I have bipolar, should I be a nurse?

  1. 2
    Is it a bad idea to go into nursing? I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It's rapid cycling and though I am on medications right now I still get hypo mania every now and then and a bit of short lived depression. I can intellectually grasp the material and definitely do well in the coursework but I am afraid I'll lose my mind. I was accepted to social work school and deferred it as a back up plan. I am doing this because I've come to like nursing while working in a hospital for the past half year and because it affords a decent pay unlike social work. Please don't blow smoke up my butt, I need to know if this is realistic before shelling out the money for prereqs.
    poppycat and VivaLasViejas like this.

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  2. 5 Comments...

  3. 4
    Many people with Bipolar are nurses. It is ultimately up to you as you know yourself better than anyone else does.

    I will leave you with this thought--you have a disorder, you are not your disorder. It shouldn't control your life.
    UnaNayeli, pinkiepieRN, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
  4. 0
    i went to nursing school w/ one person having epilepsy and another w/ ADHD and
    they were/are more than welcome to actually become nurses... just during the drug
    tests, during school and prior to becoming hired you must tell them the medications
    you are on w/ a doctors note so that they dont think you are some druggy...
    also, prior to starting school, talk to the DON of the program, or counselor if you are
    attending school the traditional way (community college/university)
  5. 1
    Quote from JerseyPersian
    Is it a bad idea to go into nursing? I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It's rapid cycling and though I am on medications right now I still get hypo mania every now and then and a bit of short lived depression. I can intellectually grasp the material and definitely do well in the coursework but I am afraid I'll lose my mind. I was accepted to social work school and deferred it as a back up plan. I am doing this because I've come to like nursing while working in a hospital for the past half year and because it affords a decent pay unlike social work. Please don't blow smoke up my butt, I need to know if this is realistic before shelling out the money for prereqs.
    You've come to the right place to discuss this! There are a number of nurses with bipolar disorder right here at AN who are willing to talk about it (myself included) so the short answer is YES, you can do it .

    Nursing school and working as a nurse are stressful, so you want to be as prepared as you can be for the inevitable ups and downs of your disorder. Medications, exercise, a nutritious diet, and SLEEP will be your best friends, so if you haven't yet established healthy habits, now is the time. Regular visits to your mental health professional are also important in assessing how well you're functioning and spotting warning signs of an impending mood episode.

    A lot also depends on what kind of nursing you choose to do. I've noticed that many nurses with mental health problems tend to go into psych nursing, and they do surprisingly well (I'm afraid I'd over-identify with the patients!). IMHO, anything that's not too fast-paced or detail-oriented is better suited to nurses with BP, as we are often easily distracted and memory problems are common.

    Work within your personal limitations and possibilities to help you determine whether or not you can do this, and if you believe you can, go for it!
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
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    You have no less a right to be a nurse than someone who needs glasses; than someone who is diabetic; than someone who requires an ambulatory assistive device to perform the job requirements, etc.

    As long as you manage your disease appropriately you should have no issues.
    pinkiepieRN and VivaLasViejas like this.
  7. 1
    @VivaLasViejas really hit the nail on the head. If you've got the grades and the drive to get into nursing school, DO IT! You're ahead of the game compared to where I've been. I wasn't diagnosed with BP until my senior year of my BSN program (semester 3/4 in the nursing program) and it was really rough. Trying to stabilize while dealing with the stress of nursing school is not something I'd recommend. As long as you're in treatment and treatment compliant, go for it. I wish you the very best of luck!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


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