Personal Statement Requested to Register because of Depression/Anxiety -- Help?

  1. 0 I'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!

    ~May
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  3. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page

    About ChicagoMay

    Joined Nov '12; Posts: 12; Likes: 4.

    16 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    3
    I'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.
    sharpeimom, poppycat, and ChicagoMay like this.
  5. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page
    0
    Thanks 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!!
  6. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    3
    Ugh......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.
    squidbilly, ChicagoMay, and poppycat like this.
  7. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    3
    Viva, 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.
  8. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page
    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.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  9. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    0
    My 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
  10. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page
    0
    You 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).
  11. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    0
    No, 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.
  12. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page
    0
    I didn't even know there was monitoring programs o_O I gotta look into that. And I hope you get your TN license!
  13. Visit  glascow profile page
    1
    I see a pychiatric nurse practitioner and she prescribes my meds. When I told her I needed something for stateboard due to my bipolar, she recommended non-disclosure. When I first applied for my license in 1992 I did not have that diagnosis so there was no reason to worry about that question. In 1999 when I was diagnosed and it came time to renew my license I freaked out.

    I took her advise and have not self-disclosed my illness. I have enough hassles in life without having state board breathing down my neck. I don't want to have to enter a recovery program. Whether MI or substance abuse, it's the same program. Do they even have a right to ask that question? I am a nurse practitioner and none of my collegues are aware that I have bipolar.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  14. Visit  ChicagoMay profile page
    1
    I wouldn't have been able to do that... I have a hard time lying, but I do understand why you did it.

    And thanks everyone who replied. I finished and sent in my letter with my registration form; hopefully I'll hear back soon
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  15. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    1
    Quote from glascow
    I see a pychiatric nurse practitioner and she prescribes my meds. When I told her I needed something for stateboard due to my bipolar, she recommended non-disclosure. When I first applied for my license in 1992 I did not have that diagnosis so there was no reason to worry about that question. In 1999 when I was diagnosed and it came time to renew my license I freaked out.

    I took her advise and have not self-disclosed my illness. I have enough hassles in life without having state board breathing down my neck. I don't want to have to enter a recovery program. Whether MI or substance abuse, it's the same program. Do they even have a right to ask that question? I am a nurse practitioner and none of my collegues are aware that I have bipolar.
    Thank you for your input. I was just talking with my family about this issue today, and they think I should disclose because if I were ever to be reported to the BON for any reason (or NO reason), it would "come out in the wash" then and they'd yank my license for lying. I'm an honest person, almost to a fault, and it would kill my soul to be caught in a lie like this. Taking that chance would be stupid.

    OTOH, if I did disclose it would probably be a never-ending hassle, even though I've been practicing for many years and was undoubtedly bipolar before that.....I just wasn't "official" then. I am now. That's the only difference! And in all the years since I first got my CNA certification, I've never come to the Board's attention in any way except when it came time for renewal. Why on earth should I have to go through a monitoring program when I don't abuse substances and have been sober for almost 21 years? Why should I have to "prove" my worthiness to practice when the only thing that's changed in two years is the addition of a 296.x diagnosis code to my medical record?

    Still don't know what I'm going to do about this, but getting several points of view is a good thing. I appreciate this information.
    poppycat likes this.


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