Have GAD and Panic Disorder and am being told nursing isn't for me


I need advice.

So ever since I was little I've wanted to work in the medical field, and when I was 12 I set my heart on nursing. I'm 20 years old and currently finishing up a psychology degree before applying into an after degree program for nursing, but some of my family members and my boyfriend think that nursing school and the profession in general aren't for me simply because of my anxiety disorders.

This is my dream job and it's honestly disheartening to hear that I may not be cut out for it. Besides these anxiety disorders I have all the personality characteristics that I'd say are ideal for working with people, especially when they're sick or hurting.

I just wanted some unbiased input. Would you guys not recommend the profession to someone who has anxiety? Mine is mostly under control and only rarely gets in the way of my work or school, and I think is only an issue now because I'm anxious about my grades and whether I get accepted into nursing school.

I understand there are a lot of difficult things that have to be done in nursing but I also feel like with proper management (seeing a professional) I shouldn't have any issues with it, right?

Please help :( Also if there is a more fitting board I can post this to let me know

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,433 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

Have you seen a mental health professional? Someone who knows you and your anxiety issues would be best to help you with your questions, not an anonymous message board full of people who don't know you at all.

verene, MSN

1,790 Posts

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

Short version is yes, it is possible to have an anxiety disorder and be successful in a healthcare career.

Whether or not is is possible for you specifically is going to be up to you, what your specific triggers and coping mechanisms are, and how well you are able to manage your anxieties during school and working a healthcare setting. It may help talk to a therapist or counselor for more input into your specific situation.

I answered you over on reddit - but my question is are your family members/boyfriend nurses? Do they have anything concrete to base their opinions on? Is your condition well managed?

I have mental health issues - that are well managed. My doctor knows I'm going to nursing school and has no reservations and is ready to support me as needed.

I certainly wouldn't base my future on the opinions of people that knew nothing about the field and what my job would encompass, however.

Good luck!


34 Posts

Speaking from the field. Nursing is just not about holding grannies hand. It's about dealing with over demanding families. Patients that should be in mental hospitals but cannot get placement so you have to care for them. Plus dealing unrelenting demanding patients in pain. Plus dying grannies. And that's just Wednesday. I am not an overly stressed or anxious person. But if you do go in to nursing. Understand that it is a stressful environment. And pick your field carefully. Go into occupational or physical therapy.

Specializes in Prior military RN/current ICU RN.. Has 16 years experience.

Agree with el zombie. Many people on here will just say "don't worry you can do it!". I am not saying you cannot and you very well may do a great job. Just be aware to say being an RN is stressful for many is an understatement. Managing many situations at once is huge. Time management is huge. You have to have self confidence to call a doctor at 2am with a situation that may be arising.

One more thing..you say "people say"...who are these people? How would they know whether you would be a good nurse? "People say" all kinds of things. When you are old and in your bed those people won't be around and you will have to think did I do what I wanted to do and did I do what I was capable of. I have never heard of anyone in their death bed saying "I should have not gone to college".

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 6 years experience.

Your post reflects a lot of uncertainty, but I get the feeling you already know the answers to your questions. I also get the feeling that you feel unsupported despite the decision you already made.

Am I right?

You state that you feel with proper management (seeing that professional), you shouldn't have any issues. Yes and no. You're on the right track to a healthy and happier you -- most definitely. However, anything can set off an episode of GAD/panic disorder; we don't know your triggers, and only you (and your therapist) can identify them and come up with coping mechanisms. Windsurfer8 isn't kidding; saying nursing is stressful can be an understatement. You'll want to have an arsenal of coping skills. Plenty of nurses excel in their field and have diagnoses of anxiety (and depression ... and bipolar disorder ... everything under the mental health rainbow). The trick is not to let it overwhelm you. It can be easier said than done ... or not.

Now, on to "those people..."

You say you have all the personality characteristics ideal for working with people, "especially when they're sick or hurting." I believe you. And I think you believe in you too. So here comes the tough part: ignore them. Like others have said, are they nurses? If they can't be supportive, it's time to hit the Facebook block users button, have a little chat with the boyfriend, and then go on with your life.

Because it is YOUR life.

Specializes in PACU. Has 6 years experience.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't be a nurse because you have anxiety.

I have bipolar disorder, GAD, panic disorder, and OCD. It is a struggle every day, especially when they all interact with each other and can make things worse. I've managed to succeed in my nursing program and have been commended for my excellent clinical skills. It is a collaborative effort between myself, my doctors, and my medications but I refuse to let my mental illness get the better of me. I woke up one day, decided I wanted to be a nurse, applied to nursing school, and got in and I refuse to let those disorders stop me.

Don't let other people make the decision for you.


330 Posts

Specializes in Stepdown . Telemetry. Has 10 years experience.

The two posts directly above me so eloquently expressed everything I wanted to say! Listen to them!

Besides the specifics of a given career, as a general rule, do not let a few dsm diagnoses and the perceptions of others get in the way of something you feel you are meant to do!