Jump to content

Can I be a RN with my conditions?

kelsb56 kelsb56 (New) New

Hi my name is Kelsey, I have major depressive disorder, general and social anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain (which I take narcotic medication to control), most of my pain is in my knee but I also have low back pain, 3 bulging discs and degenerative disc disease. I'm 26 and over the past year have finally been able to start functioning normally mostly due to depression. I've pretty much always wanted to be a nurse but I would like to know if I would even be accepted into nursing school and if after all the schooling can the licensing board reject me for one (or more) of my issues (specifically in regards to my pain management and my use of narcotic medication). If you need more information or more specific information I'll be happy to give it. Looking for true honest answers please.


Specializes in ED, Cardiac-step down, tele, med surg.

I don't think the major depression and anxiety should stop you. I don't know about the panic attacks, have they in the past prevented you from working? I work in a busy ER with depression and anxiety no problems ever. It's actually helpful because, during that time, I am not focusing on myself.

The back pain and knee pain might limit you from working in an inpatient setting or where you are expected to do a lot of physical activity. But I don't know how the pain limits your physical activity. Inpatient nursing on a floor and in the emergency department as an RN requires a lot of physical stamina. You will be lifting and moving and running around for 8 to 12 hours with minimal sitting. Potential mind altering substances that may make your thinking foggy and slowed might not be possible. However, each person responds differently to meds, perhaps people become tolerant over time. This is something I don not know about. One of my old nursing school classmates was temporarily suspended when he underwent surgery on his neck and was on narcotics for pain control. He was forthcoming about this to the school, but the instructor noticed that he seemed "a kinetic" and thought that was a risk to patients and told school administrators that he needed to be off the narcotics or anything that slowed him down while he was at clinical. This person was not used to narcotics, they were a new and temporary treatment for his neck pain during the healing process. He was able to finish school after his neck got better and he was no longer taking meds.

I think you would be limited in what you can do physically which may make it difficult to get through nursing school. There are nursing jobs where with limited physical demands but they are not plentiful. As far as your mental health challenges you need to know if you are able to study and meet deadlines for one thing. Take a credit course at university and see how it goes before applying to a full time program. I think your chronic use of narcotics could possibly be an issue but not necessarily. However, if you were ever to make a mistake it would be likely the narcotics would be blamed, whether their use impairs you or not.

I am 37. I have lupus and ehlers danlos. I have 3 kids and a husband who is a disabled vet- I was told I would NEVER be able to do this. I finished my yr of pre/co reqs, and am a yr into nursing school. I will graduate in May. I am EXHAUSTED- but so are all my classmates! I am in about the same level of pain, but taking less meds, because I am going going going, sometimes its good, some not so good! My school knows, to an extent- I don't know if they passed my file to every teacher, etc, but I have told them and occasionally will discuss my pain, when the topic comes up and needs a personal touch. I know I may have limits when I apply to work, some places may discriminate right off the bat, and that sucks- but I know some won't care, and I hope that I find those ones! Apply- be up front, then show them that they would NEVER know who is on meds and who isn't if we didnt tell!