 1mg up to 4 times in one day. In the future, Klonopin may become a medication that I take for seizure disorder daily.

    I have valid RXs for every medication that I take. The reason I am worried is that I have read so much conflicting information on whether or not nurses are allowed to take medications like this, and if they're allowed to work while dealing with a psychological/neurological disorder. I don't want to jeopardize my future career, I tried so hard to get to where I am at right now, but I can't just drop the medications :/ Please let me know your experiences, and hopefully, make me feel better

    Thanks so much for your input.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   LovingLife123
    As long as you have a script, it's fine. I took klonopin years ago for my seizures and it worked well.

    Are your seizures controlled is my question. It is very important that they are.
  4. by   pavlovnurse
    Thanks for the reply! If you don't mind me asking, what state are you from, and does it matter who your employer is? My seizures are almost entirely controlled. My doctor has mentioned getting me my license back, so we're pretty much there. So cool to talk to someone in the same position!
  5. by   KelRN215
    I was off meds by the time I became a nurse but I had severe seizures secondary to a brain tumor (like multiples seizures/day) when I entered nursing school.
  6. by   pavlovnurse
    Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you're better! That is really encouraging to hear, and you're one tough nurse for getting through that.
  7. by   LovingLife123
    I don't want to reveal my state, but it shouldn't matter what state you are in. If you have a valid script, you are ok.

    My seizures have been controlled for many years. I've weaned down my meds to where I am only on one right now.

    Make sure you talk to your doctor and get their opinion on nursing. That's what I did. My biggest fear was that I would have my seizures come back. I had been seizure free for well over a year at the time and my doctor was confident that I was in a good place to go to school.
  8. by   Been there,done that
    Quote from pavlovnurse
    Hi there!

    New to this site, so still figuring things out. I was hoping that some of the fellow nurses or nursing students could address this issue for me. I am from California and I applied to nursing school (in Sacramento, CA) and will be hearing back on November 27. It is a point based system, so I suspect that I will get into the program. However, I am really concerned about the drug screening.

    I have epilepsy and I have been prescribed multiple medications for it. One of the medications is Klonopin, which falls into the benzodiazepine category. For now, I take up to 1mg per day, PRN; however, I am allowed to take 1mg up to 4 times in one day. In the future, Klonopin may become a medication that I take for seizure disorder daily.

    I have valid RXs for every medication that I take. The reason I am worried is that I have read so much conflicting information on whether or not nurses are allowed to take medications like this, and if they're allowed to work while dealing with a psychological/neurological disorder. I don't want to jeopardize my future career, I tried so hard to get to where I am at right now, but I can't just drop the medications :/ Please let me know your experiences, and hopefully, make me feel better

    Thanks so much for your input.
    You cannot stop taking your antiepileptic meds for a career choice. Drug screening is not the main issue here.

    The issue is.. you can still have a seizure at anytime. Only your neurologist can really advise you.
    I myself, would not pursue nursing.. if I knew I could be incapacitated .. by a seizure, at any time. Can't pick and choose when you may seize. Nurses need to be 100% all of the time. Life or death.. ya know.

    Peace to you.
  9. by   pavlovnurse
    Thank you for your advice
  10. by   Passion8RN
    At the end of the day, we are all human. We have issues just like our patients. As long as your seizures are controlled, I would encourage you to pursue your career goals. I work in a neuro infusion suite and take care of several nurses that have neurological disorders including seizures, and it does not hold them back. You only live once, so I encourage you to live your life to the fullest which includes pursuing your career goals. You are an individual that has a seizure disorder. Your disorder is just something you have not chosen, but have to live with. Don't let the disorder define you or hold you back!! I am praying and rooting for you pavlovnurse!
  11. by   anewsns
    Yes, you're def fine with a script. They'll do a workplace physical in the future when you apply to jobs too and that will just be to make sure you're being followed by a doc for illnesses and they're controlled. All scripts are fine as long as they don't affect your ability to work.
  12. by   LovingLife123
    Quote from Been there,done that
    You cannot stop taking your antiepileptic meds for a career choice. Drug screening is not the main issue here.

    The issue is.. you can still have a seizure at anytime. Only your neurologist can really advise you.
    I myself, would not pursue nursing.. if I knew I could be incapacitated .. by a seizure, at any time. Can't pick and choose when you may seize. Nurses need to be 100% all of the time. Life or death.. ya know.

    Peace to you.
    That's why I ask if they are controlled. I have been for well over 6 years now. I've gone from 3 meds to just one now and will go off that I'm assuming in the next year. I had about 10 years where mine were completely uncontrolled and I never would have thought of having any type of job. If you find the right meds and take care of yourself, it's possible to get them under control.
  13. by   pavlovnurse
    Thank you all so much for the replies! If anyone comes across this forum in the future, feel free to add your advice as well
  14. by   Karrony
    Hello.
    I was diagnosed epilepsy in my last year of nursing school that resulted in anti-epilepsy medication.
    As long as you have a prescription you're good, as others have said.
    The only thing I would be careful with: the possibility of missing classes due to appointments and such. You've already stated your seizures are relatively controlled, but just be careful. I missed a good 2 weeks worth of school due to neuro appointments, and despite passing the courses, it showed in my grades. Also, let the nursing coordinator know you've been given the all clear by your doctor. It'll make them feel better about having you.
    Good luck!!

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