Personal Statement Requested to Register because of Depression/Anxiety -- Help?
- 0Nov 28, '12 by ChicagoMayI'm a new grad in Ontario and to register with the College of Nurses of Ontario, I have to declare my mental health issues so they can decide if I'm fit to work as a nurse. With my registration application, I am supposed to send "a personal statement, signed and dated, stating the applicant’s opinion of how the condition might affect their ability to provide safe nursing practice".
I've never had to write anything like this before and frankly I do not know how to even start something like this or what to even write. I've been a long-time lurker here, and I'm hoping someone out there can lend me some advice on this. I'm worried that I'm going to mess it up and they are going to deny my registration (after 5 years of college and uni...). Any advice is appreciated!
- 3Nov 29, '12 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideI'm surprised that they would ask you to write the letter, rather than have you get one from a licensed mental health professional attesting to your ability to practice safely; they usually want to know about your current mental state, compliance with medication/therapy and so on.
Since you yourself are writing the statement, you want acknowledge the fact that you do have a mental condition (honesty is ALWAYS the best policy when you get cornered with something like this), then describe what you are doing about it and how your treatment is keeping you stable. Focus on the POSITIVE, not how your condition "could" affect your practice; if you've made it through 5 years of school, you must be doing something right, and you need to state that for the record.
TBH, I haven't had to deal with anything like this yet, but I have to renew my license in January and am figuring on using the same approach, since I'll have to disclose the mental health diagnosis I picked up last winter and am being treated for. LMK how it works out for you......I really don't think you have that much to worry about, if they denied licenses to all the nurses who have depression and/or anxiety, there'd be no one left to take care of the patients.
- 0Nov 29, '12 by ChicagoMayThanks for your response
Here is what they want:
"If a medical condition or disorder is declared, the College recommends submission of the following:■ a statement from the applicant’s doctor providing an assessment of the applicant’s health status, including diagnosis, prognosis and information about the applicant’s relevant medical history
■ information that indicates compliance with current medications and/or treatment, if the condition can be managed with medications and/or treatment
■ a medical report regarding the extent of the applicant’s functional limitations
■ a personal statement, signed and dated, stating the applicant’s opinion of how the condition might affect their ability to provide safe nursing practice"
The first 3 should have been included in the letter I had my doctor write. The last one is me. What I'm worried about is that they ask my opinion on how my depression/anxiety "might" affect my ability to practice... like you said, I should focus on the positives, not what might or could happen... but that's what they want. So frustrating!!
- 3Nov 30, '12 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideUgh......it's like they're asking you to hand them the baseball bat they're going to beat you with.
Sounds like your focus will have to be along the lines of "My depression/anxiety could affect my practice in thus-and-such a manner IF I were not being managed so well by blahblahblah......." (meds, therapy, psych visits etc.) Or, you could really turn the tables on 'em and emphasize how your mental health issues make you a much more compassionate and competent nurse because you know what it's like on the patient's end of things, and you've learned a great deal about meds and treatments that not every new nurse knows. Gotta "ac-cen-tu-ate the positive, e-lim-in-ate the negative" as the song says.
- 3Viva, I had to send a personal statement as well. I just told them who I was and why I am writing and some background info on the situation and myself (i.e. I graduated with a BSN in 2012, etc.) and what my plans were. I also threw in how my mental illness can be an asset to the field. Always remember, a health care provider with a mental illness that is treated and is doing well is an asset to the field, not a burden. They can empathize quite well, especially with the patient who has mental illness.
I think it was my personal statement that helped me get my license. If I went by my psychiatrist's letter, I wouln't have gotten a license, in my opinion. Anything I disagreed with my psychiatrist, I mentioned and told them the evidence against his opinion.
- 1@Viva - Exactly!! Baseball bat!! But you make some good suggestions on how to do it, thank you!
@wish_me_luck - Thank God I'm not the only one who has to do this haha. I think I will change my letter to include your suggestions too. My Doctor wrote me a note, but it was so minimal that I don't even know if they will accept it, so I need to make this one work for me. I can't afford to be rejected after 5 years of school and the debt that comes with it.
- 0My letter from my psychiatrist was so generic, Chicago. More than half of it ended up not applying to me, yet there's still that stigma. He met me once for an initial assessment, wrote in the letter that he met me once and didn't really know me and he had to get info from the other psychiatrist. He changed my dx and gave a generic overview of the illness, but nothing specific to me. My severity of mental illness is pretty mild compared to most and I wrote my letter from the heart and sent it with a hope and a prayer.
I have a license. It's a single state license, but it's a license. Plus, I am pushing for a change...I want VA and TN, not just VA. I live on a state line.
Good luck to you!Last edit by wish_me_luck on Nov 30, '12
- 0You have to get a different license in each state? Didn't know that! Haha, I wonder if its the same for Canada. I don't plan on working outside of Ontario in Canada, but I want to move to the States some day to work as a school nurse. I hope I don't have to write another letter when I do that (although I probably will haha).
- 0No, there's a compact license, but I am in a monitoring program due to my mental illness (and self medicating with alcohol). So, since I am in a monitoring program, I have a single state license (Valid VA Only). I live on a state line, so in order to utilize the whole area to find work, I need to find a way to get TN authorization/privileges. The VA side does not have many options at all. Over 3/4 of the area (and health care services) is in TN.