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Disclosing mental health information to employr

by mangotango1313 mangotango1313 (New) New

I recently got a job offer for an (new) nurse position at a hospital. I'm going through the employment process. I had tried to commit suicide 7+ years ago and was hospitalized for overdosing on Tylenol. Because of the Baker act, I was then admitted to a behavioral health facility for a day and after evaluation ,I was released. It was very dumb mistake on my part, for which I regret and it was one of the reasons why I chose to go into nursing because of the level of care I received. The hospital that I was admitted into, is the same one that has hired me. Am I obligated to release this confidential information? Will it hurt my status? I'm very embarrassed by this. I'm not sure if I will be penalized, if I don't wish to share this. Please help!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

No and don't. Congrats on your new job!

Don't be embarrassed. I made the same mistake attempting suicide over a decade ago. Many people have gone through the same they just don't talk about it. This experience has only strengthened your ability to empathize with others. Your struggles are what inspired your career in the first place. I don't believe this will be held against you in any way. I respect and admire your honesty.

Am I required to release this type of information ? The hospital I've been hired at, is the same one I was admitted as a patient. :/

I do not believe so and aside from having a physical that clears you to do the assigned job I don't believe your health hx would be relevant. I would be surprised if they still have your record from 7 years ago in the first place. I do not think their will any questions asked via paperwork or interview regarding previous hospitalizations. This is your private business and I do not believe it could ever compromise your future employment opportunities nor do I think you'll ever be in a position to disclose this information unless you are compelled to do so. Rest easy :)

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

You are under no obligation to release that info.

Also, thanks to HIPAA, they can't go rummaging through your chart. In fact, most EMRs have extra security measures in place for employee records so coworkers are less likely to be tempted to rummage through them. At one of my jobs, if I were to have to access a fellow employee's record, I'm given a warning to turn back now if I shouldn't be there. If I still need to get into that chart for a bona-fide reason (and there have been a few times I've had to because I was directly involved in their patient care), I have to enter my password in order to override that warning.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

Never ever ever tell an employer about your mental health history. Even in the healthcare field mental health is very stigmatized & it will paint a huge target on your back. I've had no issues telling employers about my epilepsy but I would never dream of telling my boss or coworker I am bipolar. They don't need to know, ever!


Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency. Has 2 years experience.

Nope. None of their business. I made the mistake of revealing my mental illness to an employer in the past and ended up being pushed out of my job because of it. As long as you can perform the duties of the job with no accommodations, there is no reason your employer needs to know anything about your health whatsoever.

None of their business, they cannot access your old records, and congratulations on your success! Go forth and conquer!

NightNerd, MSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN, tele, palliative, psych. Has 7 years experience.

Congratulations on how far you've come! You are under no obligation to disclose this, and I can't think of any reasons it would be beneficial to bring it up. It sounds like you sought treatment and did the hard work of becoming well, so this event from 7 years ago has no bearing on your current practice.

Flo., BSN, RN

Specializes in Developmental Disabilites,. Has 7 years experience.

I have worked at a hospital where I received treatment. I never told them, they never asked.

caffeinatednurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg, telemetry, oncology, rehab, LTC, ALF. Has 5 years experience.

It's none of their business, and you're not obligated to tell them anything. Thanks to HIPAA, your old files aren't accessible to your coworkers. I wouldn't say anything. It's in the past! :)