Depression/Anxiety Medications A Possible Hinderance to Getting a Job?

  1. 1
    I am a new RN who has been looking for a job for a long time. I have had a dead spell where I got no interviews, but now am getting several calls for interviews. While interviews themselves are stressful (as everyone knows!), my concern lies with my prescribed medications for anxiety and depression. I know that many nurses suffer with these problems, but I take atypical medications for my issues because I have adverse reactions to SSRI's. I take Wellbutrin, Lamcital, and Neurontin. This combination has kept me stable for years.

    Now I am concerned about a health examination and having to reveal this drug combination because I worry that people may think I am seriously mentally impaired. I am not! I graduated cum laude and was a participant in an honor society. I have great reviews from my mentors.

    I can't get this worry out of my mind. I feel like if I took Prozac or another SSRI the concern wouldn't be as bad. I feel more "normal" than so many people I talk to. I have friends who got in taking Adderall or Ritalin, but is treatment for depression more of a stigma than ADHD treatment?

    How can I ease my mind about this? I have worked very hard in nursing school and don't want to be disqualified for jobs due to what medications I take. Thanks all!
    Joe V likes this.

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  2. 23 Comments...

  3. 3
    As long as the medications or condition don't inhibit your ability to perform your job (which they evidently wouldn't as you got through school), the employer has no grounds to deny you employment for those reasons. Only the examiner and other pertinent staff can see what's actually on the report; all that HR gets is just that you are medically qualified for the job. Revealing anything more than that to non-clinical staff would be a huge violation of privacy. The HR manager doesn't need to know if you had a mole removed from your butt or what medicines you are taking, or whatever. They just need a yes/no answer on this based on the clinical judgment of the examiner.

    If your cocktail of medicine is working, I think that's all that matters. Anyone who can step foot into a hospital without feeling slightly nervous has a problem, in my opinion.
    VivaLasViejas, jtmarcy12, and Marshall1 like this.
  4. 4
    I really don't think you have much to worry about. I worked as an infection control nurse at a large hospital for quite a few years. As part of my job, I performed all of the employee health, including drug testing. Before the drug testing, I reviewed all current Rx's with the prospective employee. This is strictly CONFIDENTIAL. My boss (a physician) reviewed all results but if the levels were in line with their current Rx's, there was no problem. Believe me, many health professionals out there suffer from a wide variety of malladies that require pharmaceutical treatments. Our HR department was not privy to this information (sometimes only that they failed d/t illicit drugs or levels beyond reasonable expected use, but even then we were not allowed to share more).

    I am glad the meds are helping. Good luck in your job search & new career!!
    jtmarcy12, opossum, rnsheri, and 1 other like this.
  5. 3
    One of my best friends is a newly minted BSN, RN who right now has a job in an ED where she is very, very happy.

    Less than one year ago she was an inpatient at the acute psych facility where I work.

    Your prescriptions are your business, as long as you do not come to work impaired, your privilege as a patient is absolutely protected. If you want to become an NP with prescriptive authority, you might have to worry about schedule II or III meds, but other than that, no big.
    VivaLasViejas, Marshall1, and rnsheri like this.
  6. 0
    Do you really think that an Np will have difficulty obtaining prescriptive authority if they take medications? I am trying to figure that out myself because I am currently an NPP student and have to take meds. Do you have any information about this? THanks
  7. 2
    Why would a NP having difficulty obtaining prescriptive authority? She (or he) wouldn't no more than an RN or LPN would be restricted from giving controlled medications..UNLESS there was a substance abuse problem which is another issue unrelated to the OP question/ far as the meds the OP is my knowledge none of these show up in drug screens because of what they are...I know some nurses who take medications like the ones you are on and have never divulged the info. to the employer and I know others who take similiar who did tell when taking the physical - I am NOT advocating not being honest, I'm simply stating that the meds you are on help you, keep you stable and obviously don't interefere with your ADL's so...don't worry. Don't volunteer any information unless asked. You will be fine.
    VivaLasViejas and jtmarcy12 like this.
  8. 3
    Why would you tell anyone what meds you're on? Your health information is private. They can do a physical without that information. I always answered "none" to that question on the physical. The only persons who need to know those details are my doctor and I and EMS in case of an emergency. No one else.

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    Marshall1, nola1202, and vintagemother like this.
  9. 1
    It shouldn't necessarily affect you either way. You may have to disclose to your board what your diagnosis is. For instance, in Texas, you must specifically answer if you have ever been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, no distinction made between I/II/NOS. In Washington State, on the other hand, the Nursing Commission simply asks if you have ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder that affects your practice, which is much less specific. Even if you answer yes, they are simply going to want to know if you are receiving treatment and to be sure that you aren't going to endanger anyone.

    As for your employer-- a whole other story. I would not disclose anything at all, except possibly prescription meds during the drug screen. Your employer has no right to protected health information. You should not be discriminated against based on any physical or mental condition-- this is illegal.
    Marshall1 likes this.
  10. 12
    Good God, if this was the case half of us wouldn't be employed! Not to mention for some of them, their job CAUSED the prescription in the first place! lol
  11. 1
    Those aren't medications that would show up on a drug test and mistaken for illicit drug use. None of those medications are viewed as having a high potential for abuse. There is no reason to disclose that you take them or expect that you would have erroneously positive drug test results from taking them. Even if you were taking schedule II meds, a note from your MD or NP in advance should suffice. Also, Neurontin, Wellbutrin, and Lamictal have uses beyond mental health issues, as you know.
    Last edit by mariebailey on Sep 13, '12
    Marshall1 likes this.

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