Do I tell my manager?

  1. 0
    I was diagnosed late last year with Bipolar2, after over a decade of misdiagnoses of unipolar major depression + GAD, postpartum depression, etc. BP2 makes so much sense now, and I feel some relief knowing what's wrong with me and that I'm not a broken person.

    Since then, my pdoc has temporarily relieved me from duty twice due to mood instability, and I've been compliant with that. My workplace has respected the MD note, no questions asked. There was no mention of why I was on medical leave.

    I've had a med change and am finally gaining some stability. I work PRN as a subacute med/tx nurse and that schedule works well. I feel like I can (and want to!) work more now than the minimum required of me.

    There is an on-call charge nurse position open on my unit, and I'm interested in applying for it. I spoke to my manager about it and she cited my availability as the only reason she was hesitant in recommending me. She said there was no question of my ability to perform the job.

    My question is, do I tell her what's going on and why I can be more available now? I don't work closely with her, since I'm not there full time, and have no idea what her attitude toward this kind of thing would be. She seems to be a sensible and respectful person - she never calls people out on their mistakes in front of others and I've never heard her gossiping - and manages the unit well. But that doesn't mean I know how she'll react. She may be more hesitant for recommending me for any position based on my issues.

    Or do I leave it alone, be more available for my current position and wait until the next one comes around?
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I wouldn't tell her, personally. There really isn't any reason for her to know at this point. I wish you the best!
    NurseDirtyBird likes this.
  5. 0
    Read the directions from your BON- more and more states require disclosure of 'any mental illness or psychoactive med'. If found out that you didn't disclose as required- your license is at risk. Also, if the BON knows, if you have to tell them, who's to say your employer doesn't also know? Your BON may have you labeled as 'at risk'. It's an ugly situation, all around.
  6. 1
    You are facing several issues- and all because you took the initiative to realize that you had a problem, and take action to help correct it.
    -Your medical/mental health issues- obtaining care, meds, etc. in the first place, and affording it.
    -Possible disability laws that either protect you, or do not.
    -The BON, that may consider you impaired, or at risk, or etc.
    -Your employer, who may take adverse action against you if they know your history.
    -Sadly, in the digital age, now- your psychoactive meds may cause you to be arrested for DUI, if you are pulled over, for anything. Also, if insurance is involved, all of your prescription history is avaliable to many sources that you are not aware of.

    Take a deep breath. Make a flowsheet on your wall. Who to tell? Who not to? Who has access to my records? Who cross checks this license against another (state databse) license? Nice things to talk to your doctor about- they are fully aware of the new situations patients are facing that have any type of illness. Take it slow.
    NurseDirtyBird likes this.
  7. 1
    Do NOT tell anyone you work with. I know a nurse who did this and was basically blacklisted until she got a new job. Even HCP are still not that enlightened about these subjects.
    NurseDirtyBird likes this.
  8. 2
    Whew.........this is a toughie.

    To be honest, I'm more concerned that you may be overreaching now that you're feeling better. I've done it countless times myself---and very recently too---and I always wind up getting knocked flat on my assets, either because I run out of enthusiasm or get in over my head. You, being new to the bipolar diagnosis, are even more at risk because you're still working to achieve long-lasting stability and you just don't have enough time in yet.

    FWIW, it's taken me over a year to reach anything even remotely close to stability, and now I'm fighting another setback because I overreached and took on too many projects at work. We're under the gun because of a bad survey and can't seem to get unstuck---we had our second re-visit this past week and failed miserably---and my director and I have been notified that we will be fired if we don't pass on the next re-visit.

    So essentially, I've been busting my rear for NOTHING, and I am angry and upset and severely anxious. I'm coping better than I used to---I haven't flipped my cork---but I'm also on four different meds for my bipolar disorder. The thing is, extra stress tends to destabilize people with our illness, and in all honesty, I think you probably ought to consider passing on this promotion until you've been OK for at least six months to a year.

    As for discussing your condition with your boss and co-workers, I wouldn't do it if you can possibly avoid it, unless you need special accommodations in order to do your job. (I do need them, so my company is altogether TOO familiar with my mental health issues.)

    Wishing you the best of luck, whatever you decide to do.
    NurseDirtyBird and poppycat like this.
  9. 0
    Do not share your diagnosis. You are protected in the workplace and do not have to share. If you are able to show you are more available for work then do so. Then you may have a chance for another position. Sharing you are bipolar can only backfire. Not sure why anyone said you could be pulld over for tasking meds for your bipolar, so untrue.
  10. 0
    Quote from wincha
    Do not share your diagnosis. You are protected in the workplace and do not have to share. If you are able to show you are more available for work then do so. Then you may have a chance for another position. Sharing you are bipolar can only backfire. Not sure why anyone said you could be pulld over for tasking meds for your bipolar, so untrue.
    Any substance, legal or not prescribed or not, can get you arrested for DUI- even Benadryl, as an example. The new laws are 'impaired to the slightest degree', and it makes zero difference if you have a prescription. It is a subjective determination, on the part of the cop, if you have been pulled over and are considered to be impaired. This is just the facts. Don't kid yourselves. So, if you are pulled over and suspected of impairment, and he asks 'have you been drinking, are you taking any medications'?, you're in a tough spot.
  11. 0
    Quote from SuzieVN

    Any substance, legal or not prescribed or not, can get you arrested for DUI- even Benadryl, as an example. The new laws are 'impaired to the slightest degree', and it makes zero difference if you have a prescription. It is a subjective determination, on the part of the cop, if you have been pulled over and are considered to be impaired. This is just the facts. Don't kid yourselves. So, if you are pulled over and suspected of impairment, and he asks 'have you been drinking, are you taking any medications'?, you're in a tough spot.
    This is absolutely correct and the majority of psychotropic medications carry warnings about operating a vehicle or machinery... as far as the laws are concerned, impairment is impairment whether it's prescribed or not... if the medication impairs you and you chose to operate a motor vehicle then you could potentially get a DUI. The question of impairment may still be a subjective one on the part of the officer, but showing proof that it is a prescribed med certainly won't get you off the hook.
  12. 5
    I would not. I am BP 2 and was recently dx as well. I have been hospitalized 3x for suicidal ideation and each time I had to disclose. The first 2 times was before I was a nurse and the third was after. Let's just say that nothing at any of the jobs was the same after that and I didn't stay at any of the jobs much longer after that. The worst part is that the nursing job I was at this last time was a COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY. There is still enormous stigma about mental illness and even the mental health field is not immune to it.


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