Texas BON for bipolar disorder

  1. 2 Hi~

    I am new here and an excited to find this site. I am applying for LVN school and the deadline is June 14, 2013. My problem is this: in 2009 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have been stable for 3 years and know that I would make a great nurse. i feel that I should disclose this to the BON before turning in my application to the school, but I wanted to know the repercussions for not disclosing, and if claiming that I have a mental illness would be against HIPPA guidelines.

    Also if I do disclose, would I know in time for the Fall deadline?

    Thank you so much for replying!
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  3. Visit  bella_} profile page

    About bella_

    From 'Texas'; Joined Mar '13; Posts: 35; Likes: 25.

    28 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  sharon4248} profile page
    0
    I guess I don't really know why they HAVE to know that, its personal. On the other hand, are you afraid you might be unsafe for the patients? If not, I don't see why they need to know. I could be wrong, just my opinion.
  5. Visit  bella_} profile page
    1
    Sharon,

    I'm not at all afraid of being unsafe for the patients...in fact I'm a very mild mannered person. Just wanted opinions on how to handle it with the BON. And I do agree with you but it is asked on the licensure eligibility. Thanks for offering your opinion!
    MMaeLPN likes this.
  6. Visit  JustBeachyNurse} profile page
    1
    Moved to nurses with disabilities forum to elicit response from others with similar experiences. Good luck
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  7. Visit  VivaLasViejas} profile page
    3
    Quote from bella_
    Hi~

    I am new here and an excited to find this site. I am applying for LVN school and the deadline is June 14, 2013. My problem is this: in 2009 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have been stable for 3 years and know that I would make a great nurse. i feel that I should disclose this to the BON before turning in my application to the school, but I wanted to know the repercussions for not disclosing, and if claiming that I have a mental illness would be against HIPPA guidelines.

    Also if I do disclose, would I know in time for the Fall deadline?

    Thank you so much for replying!
    Hi, bella, and welcome to allnurses!

    To be honest, the need for disclosure of mental illness to the BON varies widely from state to state. In some states, you wouldn't have to disclose unless your bipolar disorder impacts your ability to practice nursing safely; in others, you have to disclose, be able to produce a letter from a doctor or psych nurse practitioner stating you are compliant with treatment, and/or be placed in a monitoring program for impaired professionals. And I think there's one or two states (don't know which) that forbid anyone with a 'serious mental illness', e.g. bipolar I/II, schizophrenia etc. from practicing at all.

    Although Texas is one of the stricter states, I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your career. I'm bipolar too, so I know nursing can be difficult and stressful even when our moods are stable. Unlike you, however, I didn't have the advantage of knowing about it until relatively recently, so I struggled badly at times both in school and out in the workplace. The BP diagnosis explained almost everything, though; and now that I'm properly medicated and my workplace has made some accommodations for my illness, I'm doing well. You can, too.

    GO FOR IT!!
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Nov 13, '13
    sallyrnrrt, SoldierNurse22, and bella_ like this.
  8. Visit  bella_} profile page
    0
    VivaLasViejas~

    Thank you for the welcome! It's good to meet someone with bd and working as a nurse. I know it can be done! If you don't mind sharing, what types of accommodations do use use?
  9. Visit  wish_me_luck} profile page
    3
    If you have been treated for or diagnosed with mental illness in the last 5 years, you have to disclose on the application for license. Texas' question is straight forward. No, you can't claim it's a HIPAA violation. The punishment for lying is usually something like license suspension.
    Meriwhen, sallyrnrrt, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  10. Visit  VivaLasViejas} profile page
    3
    Quote from bella_
    VivaLasViejas~

    Thank you for the welcome! It's good to meet someone with bd and working as a nurse. I know it can be done! If you don't mind sharing, what types of accommodations do use use?
    I've been very fortunate and very, very blessed to have a wonderful boss and to work for a decent company that likes to see their people succeed.

    Since my diagnosis in February 2012 I've had a rather bumpy road---lots of time logged in a doctor's office, med changes, and mood episodes that were even more numerous than they'd been before. It's smoothed out a LOT over the past 2 1/2 months, but before that, it was a battle royal. Last summer I had a manic episode that created so much disruption that I was actually sent home---with pay!---for four days to get things under control. Then this winter, I spent the entire month of December in a blue funk that made me wonder if life was worth all these indignities.

