Should I tell my nursing school about my disorder? - page 2

Hi, I am currently in nursing school with two semesters left (not counting the one I am currently in). I have been diagnosed with Narcolepsy about 4 years ago (before I even started nursing school).... Read More

  1. by   citylights89
    I remember I told my instructor I have hypothyroidism and have to take medication for it. I don't know if it made any difference, but it just came up. Explained why I'm so tired all the time, as well.
  2. by   LuckyinKY
    I wonder if I could have narcolepsy. I have always had trouble staying awake, especially during classes. I have tried everything, but I am always falling asleep during lectures, especially long ones. I even did this as a high schooler. One of my instructors even joked about me nodding off in class, so now I am worried because I don't want them to think I am being rude.
  3. by   Hancock330
    By all means tell your program. And continue to work with your physician (hopefully a sleep specialist -- mine is also a neurologist) to assure you're trying all of the combinations of medication and sleep hygiene to maintain daytime wakefulness. I don't know what the difference is between the formula for Provigil and the new drug from the same company (I think) that is called something like Nuvigil but that may be worth exploring. I suffered with excessive daytime sleepiness for decades before I was diagnosed -- but Provigil works well for me. I do recommend that you try taking it every day for a few weeks -- and I mean, 7 days a week -- unless your physician and you have determined that this is not advantageous for you. I think that taking it every day on a schedule that keeps you awake and alert for an appropriate number of hours may improve your sleep quality and therefore make it easier for you to stay awake when you really need to, like during conferences and classes. I'm going to assume that you've had a formal sleep study done. If you haven't, by all means have one done. If you have undiagnosed sleep apnea you need treatment for that too. Good luck with it all.
  4. by   Barinbass
    In my opinion based on long experience, NO. You have so little left, do what you have to to finish. That ls all you have to do. At this point you are not looking for stellar, excellence, etc You want to finsh. You have already proven yourself as far as quality of your work. Finish this and then fine tune what you have to do be able to practice like you want. Don't let other's discourage you at all. Nursing is very broad in what you can do with it. Nursing school is very different from the typical schools and can be very political and very unforgiving. I would not at all divulge this unless you can go to disability services, go through their entire process and get their protection. Even then you are not fully protected. The commitee that will meet to put their thumb print on those graduating may not feel comfortable graduating you as you will represent them. Too much in nursing is subjective and requires no proof. We have to change that but not in your two semesters. They definitely will not understand it as fully as they should for your sake. Think long and hard before you divulge this with so little left. Barinbass
  5. by   TNCC RN Guy
    Ditto for Provigil. I wouldn't mention it unless there was a compelling reason to, i.e. program policy or a potential affect on your performance issue. While the is an issue of "reasonable accommodation" for those with disabilities, you have an obligation to minimize the potential problems with lifestyle modification, meds, etc.
  6. by   teiladay
    Absolutely not. Do not mention it to your institution unless you want to open up the *possibility* of you being under the mercy of an administration and possibly screw up future opportunities that might have otherwise been open to you if you'd have kept your mouth shut. I am only recommending this to you if you know how to use your common sense.

    The problem is that you want to get a piece of paper stating that you are an RN. End of story. After that, you have options even if you fall out unexpectedly like a fainting goat on occasion. Obviously your common sense would tell you not to apply for a job where your condition would even possibly put someone at risk.

    Options- Research jobs, jobs in education, non clinical jobs, legal consulting, etc., which require that you be an RN. The bottom line is that once you have or have had a license- that puts you in a different situation than if you (because of your condition) were denied the opportunity to become an RN in the first place.

    Example: should a private pilot with failing vision go on to become a flight instructor or test pilot? You bet! He or she could still be a ground school instructor, teach aerospace/aeronautical engineering concepts even if he or she is blind as a bat! ... especially in those jobs that have a requirement that one must be or have been an FAA licensed pilot.

