Depression, BiPolar Nursing School Essay

  1. Hi all,

    I'm in the process of filling out my application for nursing school. Of course there is a "Personal Statement" they want me to write. They also want a resume, which I don't have becauce I've not worked for serveral years due to depression and bipolar disorder. It is now under control and my life is getting back together. Do you think I should explain my situation about my mental condition in my personal statement, or should I just leave it be and not even raise the issue with the school? I just sort of feel as though I owe them an explanation as to why I will not be turning in a resume with the application packet.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Stephen
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Personally, I would not put this in my essay. However, not because it is mental illness, I don't think ANY illness belongs in the essay. It should be about your desire to be a nurse.

    I do congratulate you on getting back on track.
  4. by   purplemania
    I don't want to scare you, but some nursing boards are very leary about nurses being on certain drugs. Assuming you are on medication to control your illness I would contact the board of nurses in your state to find out if your medication will present a red flag when you apply for a license. Texas asks, and people on medication are sometimes asked to get information from their physician. It does not mean you WON'T be eligible, but some states are keeping track. I congratulate you also on your difficult journey and your courage to step out into the world of nursing. Good luck in your studies!
  5. by   EricJRN
    If the school says to send a resume, I would send one, even if it has some holes. Monster.com has some great info on building resumes under atypical situations like long gaps in work history. While I understand your hesitation, you don't want them to automatically 'File 13' your application because it's missing a piece.

    As for putting the mental illness info in your personal statement, I wouldn't. I agree with TraumaRUs that the focus should be on the reasons for choosing nursing. If you get an interview for the program and you still feel comfortable disclosing the information, that might be a better time to do so.
  6. by   firstyearstudent
    If you are confident that your condition will not affect your ability to complete the program and work as a nurse I wouldn't mention it.
  7. by   donsterRN
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    If the school says to send a resume, I would send one, even if it has some holes. Monster.com has some great info on building resumes under atypical situations like long gaps in work history. While I understand your hesitation, you don't want them to automatically 'File 13' your application because it's missing a piece.

    As for putting the mental illness info in your personal statement, I wouldn't. I agree with TraumaRUs that the focus should be on the reasons for choosing nursing. If you get an interview for the program and you still feel comfortable disclosing the information, that might be a better time to do so.
    :yeahthat:
  8. by   Daytonite
    Don't bring up the issue of any depression or bipolar illness. In this day and age it is not unusual for men to be stay at home mom's, caretakers of their own parents, or laid off and have to take re-training in a new career. One of my brother-in-laws has been making a fine living for years recycling junk from his neighborhood which he takes to recycling centers as his own boss. Make something up if you have to that sounds good and normal. A smart, savvy interviewer is going to ferret out if you have any behavior problems when they talk with you.
  9. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from Daytonite
    Don't bring up the issue of any depression or bipolar illness. In this day and age it is not unusual for men to be stay at home mom's, caretakers of their own parents, or laid off and have to take re-training in a new career. One of my brother-in-laws has been making a fine living for years recycling junk from his neighborhood which he takes to recycling centers as his own boss. Make something up if you have to that sounds good and normal. A smart, savvy interviewer is going to ferret out if you have any behavior problems when they talk with you.
    Daytonite, you always give such great advice. I am surprised that you would tell someone to "make something up." Perhaps this person could just inventory what they've been doing with their time and put a positive spin on it, without mentioning that they've been recuperating from a mental illness. I wouldn't put that in the same categoy as lying...
  10. by   shock-me-sane
    a big negative on including any mental health issues in your letter.

    as far as the resume. so what if you have holes? you have been doing your pre-req's correct? i am going to assume that you have worked before. put together a resume that has the jobs that you have had on it. you need to turn something in or they may consider your application incomplete.
  11. by   Lori RN_09_2b
    I'm a nursing student with bipolar disorder, and I'm generally pretty open about it. I'm happy to talk about it and share info and try to change people's outdated opinions. I don't, however, think it's wise to include that in your essay. I've found that people, when they meet me, think I'm perfectly "normal" and wouldn't be put off by my condition, but I could see someone reading the same info on paper and not giving me a chance. I wouldn't risk it.

    Lori
  12. by   stephen_kor
    Thanks to everyone who give their thoughts. I suppose I had just better lay low and not bring up the subject in my essay. As far as my resume I will somehow manage to bring it up to snuff with my previous work experience and going to school. Again, thanks for all the thoughtful comments!

    Stephen
  13. by   Daytonite
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    daytonite, you always give such great advice. i am surprised that you would tell someone to "make something up." perhaps this person could just inventory what they've been doing with their time and put a positive spin on it, without mentioning that they've been recuperating from a mental illness. i wouldn't put that in the same category as lying...
    i say that when it comes to getting a place in a nursing program or a job, all's fair. the powers in charge don't have to know what goes on in your personal life. shame on them if they ask--if they do, they deserve whatever bs answer they are given. i've been a manager for many years, seen many resumes, know that much can be faked, and know that good interviewing will bring forth the worst in people. this is one of the major reasons people are interviewed. i think it's a bit ridiculous to have students reveal their prior work histories as part of the selection process. to my way of thinking it has nothing to do with the teaching of nursing which is what the school is supposed to be focusing on. it's a bit prejudicial since a 19-year old is going to have little to no working history compared to a 40-year old. and it serves what purpose? if they are looking for a lousy work history a skilled interviewer can try to get that from an interview. i guarantee you, i can come up with a resume full of 100% false, verifiable information in about an hour. is that fair to anyone? obviously, the people asking for these resumes haven't learned that this can be done. the school can also put a more positive spin on the question of a resume or work history and ask it a different way. why not just ask for a essay on why you want to be a nurse. the bottom line here is that the program, all programs, are trying to screen for students who they feel are not going to be a waste of their valuable time and resources. they will ask you to write essays, interview you, ask for letters of recommendation and ask all kinds of questions trying to determine this. in the end, they really only know when they get you sitting before them in the classroom or at a clinical site and actually see how you act and perform under the gun. until then, you all have to play the game to "get in" to the school.

    and just a word to those who have guilt about their past illnesses. . .keep them there, in the past. no one wants to hear about them. reveal them at your own peril--especially if they involve mental issues. put yourself in the place of the people who have to chose candidates for these programs, or any job. do you think they want to hear about your struggles with mental health? (they might if it means an automatic passing you over for a place in the class.) do you think that maybe it sounds like you still need to be talking to a counselor if you have to rehash that stuff? keep it mum. if you are well now, it doesn't need to be discussed by you to anyone--so keep it to yourself. and, i mean to yourself. don't be telling other students your life history on prozac. many times the decisions about who gets into these programs is purely personal on the parts of the selectors. why give them something to exclude you? there are times when you can go too far with honesty.
  14. by   LanaBanana
    Wow, I understand not wanting to reveal mental illness during the application process, but as to not even mentioning it to other students? As someone who has gone through SEVERE depression for several years and come out on the other side (yeah Cymbalta!) I feel a need to share my experience with others who are struggling. In June a girl in my nursing class had just been started on antidepressants and was really struggling with it and when a few of us were talking about it I told them what I had gone through (I left out the gory details, but tried to let her know that I had been there, done that, and have moved on) to help her realize that recovery CAN happen. And by sharing my story with the other 3 students who were there, I hope that they will remember that when they encounter a patient with a mental illness. For some people, putting a personal face on an illness helps them to treat a patient with that illness with more compassion.
    Goodluck Stephen Kor. And congrats on taking this step!

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