Nurses with ADD/ADHD?

  1. Does anyone here have ADD/ADHD?

    I'm a pre-nursing student.

    Strangely, I don't have trouble in classes when the subject interests me. My ADHD however means I can seem a little rusty socially... not glaringly awkward, just the occasional thing blurted, or easily distracted.

    I've tended to be employed way under my ability level.

    I chose the medical field because (among other reasons) I need to interact with people in order to stay focused, and because I like "smart" work and I have always been interested in medicine and medical science. I can stay totally focused when I am doing work that involves people, and using my brain and my hands.

    I didn't know I could even handle heavy academia (I could manage a courseload of maybe one class at a time) until trying medication.

    I tried to do computers for a long time... never put a "hyper" person in their own cube with an internet connection, and expect to get any work done

    I am wondering who here has a similar condition and how it works for you as a nursing student or nurse.

    I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a long time, but I actually have a HUGE variety of interests and avocations (writing is my big one) and there would be no room for these in residency. I'm truly miserable without my outside interests, and without a lot of flexibility. I used to do work with similar hours to doctors, and it made me very unhappy... just waking up, feeding my face, going to work, then coming home to sleep, with no time for downtime, family, pets, etc.

    And I still intend to get a degree in biology and more anthropology classes under my belt, in addition to nursing. What can a nurse do with an additional biology degree? It seems the route bio majors take, is usually the BS in Bio and THEN BSN, not the other way around.
    Last edit by fascinoma on Jan 9, '07
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   wwnurse
    I was one of those who found out later in life I had ADD. I started meds and started college at 34. At first I was a little undecided about what to pursue and just took pre-req's. Anyway, for various reasons I decide to try nursing (LVN first). I have to say I think it is a fabulous job for ADD/ADHDers. The variety is endless for those of us who bore easily. The main thing is finding a place where you can function well. ER's for high performing adrenaline junkies. Home health, long term care facilities, & nights for those who function better in low stress environments. For those who are afraid of wandering attention causing med errors, you can always do patient teaching for clinics etc.
    Eventually when you have gained some experience, you can pursue your writing by submiting articles to nursing journals etc!
    Best of luck!
  4. by   APBT mom
    I have had ADHD since I was in elementary school. My parents refused to put me meds because the meds out at the time turned the kids into zombies. All throughout school I've done alright but when it comes to something that I didn't want to do I tended to put it off until the last minute. When I decided to go to college it was the same way except for the science classes I went to every class and paid attention to everything that happened. Getting into nursing school it was the same way I parid attention to everything that was going on and did really well in lab. I'm laso doing really well in clinicals because I want to do things.

    Downside to having ADHD I hate doing things that I don't want to do, I don't pay attention to something I find boring, and in clinicals when it's slow I get tired and don't want to do anything. I also have a hard time studying so I made myself a schedule and I stick to it like it's the law but make sure that I give myself several breaks. I also tend to loose my train of thought or forget things so I have to make lists or tell every detail so I don't forget what I was trying to say or what point I wanted to prove.

    It's duable without meds if you can control when you're getting into the hyper portion of it. I can feel it coming and it tends to come at inconvienent times (late at night when everyones asleep and I have no one to talk to, when it's time to be serious and I'm having a hyper moment and can't stop laughing/talking). If it happens while I'm in class I tell everyone I'm having an ADHD moment and I'll go to the bathroom or force myself to read my book for class even if I repeat the same paragraph seven times until I feel myself calming down. I also get really bad if I don't have a break. I also tend to get tired after some of the hyper moments so I have to get up and walk for a few minutes.

    I think ADHD also makes you tend to have a variety of interest like you posted because you can't concentrate on one specific thing so your mind always ends up wandering and you find something else that all you find interesting. Use the other things while your in the program too. If you get bored reading/studying go on the internet for 15 mins and read up on something else that interests you.

    You can do it and you'll probably excell at the clinical/lab aspect. Good luck!!
  5. by   mel2009
    Hello,

    I am a student nurse in my second semester who was just diagnosed with ADHD a little over a year ago. I wanted to let you know that it is possible to get through school with ADHD. That being said it is one of the most rewarding thing I have ever done but there are days where it is brutal. I just keep in mind that this is one of my bad days and tomorrow is a new one. I find it very helpful to have one master calendar that has everything from school obligations, to my work schedule, and any person things as well. I work full time and also per idem as a Nurse TEch so dont get discouraged, it is possible.

    For homework I keep a check list of each assigment or chapter and break it up over the week and cross them out when they are completed. Now being that I have ADHD I don't always stick to it 100% but i leave myself a little flexibility in the schedule. If there is a time where I am not productive at all I switch the way I am studying from taking notes to some questions from the CD of the book or watching some demo videos. In lectures I focus on taking notes even if the professor gives out a power point.

    Hope some of this helps!
  6. by   mel2009
    Oops I posted this twice! Sorry
    Last edit by mel2009 on Feb 5, '08 : Reason: oops I posted it twice sorry
  7. by   kythe
    I was first diagnosed with ADD in high school, but have never been medicated for it. I think it was reasoned that if I'd already gone that long without medication, I was obviously coping. (Apparantly not too well, or it wouldn't have been diagnosed in the first place...)

    As an adult, I have great difficulty holding a job. I get bored too easily, and I tell myself I need experience in this area or that, and I flit from one thing to another. I had wanted to become a nurse for as long as I can remember, so I know this is a career I will stick with.

