Jump to content

From patient to nurse: red tape?

nicoG nicoG (New) New

Forgive me if I'm not posting to the appropriate forum...I wasn't sure where to put this!

I am a new RN working at a psychiatric residential facility for children and adolescents. I feel that psych nursing is my "vocation," and I absolutely love my current job which, unfortunately, is a temporary position.

I have been in recovery from anorexia for 3 years, and prior to recovery, I was a patient for 5 months at a eating disorder residential treatment center. This place changed my life, and I would love to work there someday, possibly even once my current position ends. My question is: what is the red tape surrounding this? For example, how many years are required between being a patient at a facility and being a staff there? Is this even possible? I've searched to no avail for a general "protocol," and so possibly the policy on this is completely facility-specific. Just thought I'd see if anyone had insight on this issue.

eatmysoxRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

I don't think it would be a problem. Apply! I wouldn't disclose that you were a patient there. I wouldn't think it would be necessary.


Specializes in Emergency. Has 5+ years experience.

Congratulations on your recovery and your new career! Both are amazing accomplishments. I think that you probably would have a lot to offer this program having been through the disease.

Not to be too personal, but I'm curious if you feel working in this environment would be in the best interests of your health (ie: do you feel you may be triggered working with this population?). Also, is it the same treatment program you were in yourself? In which case I imagine you may face some barriers in the way that staff/patients who may already know you would relate to you.

Again, I think that you would have a lot to offer, but make sure it is a safe and rewarding experience they can offer you as well.

Alisonisayoshi, LVN

Specializes in LTC.

Hi there! I'm also in ED recovery (1.5 years diabulima)! I am currently a student with very similar goals! I want to work as a CDE specializing in ED recovery! One nurse helped to change my life and I very deeply hope to one day do the same for someone.... From a different point of view, I know many people who return to school to become alcohol and drug counselors who work in the same rehabs they were treated in. A very close friend if mine is a doctor and also serves on the board of directors of his former rehab.

Many, many people want to be nurses (rescuers) in places where they themselves were rescued. Parents of premies want to work NICU, people whose grandmas had a good death in hospice want to do palliative care, recovering addicts want to work substance abuse, and former eating disorder folks want to do what you do, and so forth. Happens all the time.

Problem is that especially in the early time after recovery has begun (and you said it's what, only 3 years for you?) they mean well but tend to have a very hard time keeping themselves out of the equation. "When I did it, I..." or "I know just how you feel, because I ..." is well-meant, and they always argue that they know better than staffers who have not been there, done that, and got the tee shirt. But it takes a lot of maturity -- and distance -- to be a therapeutic presence without inserting your own self into it.

Yes, you can model better behavior-- if you're an AA sponsor, you don't drink and you are honest about your disease; if you are a NA sponsor you know how to call 'em out on the addict rhymes-with-wool-shirt; perhaps you can model better eating and body image behavior, too, to this crowd. But I'd be very careful not to be so taken with yourself and your exceptionalism to think you're a slam dunk for the job. Thought about consulting with the psychiatrists and therapists that treated you to see what they think?

Mommy&RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg & Hospice & Dialysis. Has 6 years experience.

Different condition, but to answer the question about working where you were a patient, I, my husband, and my mother have all been pts on the unit that I am currently employed.

My husband and I both had bariatric surgery and that is one of my floor's specialities.