Bipolar I and License Endorsement

  1. Hi I'm a nurse with bipolar disorder.

    I had already struggled with mental health in my teen years. I was diagnosed with depression. I went to nursing school, but within a year of graduating I went through a depressive episode and then a manic episode.

    I was hospitalized several times in two years due to suicidal thoughts. I was living in a bad environment.

    I'm stable now and have been working as a staff nurse on a med-surg floor of a hospital for three years now.

    When I was initially licensed, my state does not require disclosure. I passed my boards and was licensed with no issue.

    However, now my boyfriend who is in the military wants to get married and for me to move with him to another state next year when he gets transferred. He is not sure what state he will be sent to.

    I am worried about endorsing my license to another state. I'm worried how far they will go into my medical records. That they will ask for records from every facility and doctor whoever treated me. I have been hospitalized many times and I don't remember the names of all the doctors. I would have a hard time finding all those records throughout the past few years, especially if they need to write letters on my behalf. I'm worried they will ask for letters from all doctors who treated me.

    There are no criminal charges associated with my hospitalizations.

    I wanted to reach out to nurses who have mental illness and/or chemical dependency and ask about how the process went for you for licensure/endorsement.

    Were restrictions put on your license and/or did they send you to a monitoring program?

    Even though he is the greatest, sometimes I want to break up with my boyfriend because I'm afraid of the future.

    Thanks for reading.
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Hi there. I'm a 'retired' nurse who lives with bipolar I, and while I haven't moved since I was diagnosed, I can tell you that different states handle the issue of mental illness differently. Most will ask you if you have a physical or mental condition that may impair your ability to practice nursing safely; you should always disclose because getting caught lying to the BON is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Some states will require documentation from your doctor(s)/therapist attesting to your stability, while others will make you go through a monitoring program for several years which include random drug testing and counseling from their own providers (in addition to whatever your personal treatment team recommends). Texas is especially obnoxious about this, so avoid it if you can. And then there are some states like Oregon, where I'm licensed, that want to know about the illness but will basically take your word for it that you are a safe practitioner.

    The fact that you are stable and have a good job history will probably go a long way toward helping you get established in another location. Wishing you continued good health and a bright career wherever you go!

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