Getting hired with ADHD?

Nurses Disabilities


Hi, I'm still in college finishing up my prerequisite for nursing school. I may have ADHD..well I know I have it lol, and Im going to see a doctor for it soon.

My question is if I have ADHD will I have a less chance of getting hired? For example, if another person and I have a bsn degree but I have ADHD would the other person have a better chance of getting hired. I think theres law for discriminating against these things...but I feel like the person hiring may think the other person may be choice or something. Ionoe I just feel like I will have a harder time getting hired because of the adhd.

Thanks in advance for any help.


68 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health, Emergency, Surgical.

It's not the kind of thing you would tell the nurse recruiter. You should be talking up your strengths and not mentioning your weaknesses. Unless there is some law in your area(I am Australian) that says you have to give this info.

A huge part of nursing is time management and prioritising so the bigger question is whether your ADHD will impact on your ability to do the job. Maybe it will help your thoughts to become more organised, I don't know. I have heard from some nurses that they don't have to take a list to go shopping anymore - because of all the mental prioritising and memorising of lists. HeadNurse gives a good explanation of this on her blog.

"I don't know how it happens, but somehow your brain gets good at remembering five or six things for an hour or two, ranking those things in order of importance automatically, and then (most important) discarding them once you've dealt with whatever they are."

and my favourite -: "Not only does your brain have to get good at sorting, discarding, and shoving things into medium-term memory, but you have to do it all on the run and while paranoid." (my emphasis.)

So, in the end,

a)you will find out if you are suited to nursing when you do your clinical placements

b) You may even learn new strategies for organising your thoughts and time

and c) if you are safe to practise, it is none of anyone's business what medical conditions you do or do not have.

It is your job to sell yourself, not give the recruiter reasons to not hire you. This isn't like high school or camp when you give a list of your medical conditions. It is on a need to know basis. And if there is going to be a problem with you being a nurse, you will find out when you do your clinicals.


P.S - You have to think of your reason for disclosing your ADHD. It's not like you will get any leniency for it. You will likely just get blamed for things earlier. Instead of "her time management needs improving - oh that's just because she is a new nurse." It will be "Geez, her ADHD is putting the patients at risk. Strike 3 and you're out." It just gives them a cop out.


21 Posts

Oh thanks yea I do try to organize my plans and stuff medication would be my last resort or on days I think I may need it. Well I live in California, does anyone here in California or America knows if we have to disclose medical information like ADHD during the hiring process?


21 Posts

@ buttercups.. i forgot to mention about clinicals..when your in nursing school when do you get to do clinicals? towards the end? If it is wouldnt be too late to even have a choice of backing up after spending so much money LOL


68 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health, Emergency, Surgical.

When you do your clinicals depends on the course. You would have to find that out from the nursing school itself.

As for whether to disclose your conditions or not, the only things you have to disclose are things that will impact on your practice. And you don't tell any medical or psychological info about yourself to the place of hiring. Anything that you are required to disclose is disclosed straight to the nurses board and they should keep it confidential. They then have the choice to put limitations on your practice or not. But they aren't supposed to tell your workplace.

Like i said, I don't actually know how it is in California, but speaking from one adult to another: you don't come out with things like that at the job interview. Why do they need to know? You should guard your license with your life and you don't want to give anyone a reason to get rid of you.

My advice - do a bit of research and don't volunteer too much info.


59 Posts

Hi Skandy,

Good questions! I'd like to back-up a little bit and tell you that you shouldn't even tell your instructors in nursing school that you are ADHD. It can lead to your clinical instructors leading to being biased against you. I think it happened to me in one of my clinicals.

Prior to starting classes you should contact the school's dept for disabled students and get set up for accommodations. They should have accommodations for extra time for tests, written tests, etc. You should be able to disclose to them your disabilities and accommodations you need. They will fill out the forms for your instructors without informing them what your exact disabilities are. You should not have to disclose what your disabilites are for your theory classes. Technically you shouldn't need accommodations for clinical as you need to be able to fulfill your clinical duties as they are presented to you but check with the disabilities department. There are actually a lot of learning disabled students in nursing. Just never disclose it to clinical instructors. They are primarily nurses. They aren't educators per se and aren't always up on discrimmination laws etc... Even if they are... they will still have their biases. I've known fellow students who have been biased against and are currently seeking lawyers about it.

Yes, time management is a HUGE issue in nursing and you have to master it. You clinicals in nursing school are a catch 22. It is a time to learn and master your time management but you also have to pass the clinical. To pass the clinical you have to show that you have good time management. Therefore, use the time you have in clinical to experiment with refining your time management but ALWAYS keep in mind that your instructor AND the nurses that you are working with are looking at you and judging you about your time management ALWAYS. You have to show them that you have good time management, that you can organize your tasks and you can think critically. If you have never worked in a hospital environment and hav ADHD I would HIGHLY recommend that you invest some time volunteering on a Med-surg floor of a hospital or seriously talking with a nurse that works in an acute care setting an REALLY understand what it takes to be an acute care nurse BEFORE you invest any more time and money in nursing school.

I am in no way discouraging you from going into nursing school. Nursing is a great profession. I'm just saying that if you have ADHD you really need to know yourself, your limitations and the profession and make sure that there is a good fit all around.

Good luck !!!!

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