When we ourselves need help | allnurses

When we ourselves need help

  1. 1 I'm filling in for a co-worker who suddenly and without warning went on a leave of absence. We have been informed by family she was 5150'd and is now going to a 30 day inpatient treatment program for depression and SI. She showed absolutely zero signs of this at work, and in fact, is one of the more cheerful and helpful people around here. She is an RN with many years experience. This is devastating to all of us.

    We are a tiny group and very close like family, and we are concerned for her license. Everyone seems to think a 5150 puts your RN license up for review. We can't get a straight answer from the CA BON. Now I'm also hearing a 5150 puts you on a "no fly" list!

    Has anyone heard of these two consequences for being 5150'd?

    This opens up a lot of thoughts about the mental health system. Of course we know it is very broken, but I'm GOBSMACKED to think your professional license and ability to fly would be impacted for a 5150.

    Is getting help really this punitive? I'm shocked to think how many people, especially licensed professionals, DON'T seek help for fear of these consequences. How is an endangered license and inability to fly helpful to someone in a crisis like that? It doesn't make sense. I'm disgusted at the way this system works, if this is true.
  2. Visit  mclennan profile page

    About mclennan, BSN

    mclennan has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCM, PHN'. From 'Los Angeles, CA, US'; Joined Sep '06; Posts: 745; Likes: 2,219.

    19 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    7
    There are states that have mandatory reporting for licensed professionals that deal with the public....so yes they can, they will and they do. California does has mandatory reporting for nurses who seek treatment for substance issues as well as mental health issues.

    Sad isn't it.....we will protect everyone but our own.
  4. Visit  CapeCodMermaid profile page
    17
    It's no wonder so many nurses go without the medications and/or therapy they need. It's pitiful in this day and age that mental illness still carries such a stigma.
    Lucky724, MBARNBSN, twinkletoes53, and 14 others like this.
  5. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    10
    I'm sure it was shocking to learn of this nurse's issues, especially in view of the fact that she had to be 5150'd rather than going inpatient voluntarily. I remember when it happened to a nurse at the hospital where I used to work; one day she was working on the floor, going about her business, then two days later she was strapped to a bed in one of our psych rooms, screaming obscenities and thrashing around while staff tried to get an IV in. How absolutely humiliating........I'd have never shown my face on that floor again after having my co-workers see me like that. But she did; once she went through an intensive inpatient stay at another hospital and took a leave of absence, she was well enough to work again. So, she's a 5150 success story.

    The thing is, none of us would've ever thought we'd see her in such a state, because she "presented well". She could be moody, to be sure, and sometimes she was downright nasty to the less experienced nurses. But mentally ill, on the edge of a nervous breakdown? Never would've guessed it.

    A lot of nurses with mental health issues, and indeed people you meet on the street, present well. Our illnesses percolate just below the surface while we maintain a "normal" appearance and demeanor. We are high-functioning, capable, personable, and we carry out our responsibilities just like everyone else does........but always at a cost. It is tremendously stressful trying to fit in and pretending that we don't have to work twice as hard as others do just to get through the minutiae of everyday life. But at least for a while, it's worth all the blood, sweat, and tears to be able to blend in with the crowd.

    I'll never forget the reaction of the first person outside of family that I told about my diagnosis last year. She was so surprised, she literally almost fell off her chair. "You? Bipolar?? But you're always so calm and cool.......are you SURE they diagnosed you correctly?" She couldn't believe it. But she didn't know how hard I'd had to fight my demons in order to hide them from the world, nor did she recognize how close I'd been to losing it completely. If I'd gone on much longer, I might have suffered the same fate as my onetime co-worker; luckily I never had to find out, as I got help before disaster struck.

