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hired as a new grad on a psych unit - with bipolar disorder

Posted

Specializes in General adult inpatient psychiatry.

Hi. I've suffered from bipolar disorder, type II, mostly hypomanic episodes for what seems like forever since starting high school and into college. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago when I sought a psychiatrist and psychologist. I have never been hospitalized for it and after 2 meds that didn't work, we found something that did. :) I do not see my MI as a risk to working with psych patients nor do I see myself getting hospitalized for it anytime soon. I've worked as a tech in psych hospital for almost a year now and it hasn't affected my work there, nor did it make me unsafe in my mental health clinicals.

All things considered, I'm worried about the physical & drug test required for my new job as a graduate nurse on an inpatient psych unit. I will gladly disclose my medications (also on Klonopin PRN for anxiety) but I don't know how this could affect me and my work status. I've seen people post before "don't ask/don't tell". Is that really the best policy?

Edited by pinkiepie_RN

Job-related drug screens are not the time for "don't ask, don't tell" -- they will ask you what medications you're on, and it will only create problems for you later if you're not honest.

Don't worry, TONS of nurses working in psych are on psych meds (I've worked in settings where I've started to think I was the only one who wasn't ...) I would be extremely surprised if this even raised any eyebrows.

pinkiepie_RN

Specializes in General adult inpatient psychiatry.

Job-related drug screens are not the time for "don't ask, don't tell" -- they will ask you what medications you're on, and it will only create problems for you later if you're not honest.

Don't worry, TONS of nurses working in psych are on psych meds (I've worked in settings where I've started to think I was the only one who wasn't ...) I would be extremely surprised if this even raised any eyebrows.

Thanks! Like I said, I'm very open about my dx and while it's not something I would outright go to my employer about if it were causing me problems (I'd go through my therapist, psychiatrist, maybe EAP) it's not something I want to hide. Great to know I'm not alone.

NewEnglandRN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych. Has 4 years experience.

Be honest about the medications you are on for your screen. I am glad you found a med-combo that is working well for you.

Good luck!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

You have gotten great advice but I wanted to add not to disclose anything until you have gotten a written job offer! It will be contingent on a successful physical exam which I'm sure you won't have any problem passing. Hang in there.

pinkiepie_RN

Specializes in General adult inpatient psychiatry.

You have gotten great advice but I wanted to add not to disclose anything until you have gotten a written job offer! It will be contingent on a successful physical exam which I'm sure you won't have any problem passing. Hang in there.

Thanks! I'm going to be hopefully getting paperwork from HR this week and then I will schedule my physical. I really appreciate the advice.

You have gotten great advice but I wanted to add not to disclose anything until you have gotten a written job offer! It will be contingent on a successful physical exam which I'm sure you won't have any problem passing. Hang in there.

You're right -- I was referring specifically to answering truthfully the question(s) asked in connection with the drug screen, not disclosing health info in general to your potential/new employer or new co-workers. In the latter case, the less said, the better. You can always disclose more information later if you decide it's appropriate and necessary. Once you've said something to someone, you can't take it back ...

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