Can I be an RN in NYC and take antidepressants?


I'm going to start college in Spring 2016 for my journey to become an RN. The thing that's slowing me down is that I'm unsure now if I am able to follow my dreams of being an RN. My grandmother told me that if they find a history of me being in the hospital or/and taking any medication due to my mental health that they won't hire me because I need to be stable in order to work with patients. I just want to make sure that in the state of New York, by law, you are unable to be hired due to the fact you are on antidepressants. I wish I didn't have to take them but near the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with bpd (borderline personality disorder) and they told me it was best to be perscribed an antidepressant at low dose. I didn't want to do it so I had not taken the opportunity to be perscribed on anything but my mom feels that I need to be on it because I had a few episodes after seeing my (now) old therapist and my mom wants me back into therapy, get me on any medication that's needed to help me, and just choose another career since my grandmother told my mom that they don't hire people with a history of being hospitalized and/or they are medicated for mental health. Please help me find out and understand if this is true and should I really consider in pursuing a new career then my dream one of being an RN :(

Thanks in advance.


204 Posts

Specializes in Infection Prevention, Public Health. Has 33 years experience.

Yes you can take antidepressants and still be a nurse. If you are very stable on your meds then I wouldn't volunteer the information to anyone. However, it is the undercurrent in your post that has me concerned. There is a triangle involving you, your mother and you grandmother. There is drama about you being stable enough to go to nursing school. You have borderline personality disorder. There have been somewhat recent hospitalizations, conflict and disagreement on meds that you haven't started taking yet.

I don't think that is a good time for you to start nursing school. Give yourself a year to let yourself stabilize. Take some prerequisite courses to feel like you are making some progress. Look into dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and find a counselor you trust. These steps will place you in a position to succeed in a nursing career. I wish you well.

Has 4 years experience.

I am a registered nurse in New York and I take antidepressants (and have for many years). I need them to be "stable" enough to work with patients and to live my life!

The New York State application for an RN license does not ask about mental health issues -- see here: NYS Nursing

Becoming a nurse is a tough journey. Make sure you are as prepared as you can be, and take care of yourself -- even if it means that the journey takes a little longer, you'll be a better nurse in the end.

Good luck!


12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

I know tons of nurses that take antidepressants. I live/work in NY. No issues.

Research the law.

Work out your own stuff and do what you gotta do.

dream'n, BSN, RN

1,162 Posts

Specializes in UR/PA, Hematology/Oncology, Med Surg, Psych. Has 30 years experience.

We would lose a significant amount of RNs if antidepressant therapy wasn't allowed. Many, many people are on antidepressants.


38,333 Posts

In total agreement with the above posts. You need to become strong in your own endeavors apart from your mother and grandmother, in order to be able to succeed in nursing school or most likely in anything you undertake. Get yourself together while you are taking your prerequisite courses and get yourself mentally ready for the challenge of nursing. Good luck.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

I'd venture to say a sizably large percentage of nurses in all cities and states take antidepressants. If you couldn't be a nurse on antidepressants we'd REALLY have a nursing shortage.


174 Posts

Specializes in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine. Has 12 years experience.

I'd have to say that about 25% of the RNs and NPs I know are on some sort of antidepressant. I'd also hazard a guess that there are plenty I don't know about. If they are stable and know their job, it's just a maintenance drug like any other maintenance drug....oh, I live in NYS.

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

NY does not ask about mental health history on its licensing application like some states do. Unless you have charges from being involuntarily hospitalized, you do not have to disclose anything to anyone.