Published Oct 18, 2004
First off I would like to say hello. This is a VERY informative site and am glad to have stumbled upon it. I am currently active duty in the Navy. I have been in for 6 years. I am a graduate of the Navys Nuclear Propulsion Program(2 year engineering program) and was assigned to a sub upon completion of that schooling. Thats where the depression manifsted itself..As a result of dealing with the depression on and off over the past couple of years I have finally recived the counseling/medications to understand and deal with my illness. More so the counseling as allowed me to progress to where I am able to funciton with out the meds. As a result of all this I was referred to Physical evaluation Board. They determined I was not suitable medically for naval service(despite outstanding evaluations from my superiors over the years) My discharge will be honorable..But will be coded as such that it was for medical reasons that I was released.
I have been looking into nursing that past few months. I am concerned that my past will dicate wether or not I can go down this career path. So my questions are:
1 How will this affect me when applying to a nursing program?
2 What role will it play when applying for a RN license?
Any personal experinces with this matter would be greatly appreciated.
purplemania, BSN, RN
Most, if not all, Boards of Nursing require license candidates to report any "mind-altering" medications you are taking. They are probably more concerned about benzodiazipines (Valium) than SSRI's, but may request information from your MD. One of our nurses had to submit a letter from her psychiatrist attesting to the fact that she exhibited no psychosis, and was being treated only for depression. You might contact the Board in the state to which you will apply for licensure. (http://www.ncsbn.org) check this site for links to BON. Your medical history will not prevent you from getting into school (all they "sell" is tuition, remember), but getting a license is another story. Good luck. I know PLENTY of nurses on SSRI's and work with no problems.
Well hopefully being symptom free and off of meds will work for me. I was on Zoloft.A concern of mine would be putting the time and money into completing a 4yr nursing program only to find out that no one will employ me.
Nursing (not to mention nursing school) can be very stressful...which may or may not trigger your depression. (i would be depressed, myself, if I had to be in a sub for more than an hour or two)
I know when I applied for my license, I was not asked about any medications I was taking, although to be safe, Purple has very good advice for you. And some employers do drug screens, so you would have to report any potential drug of abuse that might show up on those screens (they do not screen for SSRIs -- these would be medications such as Xanax or Ativan).
I'd encourage you to look at nursing. It's flexible, you can work in just about any community, and while you won't get rich, you can live on what you make.
Thats a definite plus since my wife is active duty and I have to be able to travel.Any other opinions/suggestions?
Dear WammaB......I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time. My hubby is a CPO in the Navy Reserves and we went through this 'medical board' thing with his diabetes......self controlled with diet/exercise.
It's funny that they (BON) is so picky BEFORE you go in......making sure that you don't have any 'mental' problems, but they seem to turn their heads after your 'in' and need meds to cope with all the stress..........!?!?!?
I wish you all the best that life has to offer!!
Maggie in NC
Lots of nurses suffer from depression. Lots of PEOPLE have it too. The fact you're able to control it without meds is a good thing! I would not let that deter you from going forward.
Your medical history is confidential and can not be disclosed without your consent. They can code your discharge as medical, but they can't tell what the medical condition is-for all the nursing board knows, it could be flat feet.
For what it's worth, you're not alone. I have been diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Depression does not dictate my competence in nursing school, nor in clinicals. I do, however, have a great deal of anxiety (WHICH IS NORMAL) when I feel I am going to fail at a test or a skill. Don't mistake that for clinical anxiety-read all the threads, you'll feel so much better about yourself LOL.
Thank you for your service to our country and don't let your diagnosis get in the way of your success! YOU CAN DO THIS-heck you got thru nuke school!!!:rotfl:
Thanks for all the encouraging words. It really means a lot to know I'm not alone. :)
You aren't alone.
I have dysthymia, so it's a chronic, low-level depression. Now and then I hit a crisis point where I need meds to survive. Right now, in my orientation group there are 3 out of 3 of us taking meds for depression and/or anxiety. We all reported it for our phyisicals. Nobody batted an eyelash.
It's true, nurses do have a high rate of depression. We're human, we learn to manage it and get on with it. Most employers understand this.
The board never asked me about depression or anti-depressants. I think there was a question about narcotics.
Roy Fokker, BSN, RN
I agree. This board is loads of fun and very informative too!
I agree with Hypnotic_Nurse :: School can be pretty harsh. There have been times when I went without sleep for two to three nights in a row to get therough assignments and group projects (maybe because I work two jobs as well :tongue: ).
So yeah. it can be mad stressful at times.
I also think, that since we take care of the patient in such an intimate fashion, we usually have a lot more on our minds and shoulders than most people believe. To us especially, a patient is a patient - not a case history or a name and some numbers on a chart.
I also have a question regarding the grugs/narcotics bit. I may sound silly (and horrifying too!) but I'll ask anyway!
I'll be honest - I have toked some *ahem* grass on occassion. Nothing serious. Mostly on impulse like maybe after a long time (usually after a month or so), I go to my friends palce and well, somebody has stuff along. I end up taking a drag or two.
I usually stay away from it because I preffer alcohol anyways. But if they DO ask me about narcotic use/abuse, what should I say?
Tweety, BSN, RN
First to Roy, regardless of anyone's opinion about marijuania we as nurses have to accept that it is an illegal substance and against the nurse practice act is all states. End of discussion. You need to stop using it if you are to be a nurse, regardless if you feel it should be legal or it's harmless. That way when you're asked you honestly answer "no". That way you always pass drug screens. You never know when you will have to give a random drug screen. Stop smoking pot now. :)
To the original poster, I would encourage to persue your RN if that's what you choose to do. In the mid-80s I too went through a depression that was near-suicidal. I got treatment, and was of sound mind when I applied to nursing school and recieved my RN. (Of course, I can't vouch for how sound my mind is currently. LOL). If you feel you can handle the stresses and strains of nursing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. I did not reveal to anyone, the school, the state board, or any employees that I was treated for clinical depression. My personal medical history is personal and doesn't affect my job. As far as the blip on your record that it was a medical discharge. I would mention it was an honorable discharge and if anyone asks further "it was a medical discharge, it's personal, and I'm 100% recovered today.".
I never really did any pot. I quit smoking! :-) My only "vice" these days are motorcycles, MUSIC and the odd beer or two :-)
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