    I've always had trouble working 5-day weeks in nursing. It's too hard for me, both physically and mentally. I've done it now for 2 1/2 years---the longest I've ever stayed at one job---but it took its toll, and early last month both my boss, then Corporate sat me down and told me the facts of life. I've been pretty open about my diagnosis at work, but I didn't know it had gone as far up the food chain as it had. Fortunately, we all were on the same page: I want to succeed and stay in my job, and they don't want to have to train someone new when I'm perfectly capable, as long as I'm medicated and getting enough R&R.

    So they offered me a four-day schedule, with Fri-Sat-Sun off every week. It's probably one of the best things they could have done, because the 10-hour days give me all sorts of time to get things done without feeling so rushed. My efficiency has increased, while at the same time I can spend more of my time OUT of the office and with my residents (I work in an assisted living facility). The three days off are just right---this allows me to have a life outside of work, yet I'm ready to go back on Monday morning with renewed energy.

    There is also a stipulation that if I run into trouble with my illness, I have to go on medical leave until my psychiatrist clears me to return. While a worker cannot be fired merely for having a mental illness, s/he can be fired if that illness creates an unsafe situation in which patients and/or co-workers can be harmed. I made several critical transcription errors during that manic episode last summer and was disruptive, angry, and agitated by turns, until I was sent home and strongly encouraged to call my doctor when I got there.

    Another employer might have kicked me to the curb by now, and honestly, I know all this help isn't just about making Viva happy......but I'm grateful for it, and now that I'm finally stable, I feel I can take back more of the duties my boss used to delegate to me before I was forced "out of the closet", so to speak.
    lmh301, NurseDirtyBird, and TXRN2 like this.
  11. Visit  hoverton} profile page
    5
    I have also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After being diagnosed I was put on medication. It is defiantly a sneaky little disease (in my case anyway). I will slowly start coming down (or up), think I'll be okay, i think "it's not that bad...." and the next thing i know im out of control. I HIGHLY recommend that as soon as you start noticing your mood changing to call your psychiatrist ASAP and let him know.By getting it under control fast, you'll more than likely be able to avoid an episode.
    If you are not on medication, i highly recommend finding a psychiatrist. It can be a long hard road to find the right combination of meds but it is more than worth it.

    In relation to applying to nursing school, I didn't and dont recommend letting anyone know unless asked up front. We had to get a physical before starting and when asked about my meds i did let the doctor know. Unless necessary, I wouldnt tell anyone at school, or employer know.

    I hope this helps and just know that it is totally possible to keep your disorder under control and never sell yourself short or think you cant do something because of your disorder. :]
    lmh301, Meriwhen, bella_, and 2 others like this.
  12. Visit  VivaLasViejas} profile page
    0
    Great post, hoverton, and Welcome to Allnurses!!
  13. Visit  NurseDirtyBird} profile page
    3
    Speak with your psychiatrist/NP. They'll tell you if they feel comfortable with you working as a nurse, and if they'll write a letter to the BON on your behalf. It sounds like TX pretty specifically requires you to disclose, so you'll have to do that. But you don't have to tell your employer or coworkers and I strongly recommend that you DO NOT EVER tell your patients.

    I too have bipolar disorder, and actually lost a job because of symptoms. I wasn't aware this was the case until I was diagnosed later. I figured out I did best working PRN and have been doing well since finding a new job. I have not told my employer or my coworkers. Because I work so irregularly, there is no need. My psychiatrist is supportive, and has told me he feels no need to report me to the BON in my state, as long as I am compliant with treatment and do not work when he advises I stay home.
    lmh301, bella_, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  14. Visit  bella_} profile page
    0
    Hi NurseDirtyBird~

    Sounds like you are very fortunate to have a supportive psychiatrist. I have great support as well, and the clinic I go to has no problems at all with me going to school and getting my license, but here's the problem. They have a problem with disclosing the fact that I have bipolar disorder (they put "mental illness" as my diagnosis on the letter) and the letter is so vague that I don't know if the BON will accept it. I told them I would sign a release, but they said they didn't want to release anymore then they have to. Now I'm not sure that I should carry on with the application. It really does suck to have your dreams shattered.
  15. Visit  VivaLasViejas} profile page
    3
    Don't give up!! Your doctor/clinic has probably written these letters a hundred times, and they tend to be really generic---as if you could just slip anyone's name in there and call it good. The letters are written this way to maintain your confidentiality; if the BON really thinks it needs to know more, believe me, it will ask.

    So scrape up the pieces of your dreams and glue them back together......you're not out of the running yet, unless of course you want to be.
    sallyrnrrt, lmh301, and bella_ like this.


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