Dear Nurse Beth,
I'm terrified at re entering the workforce not only after three years of being a stay at home mom but just recently recovering from a months long manic episode that left me homeless, carless, in debt and without custody of my children. I am not in any legal trouble. I am being supported by close friends and family now that I am seeking treatment and attempting to recovery from the mess I made of my life.
My friends who are nurses tell me my career is not over and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have a lot of time during the day right now as I wait for different changes (insurance, appointments) to manifest and am terrified in the meantime that there isn't a place for me.
Have you talked with nurses who have survived major traumas including mental health episodes and gone on with successful nursing careers? I also left an abusive and isolating marriage at the start of my mental break which makes recover and re-entry scary as I don't have the friends and connections that other nurses may have when returning to the work force. Any advice or support would be appreciative.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your question.
First of all, congrats on leaving an abusive relationship.
Yes, I know a nurse who was hospitalized and treated for her manic bipolar condition. Some time later, I saw her rounding, doing case management, looking perfectly fine. Being ill, getting treatment, and recovering do not end your career.
The two most important things are the right treatment and a loving, supportive family. I would wait a few months to re-enter the workforce. You want to be stable in your treatment for a few months before making a major life change such as going back to work as a nurse when you have been out for years. Stable, meaning no medication adjustments and sleeping well X 6 months.
It will be better in the long run than returning too quickly and risking a relapse.