Quote from phoenix72
Thank you so much for your reply. I worry because people hear bipolar and they automatically think "Crazy". I know that nurses have to be mentally and physically able to perform the tasks required and that we have to pass a physical/mental health screening. Did you disclose your condition? I just don't want it to come back and bite me in the end. I would and will be a fabulous nurse, regardless of my condition. Thank you again for your help.
I know re people hear bipolar and think "Crazy". As a rule if I disclose at all I tell people I have "depression" and I'm a lot more cautions with that info than I used to be. I will disclose "bipolar" if the other person does first, or if they are describing symptoms/family member and my telling them will be helpful. It's not that I'm ashamed - it's just that when the time comes to help, they will already know I'm reliable - versus knowing my condition and LOOKING for me to look crazy if that makes sense.
Yes, nurses obviously need to be physically and emotionally stable in order to work. This means we have to have a good command of what our signs/symptoms are, especially when they increase due to self-neglect (not sleeping/eating, or from over- doing, especially with overtime!). Then, having this knowledge and awareness, we have to know how to take action BEFORE we endanger our patients or ourselves. Ya know? That's why people think "crazy" - because of the number of people who will wait til they are full blown symptomatic/in crisis, off meds (if they need them), etc.
Before I went for that job, I called disability rights services regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether I had to say I had bipolar. They said I didn't have to offer the info, but if I was asked, and lied, then I could lose my job.
I did disclose to the employee health nurse that I was on Lithium, because that question was on the form. So obviously from that she knew my diagnosis. She questioned me as to how I take care of my bipolar and that was it; she assured me that she was obligated to NOT tell my supervisor and that it wouldn't be a consideration for hire. And I DID get the job.
I was/am a great nurse - when I am stable. I did not work when I was manic, I knew that was risky. When I'm depressed I'm not too happy with my performance (although my evaluations don't reflect that, I'm always "above average"). I do have high expectations of my performance.
The reason I left the profession is when I started making too many mistakes and shortcuts due to the depression and anxiety. I couldn't concentrate or think, became so confused, and just couldn't justify continuing.
So scary. I would love to go back to using my skills and knowledge but to risk hurting someone due to my illness - NOT cool.
I hope that you continue to do well! If you want more info on behavior mod (vs. using meds) for bipolar check out Bipolar Happens