    Be smart and keep others save, but at the same time, understand how the real-world works and don't shoot yourself in the foot in the name of "doing the right thing". You can "do the right thing" on your own without screwing yourself in the long run.
  7. by   mvg rn
    I have mixed feeling. I believe in your right to privacy, but I've also seen what happens when Narcolepsy is not revealed to an employer.
  8. by   Cuezee2
    I think you should find out whether you are required to disclose this information or if it is just a personal choice. Because if it is personal preference, then I would keep it to yourself. Once your teachers know you will always carry that label and possibly their doubt that you are a capable student or will be a capable nurse, despite how well you've done in school.
    I have some serious health problems and am TPN dependent. Because I am frequently in the hospital and I carry a backpack with my TPN in it most of the time, I had to tell my professors what was up. And I KNOW they doubt me (several have asked why I'm bothering to go through nursing school if I won't be able to work as a nurse, which isn't true at all). But their doubt in my abilities is obvious and it is hurtful, despite the fact that I have had very good grades and have always done well in clinical. Anyway, if you have the choice not to tell, I wouldn't stigmatize myself if I were you. But like I said in the beginning, I think you need to find out whether you are required to disclose this info.
    Good luck to you!!!
  9. by   MaritesaRN
    Quote from Harmony4All
    Hi, I am currently in nursing school with two semesters left (not counting the one I am currently in). I have been diagnosed with Narcolepsy about 4 years ago (before I even started nursing school). I have noticed that due to my disorder, I have been late to clinicals a couple of times (because it is so early and I have such a difficult time waking up). I set my alarm 2 hours before I even have to leave. Yes, I have medication to perk me back up when I am feeling really sleepy. This disorder is also covered by the ADA (American Disabilities Act). The other day, during the post-conference at clinical, I was resting my head against the headrest of the chair, still listening and rocking the chair back and forth, but closing my eyes because I was way sleepy. I noticed the clinical instructor making a point to watch me rest my eyes. I noticed it when I would open them up every couple of seconds. I wasn't falling asleep, but had a strong desire to just shut my eyes. So, after that, I am wondering if I should let my school know that I have this disorder. At first, I was worried that they may inhibit me from doing certain things, but since I have been at their school for almost 2 years, they would be able to look back at my track record and see that I've been doing extremely well, including my grades. So, should I tell my school about my disorder?

    Thank you all!

    All advices meant well from the above. I'm a bit surprised of some detected harshness from some of our fellow nurses. What is wrong w/ you people????
    I think you need to talk again to you neurologist regarding your medication and treatment and a letter from your Doc to the Dean of nursing. If you are on a manageable level of this diagnosis, then you should be able to finish school and practice nursing in a non clinical environ. ( there are so many opportunities for nurses in a non clinical environ and minus the stress of understaffing) .
    There are a lot of people working , including nurses who have an anxiety d/o , or a manic depressive or schizoid w/c makes them functioning people, if they are maintained in meds and therapy. You could have OSA in relation to your symptoms , but that is a physician issue ---- but this people (OSA) can and have managed their daytime sleepiness. You might need a CPAP so you can sleep uninterrupted or well enough to minimize the daytime sleepiness.
    It appears to me that you have worked w/ this already. This is a form of disability and I frankly do not believe that a school can turn you down for training or finishing the program just because you have narcolepsy. Obviously you have managed it and your grades are good, the school can not touch you. Just for preparation you might contact the disability people's rights ----- I guarantee you that training can not be refused, as long as you are doing the school requirements in grades and attendance ! I take my hat off for you for doing what you are doing considering ???? but do tell school , but not until neuro MD and some guidance from the disability group ---- just in case......okay ?
    I have to admire you for your accomplishment considering of your diagnosis. Lots of power to you !!!
  10. by   armyicurn
    Quote from HeartsOpenWide
    You should find out if you can practice as a nurse with this disorder. It is about patient safety. How did this not get attention during your entrance physical?

    There is now an entrance physical requirement for nursing school?????
  11. by   ruaalien2
    Quote from armyicurn
    There is now an entrance physical requirement for nursing school?????
    My school also requires a drug test. I know other schools that require a background test....
  12. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Quote from armyicurn
    There is now an entrance physical requirement for nursing school?????
    Yup. Simple really. Want to see that you get your immunizations and that you can lift and move and use proper body mechanic; just like when I got hired for my first nursing job. If you have some medical issue that prevents you from lifting patients for example, then you could be denied. I think they only required to be able to lift and carry 20 lbs.
  13. by   LuckyinKY
    We only needed vaccinations, no physical exam or drug test.