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Any other autistic nurses out there?

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience .

7,103 Profile Views; 51 Posts

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

You self diagnosed Autism?

No, I admit that I used that title to make it more attention-getting. I thought the title "Any other nurses who have some characteristics of autism?" would not draw as much interest.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

Hmmmm , Maybe.... Im not sure. I thought I was mad until I became a psych nurse.

Interesting. I am also a psych nurse now, and I like it a lot. It fits me a lot better than the nursing home that was my first job.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

I know I won't be popular in this thread, but I was thinking the same thing. I know there are varying degrees of autism, as well as different types. So much of what we do is dependent on picking up verbal cues (assessment). Also, proprioception issues could become an issue in practice.

I agree that the proprioception issue makes it more difficult for me to do some skills. That is one reason that I went into psych nursing. The assessment is a little different in psych also. Of course I still assess for medical issues as well as psych issues. So far I have been successful. I think psych nursing is a good fit for me.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

"difficulty knowing where my body is in space" could you pls provide a few concrete or hypothetical examples of this?

I bump into things sometimes. I hold things with too much/too little pressure at times which means I drop or break things occasionally (like in microbiology when I broke a specimen slide). Also, when I went to the gym recently and a person was showing me how to use a machine, she said, "you should feel that stretch at [such and such a place]" and sometimes I cannot feel where it is stretching. You know that "progressive relaxation" exercise where you are supposed to tense up and then relax parts of your body? I cannot do that. As I replied elsewhere, these issues were one of the things that steered me toward psych nursing where I do not have to (at least in my facility) insert IVs or foleys.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

Thank you to everyone for your replies. I especially thank the person who posted the "Autism Spectrum Criteria" from the DSM-V; that was very interesting and helpful. I'm glad that I'm not the only nurse with some of these characteristics, and I agree that many of these things can be overcome/compensated for as well as finding the right niche that minimizes your weaknesses/maximizes your strengths. My proprioceptor issues make me a little clumsy at times, but I can still give insulin injections, etc. with no problems. When I said that I can not do progressive relaxation, I did not mean that I cannot tense/relax any of my muscles, but there are certain muscles (more internal ones) that I am unable to do that with. Anyway, I agree with those that said that human diversity is vast and should be appreciated.

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LoveMyBugs is a BSN, CNA, RN and specializes in Pediatrics.

1,316 Posts; 14,658 Profile Views

Hey, diagnosed autism spectrum since childhood here :).

As to some posters wondering if a person with autism could be a nurse, yes, they can. The condition "autism" encompasses a wide variety of characteristics, strengths, and difficulties.

I am considered autistic, however, you wouldn't know it from interacting with me. Women with autism tend to have a leg up on learning social rules than men with autism. I am fine with social rules, metaphorical language, and have no difficulty expressing emotions appropriately, however all of these things came later for me than other people (hence the term "developmental delay").

My disabilities are primarily sensory and motor. I cannot stand certain fabrics or textures. Being touched is a problem, but I get better all the time. I stim occasionally, but with deep breathing and being aware of my body, they can be almost unnoticeable. Around other people, I bounce my leg alot, which is a stim that won't make others uncomfortable.

In short, with work and dedication, an autistic person can definitely succeed as a nurse.

And don't believe that whole "has no empathy" thing. Autistic people have difficulty expressing their empathy in a way that most people recognize, but it is definitely there.

For the OP: Autism encompasses a lot of different things, as I mentioned above, but even if you are neurotypical (not autistic), all diversity in neurological makeup is wonderful and should be embraced :).

Thank You for posting,

as a mom with a child who is on the spectrum, I love reading about adults with the disorder who have been able to manage their symptoms and have been successful as adults

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Irishpsychintern has 4 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric..

23 Posts; 1,507 Profile Views

Agreed. Also, I've known many people in health care who freak themselves out because they see symptoms of every and any disease they encounter in themselves. It's kind of funny. I think I diagnosed myself with cancer for every twitch I had in nursing school, was sure I had heart disease when I was run down, was convinced I was having a stroke with every headache, and then ran through the gamut of psych diagnoses when I first started working.

Now I just leave the diagnosing to someone who isn't me.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah Thats funny.... I was the same. I had a twitch in my foot--- diagnosed myself with MS.......Had a migraine which I thought was stroke.. The list goes on... Im seriously laughing here !!!!

