Getting into nursing but have OCD

  1. Hello, I was wondering if there are any other people out there that have moderate OCD and are in nursing school or are already a nurse? I was wondering if nursing school or nursing in general made your OCD worse or was it somewhat like exposure therapy? I want to be a nurse but I am worried that my OCD will make it hard or even stop me from doing it. Anything helps! thank you
  2. Visit austin123456789 profile page

    About austin123456789

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 11; Likes: 1
    from US

    23 Comments

  3. by   dizzyray822
    Hi, you are not the only one. I am beginning nursing school in August and have OCD. I was diagnosed as a child. My form of OCD was excessive hand washing. While I dont excessivly wash my hands anymore I tend to be very germ conscious, which worries me with my upcoming plans. I am hoping that my desire to become a nurse and help people is more powerful then my obsessive fears.
  4. by   austin123456789
    thank you very much its good to hear that someone else is going through the same thing. good luck and i hope your ocd doesnt hold you back one bit
  5. by   elb252
    I think that a lot of times, any event in our lives that is very challenging or stressful (and unfortunately, nursing school is HUGE stress for many of us), it will tend to exacerbate a personal obstacle.

    However, you have to tell yourself that you are in control of your condition -- even when you may not feel like it. What I'm saying is, your OCD will affect you negatively only if you let it. Don't see yourself as a nursing student with OCD...remember who you are, why you want to be a nurse, and NEVER let anything else get in the way of that! I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, but I know how it feels not to have control over certain situations in your life, and how they can negatively effect you.

    Another thing I will advise you...if you feel that you are in fact struggling more with your OCD, don't be afraid to reach out for professional help. It doesn't make you a weak person...it makes you a stronger, better person for admitting to yourself that you are struggling with a personal situation, but have that desire to rise above it.

    Just do everything in your power not to let it control you completely...and the only way to do that is if you know in your heart you're doing the best you can as a person. And on the bad days, remember that not too many other nursing students are struggling with what you have to deal with on a daily basis...that alone marks as strong character!

    Good luck on your nursing journey.
  6. by   roseglasses
    people say i have a touch of ocd; no one and i mean NO ONE can use my towels; clothes have to be separated, mine, my husbands, and my sons. no cross contamination. I can only use my towels once then wash and replace towels very often. I just have a thing about stinky clothes i guess. It gives me the heebie jeebies when i see clean clothes scattered around the house and rewash them! I will be starting nursing school in august and order 2 extra pair of uniforms so i can keep a few in the car just in case; but that is the only issue i really have!
  7. by   CBsMommy
    Hi Erica2176 - I disagree. If you truly have OCD (and not just saying that because you like things in order) you can't just turn it on and off at will. OCD is a very serious issue and even though you can tell yourself over and over to stop, it's a compulsion that you get obsessed about. (hence obsessive compulsive disorder). You just can't stop.

    I have been diagnosed with moderate OCD with intrusive thoughts as well as panic disorder. Oh, and I'm a catastrophiser (sp?) The change from working full time, which I've been doing every day since I graduated high school to now (15 years later) to going to school full time has seriously thrown me into a tail spin. Have you gone through therapy? The best thing that I have learned in therapy is to say information out loud. For instance, I always think my oven is turned on or the doors are unlocked. Before I go to bed or before I leave the house, I have to go touch all of the oven knobs and say, out loud, Off. Then when I leave the house, I have to turn the handle to make sure it's locked and say out loud Locked. Only until my brain hears it, does it actually register and I feel safe. Do I have the compulsion to turn back around and go home to check again. YES. But...if you work at it enough, you will be okay and you can fight the compulsion.

    I can tell you that I am working on math for clinical calcs and it's affected me there as well. I always think that I'm getting numbers mixed around but really, it's just all in my head. The positive thing that I can tell you is that if you are like me, it's going to be near impossible to make a mistake on medicine!

    Good luck and if you ever need to chat, IM me.
  8. by   HouTx
    You seem to be well aware of your own limitations - this is a much better position than some 'normal' folks so you may do very well in nursing school.

    Career-wise, there are many areas of nursing that provide an ideal environment for anyone who needs a very structured environment. Perioperative areas, or other procedure-centered clinical environments for instance -- where strict adherence to process is critically important.

