Nurses with ADHD/ADD

  1. Just curious if there are any nurses out there who have ADHD/ADD and how it affects your duties. Does it make it difficult? Are there positive aspects? Does anyone feel that a person with ADHD is too much of a risk to work as a nurse? Any replies welcome, THANKS!
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    About thewhip

    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 32


  3. by   cargal
    No ADHD/ADD that I know of, but I can tell you it was very difficult with undiangnosed hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism. Asked the MD to test my thyroid after a couple of years of c/o fatique, weight gain, hypoglycemic episodes and lo and behold I was started on synthroid. Felt like a cloud was lifted, like the curtains opened. I don't know how I went through nursing school and a year working at the hospital like that.
    Keep at it, I say. Sometimes we just need to take more time and double check everytime. Difficult with the current staffing ratios, but like everyone else, you'll find your niche.
    Good Luck,
  4. by   galenight
    I am not ADD/ADHD, and i don't know of any nurses who are, however, I work with 2 docs in the ER that have it. One also is bipolar. They are both extremely intelligent, but we find that they tend to "get lost"... or sometimes not even do a very thorough exam. The one who is bipolar as well, tends to do better when he is "up". hes on meds.. and you can definitely tell when he is due to take some or if he has forgotten them. But most of the time they do a fine job. They have learned to cope with their issues. And it can be a real asset when things are super good luck
  5. by   thewhip
    Thanks! I appreciate your replies!
  6. by   MRed94

    I am "undiagnosed" ADD, but with a kid who IS diagnosed, I have exactly the same symptoms, and Ma said that I was JUST like that as a kid.

    I find what works best for me is coffee and more coffee, and I always make out a very detailed patient care list, so I don't forget to do anything. I also keep a small notepad in my pocket, and write down things in order to do. When I am doing something, I put 1/2 a check mark on it, and when I am finished with it, I make the other half of the checkmark.

    I make sure that my every move is detailed for myself, and that way I don't get too distracted from what I am doing.

    The other nurses and the CNAs know this about me, and they are really good at waiting for an opportune moment if it is at all possible to interrupt me at something.

    I think I have gotten really good at prioritizing, and with much practice, I can get out on time.

    It is hell, but what can you do??

    Just my humble opinion.

  7. by   kids
    I was diagnosed as hyperactive in the old days, before it was called ADD/ADHD. Starting with Ritalin in the early 70's (when just about everybody got some). I have tried many meds over the years, most recently Adderall which worked about the best as anything I have ever taken, unfortunately I had major interactions with my pain meds. I find lots of coffee works. I usually have 10 or 12 things going on and my desk is covered with post-its with 3 words written on them, I am the only one who knows what they mean...When i worked the floor I had to keep a detailed to-do list. I have never totally spaced and not done something, but do have (and had) a tendancy to get sidetracked by another task... I think that wiether or not a Nurse with ADD/ADHD is safe depends on the Nurse and the degree that it affects her.

  8. by   thewhip
    WOW! Very interesting about the coffee! My counselor told me the same, many adults with ADD load up on coffee because of the ALERTNESS FACTOR. I am not treating it (ADD) because I have a history of hypertension, just zoloft because the test anxiety esp. in MATH! ADD really affects math! It is so difficult feeling like you have so much to offer and are so eager to learn and just can't get a grip on the testing thing and organization thing. I LOVE my calendar and sticky notes and I am so thankful other people feel the same way. Behavior therapy has helped me (organization, study skills, etc..) and the counselor really helps to build up my self confidence! A person posted one time that ADHD/ADD probably helps in nursing because the person is great at multi-tasking and has lots of energy all the time. I only get nervous about the math and meds part. I guess I will just have to triple double quadruple check!!! I know I can do it! I haven't even gotten to the math part of nursing yet so I probably should not worry about it so soon! Thanks for the replies
  9. by   Jenny P
    Both of my kids are ADHD, and when they are on meds and able to focus, they are able to do whatever they wish. When we used to travel as a family on vacations, we'd give them coffee or Mountain Dew for the caffiene to settle them down in the car. If you can tolerate the sugar high, Jolt works even better, according to my son (the sugar did not help my daughter at all- the sugar high made her worse!). My son says there are some expensive "natural" canned drinks on the market now that also have lots of caffiene in them that work. BTW, he enjoyed math and was good at it "because it's always the same".
  10. by   kids
    All 3 of my kids have ADD/ADHD to some degree also. When they were little and I wanted them to go to sleep I gave them candy and Mountain Dew. My youngest (the only child medicated) is 17 and is now on Adderall and says he loves it, brain works, no jitters and he can eat (at 6'2 and 240# I don't see that appetite suppression was ever a problem) unlike Ritalin and Dexadrine. He still drinks Mountain Dew...

  11. by   thewhip
    Thanks so much for your continued replies!
  12. by   PJNRN
    Interesting question! I was formally diagnosed with adult ADD after the dx of same in my son. I left nursing to become a full-time mom prior to my diagnosis, but am now returning to the field. I do take medication (Concerta and Celexa)which do tremendously help my ability to focus. In the old days, I worked med-surg and I as I reflect back to my unmedicated days, I remember using coffee to help me stay on track. In some sense, having ADD was beneficial--I could change directions very quickly, but was able to hyper-focus during emergencies. I am in an RN refresher course now, and I am finding it much easier to understand certain processes that used to confuse me, and I am more able to slow down and concentrate on what I am doing. I'm also more patient, but maybe that is age versus ADD--who knows. I'm returning to work after the first of the year, so I'll let you know how it goes.
    You know, one of the biggest problems of adult ADD is admitting to others you have a problem that society thinks either doesn't exist or that you should have grown out of by adulthood! Thanks for posing the question!
  13. by   ohbet
    At one point in my career,a MD who had ADD himself,dx. me for ADD. I took the meds,dextrostate,and it made me hyper,so that ruled out that I had ADD.

    My favorite co-worker,and the most competent,professional and fun to be with nurse I know,has it.

    It doesnt impair her at all,except if she doesnt take her meds. she never shuts up.

    Thats all I know.
  14. by   wrkoutgirl
    i can relate to all the things that many of you describe. i feel that i feel that it interferes with my job especially that i am a new grad very anxious and eager. i went to the doctor last week asking himn to let me try ritalin but he said he is not sure this is not just stress related b/c i did not present ADD symptoms as a child. i am supposed to see a psychologist and he gave me zoloft. i hope i get help b/c i really need to be able to focus and i see myself doing sylly things. monica