Accomadations for bipolar disorder

  1. 0
    I'm in school for vocational nursing and am considering asking for accommodations for bipolar disorder. So far I haven't had a problem, but am afraid that as time goes on I might have a problem keeping up with the workload. Do you think this is a good idea?
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    You can only ask for reasonable accommodations.

    Exactly what accommodations do you think you need?
    Esme12 likes this.
  4. 8
    As much as I regret to say it, I would strongly advise you to keep your health issues private. If you feel you cannot handle the coursework, you may want to take a break from nursing school until you have things under control.

    I think you and I both know that symptomatic bipolar disorder is NOT compatible with pursuing goals that require concentration and focus. Asking for accommodations now may set a precedent that you don't want following you through your career, and believe me, once it's out in the open you can't take it back.

    We also know that our illness is an episodic one that will almost certainly come back to haunt us, over and over again, for the rest of our days. Decreasing the number of times that happens is the best way to achieve our goals, so if you're not taking good care of yourself---and that's HARD to do during nursing school!---you need to re-evaluate your priorities. The most important one, besides meds and therapy, is sleep, so if you're skimping on shut-eye, do what my psychiatrist did to me and set a curfew for yourself. No homework, no computer, no texting after a certain hour (preferably at least an hour before bed)---just go to bed and get up at the same times every day, and make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

    If you're not doing this, you won't believe how much it will do to stabilize your mood and help your cognitive function. I've had moderate short-term memory problems for years that are NOT helped by bipolar medications; but since I've become so strict with myself on sleep, my memory has improved to the point where I don't always have to use sticky notes to remember things. For me, that is progress.....for you, as a younger person in nursing school, it can mean the difference between succeeding on your own merit and needing accommodations.

    Self-care, self-care, self-care......I know I can be pretty repetitious about that, but even being on multiple mood stabilizers and antipsychotics didn't fix me until I started taking them at the same times every day and making a priority of protecting my sleep.
    bella_, bloodorange, Jolie, and 5 others like this.
  5. 1
    The request for accommodations must cause "undue hardship" for the employer. I agree with Viva keep it to yourself. I seriously doubt that an employer will give you a smaller assignment as that would cause an undue hardship to the other staff.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. 1
    I recently graduated BSN program and passed NCLEX-RN. I also suffer from bipolar disorder.
    Yes you should ask for accommodations if your school has a policy of saying you have to graduate by a certain time period. Because of bipolar disorder you may need to take fewer classes than those who do not have bipolar disorder.
    I want to tell you that bipolar disorder is treatable and manageable. I have reached that point where I have it under control and that it doesn't control me. If you feel this way you should not ask for accommodation but if you are overwhelmed with your bipolar disorder you should ask for accommodations so that your school can give you enough time to graduate.

    Good luck with your studies.
    bella_ likes this.
  7. 2
    Quote from Tesfanurse
    I recently graduated BSN program and passed NCLEX-RN. I also suffer from bipolar disorder.
    Yes you should ask for accommodations if your school has a policy of saying you have to graduate by a certain time period. Because of bipolar disorder you may need to take fewer classes than those who do not have bipolar disorder.
    I want to tell you that bipolar disorder is treatable and manageable. I have reached that point where I have it under control and that it doesn't control me. If you feel this way you should not ask for accommodation but if you are overwhelmed with your bipolar disorder you should ask for accommodations so that your school can give you enough time to graduate.

    Good luck with your studies.
    Hi, Tesfanurse, and welcome!

    Did you find that you needed accommodations during nursing school? And if so, how did it affect your relationships with your professors and fellow students? I'm asking because I advised bella_ not to request them for her BP, and am curious about your experience.

    It's not so nice out here in the big bad world of work......I live with bipolar 1 and made the mistake of being unable to stifle my mania at my last DNS job and had to disclose my illness, which eventually got me terminated. I also lost most of my (very) part-time hours at my nursing-home job due to back-to-back mood episodes in October and November. Now I've finally wrestled it under some semblance of control and I'm working for the state, where I have not disclosed my illness nor will I, even though I may end up needing accommodations at some point because the job is likely to disrupt my sleep patterns.

    I'm only warning the OP of the dangers of disclosing because mental illness is still very harshly stigmatized among healthcare professionals, and it's best to avoid going public with it if at all possible, even in nursing school. Just my honest opinion.
    bella_ and poppycat like this.
  8. 2
    While I was a student I disclosed to the dean and my professors. As I said I was diagnosed in the middle of my nursing program. I was trying to adjust to life with medications because it was my first time taking medications. I was very overwhelmed with the idea of having bipolar disorder.
    The accommodation that I was given was that I can take one or two classes at a time.
    As a result it took me a long time to graduate.
    I did not disclose it to my classmates except for my best friends who happen to be like sisters to me. That is why I disclosed to them. MY school administrators and instructors were so gracious to me. They kept my condition confidential.
    I agree with you we should not discuss it at work. Because people have stigma and they will not think we can do the job. Before I start working I am taking a month off for vacation to relax my mind. When I start working I will never ever ever disclose. I am a nurse I know how to take care of my bipolar illness.


    I am advising her to ask for accommodation because she is in school. It would be a waste of time for her to fail trying to do heavy workload while at the same time suffering from bipolar.
    VivaLasViejas and bella_ like this.
  9. 0
    Thank you all for posting. I will take all comments into consideration.


Top