    Best of luck in coping with this very serious issue.
  9. by   elb252
    Quote from CalebMommy
    Hi Erica2176 - I disagree. If you truly have OCD (and not just saying that because you like things in order) you can't just turn it on and off at will. OCD is a very serious issue and even though you can tell yourself over and over to stop, it's a compulsion that you get obsessed about. (hence obsessive compulsive disorder). You just can't stop.
    I'm truly sorry if I've offended you (or any other individuals reading, for that matter) with my post. The last thing I wanted to do in my post was give any impression that I was downplaying the condition. What I guess I was trying to say (but obviously did a poor job getting it out) was to keep a positive mindset and that the individual should try to just do the best he can in handling the condition. I should not have given the impression that any person afflicted by OCD could just "control" the onset of things. Please disregard my post.

    Erika
  10. by   DolceVita
    Question...My understanding is that there are very few nursing positions that are not stressful. Also nursing school is stressful. Further, I understand that stress can exacerbate conditions such as OCD.

    So the question is: what is it that appeals to you about nursing that makes you want to risk your own well-being? Can you achieve what you want from nursing in another profession?

    Now I know that some people may wish to jump on me about this post. I am not saying that someone with OCD isn't suitable for nursing...I am questioning if nursing is suitable for YOU.

    Now, assuming that you have in fact been diagnosed with OCD, I would expect that you have a health professional that looks after you, with regards this condition -- what do they think?
  11. by   austin123456789
    Thank you everyone for your great information! You are all very kind and supportive and I really appreciate it. I guess I am trying to really decide whether nursing is what I really want to do and if it truely is, I will not let my OCD change that. Considering I just thought about being a nurse like a month ago I really hope it is what I want haha. But again, thank you to everyone.
    Austin
  12. by   FireStarterRN
    Quote from dizzyray822
    Hi, you are not the only one. I am beginning nursing school in August and have OCD. I was diagnosed as a child. My form of OCD was excessive hand washing. While I dont excessivly wash my hands anymore I tend to be very germ conscious, which worries me with my upcoming plans. I am hoping that my desire to become a nurse and help people is more powerful then my obsessive fears.
    Germ consciousness can be a plus in nursing!
  13. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from CalebMommy
    Hi Erica2176 - I disagree. If you truly have OCD (and not just saying that because you like things in order) you can't just turn it on and off at will. OCD is a very serious issue and even though you can tell yourself over and over to stop, it's a compulsion that you get obsessed about. (hence obsessive compulsive disorder). You just can't stop.

    <snip>
    I took Erika's post to mean not that the OP could will themself to not have OCD, but that (as your post pointed out CalebMommy) that they could work to manage it, so it doesn't manage them as much.

    I don't have OCD, but I do have ADHD (combined type, so I get to be inattentive and hyperactive ). I can't make myself not be ADHD (and truly, I wouldn't if I could....ADHD has pluses as well as minuses, and well, it's just a part of who I am).....but I can work to manage the negative aspects of my ADHD. I can use disability services for any acomadations I need, use tools and put structures in my life to help me get done what I need to get done (and get to where I need to on time), change the way I approach tasks and take meds when I know the rest of those won't work alone. What I generally say to folks is that everyone has stuff in their life that they need to manage.....most of my stuff just happens to be under an umbrella called ADHD. As long as I manage it.....it doesn't manage me. Which doesn't mean I'm always successful (and stress does make it all harder)....but then I take a look at what happened and figure out a way that it won't happen again.

    To the OP, I would definitely make sure that your support team was available (personal support of friends/family, and professional support of your MD/therapist). Nursing school is definitely stressful; only you know how you react under stress....but I would be sure to work to make sure you weren't blindsided by it.

    Best of luck!

    Peace,
    CuriousMe
  14. by   r0b0tafflicti0n
    I have some OCD/compulsion issues, but they have nothing to do with cleanliness or germs/etc, so I *think* I should be fine? It is generally excaberated when my anxiety disorder is acting up, and my anxiety disorder is pretty well controlled with meds right now.

    My big compulsions have to do with food, and stupid things like making sure my shoes are the same tightness.

close