    I lasted about 4 months in a nursing home, but it was a very high-stress environment and I did not do well with multi-tasking, organization, and time management. Now I work with an agency, which is perfect because I can flit from one place to another without actually changing jobs! That means this job may actually last long-term. I have become a "regular" in a couple of group homes for the disabled, and I enjoy what I do. Because of the residents' varying health needs, I use a variety of nursing skills that I wouldn't have in a nursing home setting. It is a more mellow environment, so the multi-tasking problems are less of an issue for me.

    I'm going back to school next year for RN. A few things I plan to do differently are sitting in the front row during lectures to reduce distractions, and taping lectures so I can review the "boring" parts I will inevitably space out. I also have started exercising regularly. Oddly, if I start the day with an hour of moderate activity, it helps me feel more focussed for the rest of the day.
  8. by   dancechica
    I've had ADD since I've been in school but was unofficially diagnosed with it right after high school. I'm in my 3rd out of 5 terms in an LVN program and am struggling with clinical right now. My most difficult thing is time management and I will fail if I don't fix it. I have a hard time getting my tasks done in a timely manner, especially when I have patients that require a lot of my time. My question would mostly be about how long each task takes, like assessments, taking vitals, doing ADLs, and completing paperwork.
  9. by   zilla704
    Quote from Tampagirl
    I have had ADHD since I was in elementary school. My parents refused to put me meds because the meds out at the time turned the kids into zombies. All throughout school I've done alright but when it comes to something that I didn't want to do I tended to put it off until the last minute. When I decided to go to college it was the same way except for the science classes I went to every class and paid attention to everything that happened. Getting into nursing school it was the same way I parid attention to everything that was going on and did really well in lab. I'm laso doing really well in clinicals because I want to do things.

    Downside to having ADHD I hate doing things that I don't want to do, I don't pay attention to something I find boring, and in clinicals when it's slow I get tired and don't want to do anything. I also have a hard time studying so I made myself a schedule and I stick to it like it's the law but make sure that I give myself several breaks. I also tend to loose my train of thought or forget things so I have to make lists or tell every detail so I don't forget what I was trying to say or what point I wanted to prove.

    It's duable without meds if you can control when you're getting into the hyper portion of it. I can feel it coming and it tends to come at inconvienent times (late at night when everyones asleep and I have no one to talk to, when it's time to be serious and I'm having a hyper moment and can't stop laughing/talking). If it happens while I'm in class I tell everyone I'm having an ADHD moment and I'll go to the bathroom or force myself to read my book for class even if I repeat the same paragraph seven times until I feel myself calming down. I also get really bad if I don't have a break. I also tend to get tired after some of the hyper moments so I have to get up and walk for a few minutes.

    I think ADHD also makes you tend to have a variety of interest like you posted because you can't concentrate on one specific thing so your mind always ends up wandering and you find something else that all you find interesting. Use the other things while your in the program too. If you get bored reading/studying go on the internet for 15 mins and read up on something else that interests you.

    You can do it and you'll probably excell at the clinical/lab aspect. Good luck!!
    I could've written every word. Thanks for posting
  10. by   crunchymomx3
    I had ADHD as a child and was on the Feingold diet. It worked great for me. Now as an adult I have ADD and until I was in school it wasn't an issue. But the stress of school made my ADD really come out. When people started commenting on the fact that I was hyper focusing at times and always fidgeting/picking I knew I should look into ways to cuurb the issues.

    Now I take Omega 3s (fish oil) daily and it has made a HUGE difference. I don't know how I survived without supplements to be honest lol.
  11. by   ThatGuyTom
    I don't know if I have ADD/ADHD or not but I can relate to what all you guys are saying. Recently I've been getting really annoyed because I just can't seem to focus. I find that I am slower in getting my work done and I'm usually the last ones to finish exams. I space out a lot in lectures and I have trouble studying. Sometimes it takes me HOURS to study a chapter where it takes others hardly even one hour. I do noticed that I space out like every other paragraph when I read and sometimes I would have to read a paragraph multiple times before I can actually understand it. It feels like only some of the words are registering in my brain or maybe it's because I'm not completely focused (it's really tough for me to focus).

    I've always thought that I was having some kind of thought blocking process. So what made you guys go in to check up with your physician? Do you guys think I should have this checked out to see if I really have ADD/ADHD? I'm actually doing pretty well in my nursing courses, but I truly feel that I am different from others and that I have a disadvantage sometimes .

    Thanks for letting me share.

    EDIT: I also want to mention that I CANNOT sit still during lectures or when I'm studying. I tend to move and reposition myself like literally every 5-10 minutes. ahhhhh!
    Last edit by ThatGuyTom on May 2, '08
  12. by   hiddencatRN
    I have not been officially diagnosed with ADD, but am finally being medicated for it (Dr. thinks it's just depression, I think my depression is triggered by under performing due to focus issues, so we compromised on wellbutrin and then ritalin prn. People complain about how easy it is to get ADD meds, but I've been trying to medication for 3 years).

    Being engaged and wanting to be engaged makes a huge difference for me. I've also found that rebuilding my self esteem and sense of self-efficacy has also made a world of difference.

    Still- sometimes I'm scared that I will go through nursing school, become a nurse, and then space out and not be able to keep things organized in my mind. Doing well this first semester of prerequisites has been really, really good for me, but I guess deep down there is still a kernel of belief that I'm just a spacey, lazy person who was really only ever good at one thing (singing) and even then wasn't able to see it through to a career. But I'm working on it.
  13. by   firstaiddave908
    I have ADD and I am looking into going to Nursing School and reading theses posts are very helpfuil. Thank you for posting them.
  14. by   henryswife
    I have ADD and I take strattera.I definitely can relate to quitting jobs and convincing my self that"I need experience to do this position or that position or I will never get promoted because of lack of experience." So I have a question do you think tape recording lectures will be benefitul?

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