I am 40 years old.
I have a measured I.Q. of roughly 140+, but very little 'common sense'
I have a fairly rare sort of crossbreed diagnosis of Bipolar disorder, major depression, and borderline personality disorder. I am also ADHD, have been since I was a child, and, was treated with the typical drugs used in the 70s and 80s, which my Doctors believe may have contributed to my current emotional disorders (I refuse to call myself mentally ill. I may be distracted, and have a low self image sometimes, but my mind is sharper, and smarter, than any other three people put together!).
I also have a neck that has been fused and had implants installed ('scaffolding'), spinal stenosis, mild leg neuropathy and slight drop foot.
For getting around long distances, I use a cane and do fine, although I am definately not a speed demon.
I am also a former heavyweight kick-boxer, and despite my structural abnormalities and the pain I have learned to accept as being my 'buddy' for the rest of my life (its constant and untreatable), I am strong enough to do...well...anything that needs done. I can, when called upon, take a 300 pound man over my shoulder and carry him...although I hope I would never have to
Now that you have some background facts, here is the deal:
I have always aspired to nursing, for two reasons: First of all, I cannot see myself devoting the time, money, and hardship to becoming a full on Doctor, furthermore I have learned over the years it is really the NURSES who make a difference in a patients care and recovery...the Doctor's are often little more than a diagnostic tool, in my opinion, and, because of the nature of their job tend to become emotionless automatons...and that is just not me!
I know as both a 'mentally ill' person, a 'disabled' person, and a heterosexual male, I have a steep uphill challenge not just to complete my training, but to secure a job, keep that job, and be taken seriously in the workplace, but I think Im stubborn and cantankerous enough to suceed....if I'm allowed.
And that, dear nurses, is my question: Am I, a crippled, half-crazy gimp of a middle aged man ALLOWED, by law, and by ethics, to become a nurse?
I feel that I would never be a danger to a patient, that I can provide high quality care within reasonable working accomodations, and I desperately want to take up what has, for so many years, felt like my 'calling'.
Any information, advice, or links to legal information regarding my circumstances and my chances of suceeding as a nurse would be most helpful.
-Anxiously yours, Elanthil.
May 13, '10
I am a FNP, and currently in school for my DrNP. Over the years I have worked with many male nurses. One of my classmates in the DrNP program is male. He is currently a stay at home Dad because he has a disability ( he was an OR nurse, but his wrist kept breaking for unknown reasons), so he decided to pursue his doctorate to prepare for a job outside the OR.
Where there is a will there is a way. There are many jobs in nursing that do not require physical labor. Many nurses find jobs in education, research, administration, or management, and of course, psychiatry.
If you choose a school for nursing, choose one that will assist you with your disabilities. There is grant money available for nursing education and for people with disabilities. All you need to do is search for it, or talk to an advisor. There are nurses who complete their education in wheelchairs.
If you are bipolar that is not a reason not to work or go to school. But you need to have enough insight ( it appears you do) to know that you need to be adherent on your medications to be stable. You need to have a good relationship with a psychiatrist who can vouch for your stability, adherence to medications, lack of suicide attempts or hospitalizations, and who can state that you are stable enough to attend nursing school. I think if you can such a letter, you will be alright.
If you are not stable enough on medications - this may not be the right time for you to take on the stress of nursing school. It will be stressful.
Just FYI - I was recently diagnosed as bipolar II at age 56, and am doing much better on my med regimen. Prior to this, I had trouble concentrating and never slept. Even so - I have a master's in nursing and am now working on my doctorate.
I believe you can do it if you can tame the bipolar beast with medications, and make peace with the stability and calmness of being medicated. Being bipolar - we miss the excitement of mania.
If you get a chance, read 'An Unquiet Mind' by Kay Redfied Jamison', she is a well known psychiatrist and expert in bipolar disorder and director of the mood disorder clinic at Johns Hopkins, she also has bipolar I disorder. A brave woman.
best to you,
Last edit by rn/writer on Nov 8, '10