    However you slice it, a 5150 is never a good thing to have on your record, and I feel for this nurse because she's going to be OK one of these days, and yet will likely pay for this for the rest of her days. I hadn't heard that about the 'no-fly' rule........sheesh, is the TSA overreacting or what? But she's going to have a fight ahead of her to keep her nursing license, and that's a shame. She has my sympathies.
    Lucky724, LTCNS, sapphire18, and 7 others like this.
  6. Visit  jamie876 profile page
    0
    We aren't really in control of everything and we cannot blame someone for being ill...mentally ill!Same as this nurse do!Hope she can get more support rather that judgment! and recover as soon as possible
  7. Visit  amygarside profile page
    2
    I really hope that some improvements will be done because nurses are also humans so they can suffer depression as well.
    wish_me_luck and TeleRN44 like this.
  8. Visit  sapphire18 profile page
    3
    I've been involuntarily admitted before; so far it hasn't had an impact on my license. The no fly thing sounds like a myth. Maybe if someone was homicidal, but suicidal? No. Good thoughts for your friend.
    Lucky724, wish_me_luck, and KelRN215 like this.
  9. Visit  HouTx profile page
    0
    Obviously, this issue is handled differently in each state. Some states may have much more harsh consequences.
  10. Visit  KelRN215 profile page
    5
    If you Google "5150 no fly", the first and only true match is this thread. The next one is about fly fishing. So I'm saying that's likely a myth.
    Lucky724, Altra, VivaLasViejas, and 2 others like this.
  11. Visit  elkpark profile page
    1
    Quote from mclennan
    Is getting help really this punitive? I'm shocked to think how many people, especially licensed professionals, DON'T seek help for fear of these consequences. How is an endangered license and inability to fly helpful to someone in a crisis like that? It doesn't make sense. I'm disgusted at the way this system works, if this is true.
    Please note there is a big difference between "getting help" and having to be petitioned for involuntary commitment. If your colleague had voluntarily sought help, it would be an entirely different matter (at least it would in every state in which I've ever practiced). When someone has to be committed against their will into psychiatric treatment, in every state I'm aware of, the grounds have to include being acutely dangerous to oneself and/or others and refusing to enter treatment voluntarily. Each state has its own rules and regulations; I've been in five different states over the years, and I don't think any of them had rules that an involuntary commitment automatically affected your license. But involuntary commitment is public record, and does have lasting consequences (like losing your right to buy and/or own guns).
    Last edit by elkpark on Jan 28, '13
    Altra likes this.
  12. Visit  ♪♫ in my ♥ profile page
    4
    Quote from elkpark
    Please note there is a big difference between "getting help" and having to be committed involuntarily. If your colleague had voluntarily sought help, it would be an entirely different matter.
    For one thing, private therapy and treatment with a psychologist or psychiatrist is a confidential medical matter; being placed on a hold is a legal event which puts it into the realm of the courts and public agencies.
    KelRN215, Lucky724, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
  13. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    0
    I was an involuntary admitted the last time. I had a suicide attempt. Please do not get in mind that it's only someone who went off the deep end. I had a serious suicide attempt and it grants an automatic 72 hour hold. Mine wasn't planned. It was something that was thought of the day of the event. A couple of days earlier I was talking to someone about all the plans I had for my life. You do not ever know. That is why it is important to ask people how they are feeling and if they are homicidal or suicidal. You cannot tell by looks.

    I am not being insensitive when I ask this, but I still need CA on my thread of states and mental health reporting, can someone add it? I would appreciate it. My goal is to have all 50 states and DC up. Thanks!
  14. Visit  debbiek22 profile page
    0
    I have a very sad story to tell. I was a nurse for 26 years and went through a rough period in my life starting with the death of my father and my best friend. My husband ruptured his appendix and went septic, and I had a wrong-sided surgery in which the surgeon removed the wrong ovary. I had severe insomnia and felt like I needed some help. I asked one of the doctors to help me out and she took me to the psych hospital where I checked in voluntarily.
    The nursing board found out and suspended my license. They ordered me to be drug tested 2-3 times monthly and to see a therapist and psychiatrist monthly. They wrote that I was unable to practice safely.
    I have had over 100 negative drug screens and saw the mental health providers as they demanded for 3 years now with no end in sight.
    So yes, they can take your license away for ANYTHING! Pray you don't get involved with them.


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