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I don't mean this rudely, but what Seas said, that hit home hard. I have Autism, and I am in school to be a nurse. I know you probably didn't mean it to sound bad, but it was almost discriminating, like saying a black person can't do everything a white person can.

Secondly, no offense to the poster of this message, but you can't self diagnose Autism. Alot of people have symptoms, or traits, but it depends on how they are grouped together, and also how you grew up. Most people are diagnosed by age 5, so if you weren't diagnosed by a phycologist and doctor, you probably aren't autistic. I'm glad you took interest, though :)

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bagladyrn is a RN and specializes in OB.

1 Follower; 2,286 Posts; 18,651 Profile Views

I don't mean this rudely, but what Seas said, that hit home hard. I have Autism, and I am in school to be a nurse. I know you probably didn't mean it to sound bad, but it was almost discriminating, like saying a black person can't do everything a white person can.

Secondly, no offense to the poster of this message, but you can't self diagnose Autism. Alot of people have symptoms, or traits, but it depends on how they are grouped together, and also how you grew up. Most people are diagnosed by age 5, so if you weren't diagnosed by a phycologist and doctor, you probably aren't autistic. I'm glad you took interest, though :)

Perhaps what Seas posted was expressed poorly, but I think it is a legitimate question to ask "How does this disorder impact the duties expected of a nurse and can the individual compensate for the effects?". Several posters have offered examples/information as to how this can be done.

The best analogy would be that it is more like asking whether a person with hearing or visual impairment would be able to perform the duties of a nurse (and I've known those who have) and how do they compensate?

Try not to take offense and instead help to educate us.

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222 Posts; 6,275 Profile Views

I do stimming, rocking when I'm engrossed or stressed. I also have other characteristics of Aspergers/autism. I don't think I am autistic. Would this sound like someone has autistic traits?

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whichone'spink has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN.

1,473 Posts; 24,826 Profile Views

Looking back on this thread, and recent events in my life, I am pretty convinced I am on the autism spectrum. I think that is why I was picked on by my preceptor in the ED, nearly a month ago. I have a hard time talking to people, eye contact with someone makes me nervous, and in general, I admit I am a bit socially awkward because I can't keep a conversation going for a long time. Small talk is something I still have trouble with, but I'm much better with making small talk than I used to be. I have made social gains in my years of college and nursing school, but I feel like all those gains have turned to dust in the past month. I'm pretty sure I've ruined my career at the organization I currently work for, and I did not do anything deliberately to **** somebody off. Just me and my awkward presence rubs people the wrong way. I have good manners and am respectful of other people. Still, people hate me.

I've managed to convince my nursing school classmates that I am a good person, that I am social, and that I know my stuff clinically. Many will admit to that if they have been in a clinical group with me. I don't know what happened in the ED. What did I do to inadvertently **** my preceptor off that she treated me like s***? What did I do to her? I guess it's just me, because I did my best to be respectful towards her and the other nurses and ED techs that day. People just hate me, because of who I am. I feel like a defective human being.

Nursing is not a career for those on the autism spectrum. If you have autism or Asperger's, you are better off working in another career. Nurses will rip you apart if they detect you have any hint of autism. Sad, that in what is supposed to be a compassionate field, you have some of the cruelest people you'll ever find.

As for me, it's too late to back out now. I guess I will stick around until I find something else, or until my career is killed permanently by evil witches making up lies about my clinical skills. I am not one to think about suicide, but it's hard to keep my spirits up when dealing with evil witches who smell blood.

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elizabethgrad09 has 7 years experience.

51 Posts; 7,103 Profile Views

Whichone: my first job after graduation was in a nursing home where the majority of the other nurses were mean also. I had a very difficult time, and ended up being let go. But, three months later, I got a new job as a psych nurse, and I love it. One of the best things is that the people I work with are mostly great - good team players, supportive of new nurses. There ARE non-toxic and even supportive environments out there, so I encourage you to seek out a better environment for your talents - you deserve it! I don't make as much money in my new job as I did at the nursing home, but who cares? I no longer have to dread going to work because my supervisor would pick on me. I now have a supportive supervisor and co-workers, and that has made all the difference.

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