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Is my dream of becoming a nurse possible while living on prescript pain pills

Nurses   (6,533 Views 36 Comments)
by nurscareer4me nurscareer4me (New Member) New Member

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Hi,, I really need some sound advice and help!! I am 41 years young and have always dreamed of becoming a nurse. I have wanted to go to nursing school now since my children were toddlers. They are now 20 and 22 years old. I have lived with Fibromyalgia now for atleast the past 15 years and finally got my life back 4 years ago when I was treated by a wonderfull doctor who also has Fibro himself. In the very beginning we tried several different medications, anti-inflamatories, muscle relaxers. Nothing relieved my pain, and the majority of medications made me very depressed and suicidal, He eventially prescribed me the pain killer, Vicodin. Over these last y4 ears of taking this narcotic, I finally actually feel like a normal human being now. When you are in sooo much pain 24 hours, 7 days a week, it takes so much out of you, you feel like you are just struggeling to survive to get through the days. This is my question that I need help with. If I go to nursing school and make my dreams come true, will it all be just a waist?? What are the chances of getting hired by a hospital, doctors office, ect. if they know that I take a prescribed narcotic daily for my fibromyalgia pain. I am so afraid that I am going to spend all this time and money to finally make my dream come true of becoming a nurse, and in the end, it will all be for nothing because of this stupid pain pill that I take daily. I have thought about just to stop taking vicodin when I get myself thru school and graduate, by what if in the end I do that and then can't work because I hurt so bad??? It will all just be for nothing, not to mention my dream will be shot. Can anybody truly give me an answer or tell me where I can find out.

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3 Followers; 95,617 Visitors; 36,456 Posts

Contact the Board of Nursing in your state and see what they tell you.

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5,501 Visitors; 410 Posts

You'll have to have a pre-employment drug test, but it's usually after you've been given a written offer of employment. As long as you can produce a written prescription for your Vicodin, you shouldn't have any difficulties. This is, however, just my experience.

Hospital nursing requires long, usually 12 hour, shifts with little time to sit. There is a great deal of lifting, pulling, and bending involved. The same is true of LTC nursing, but those shifts can be 8 hours in length. It is usually difficult to get a physician's office position right out of nursing school. I'm not saying this to discourage you, but rather so that you'll be honest with yourself. Are you able to do the tasks of nursing?

Your nursing school application is going to ask if you can do all of these things with reasonable accommodations, every day. Before you begin nursing school, perhaps you should have a discussion with your physician and see if you're able to perform the job requirements of a nurse, which are usually listed as the following:

Will frequently lift up to 100 or more pounds consistently causing a high volume

of stooping, bending, lifting, pulling, and twisting.

Will handle and be knowledgeable of all medical equipment utilized in the care of

the patient.

Must be able to perform various sensory requirements such as; vision, speech,

smell, touch, manual dexterity, fine motor.

Good luck to you as you follow your dream.

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Nurse2BKayy has 1 years experience.

430 Visitors; 1 Post

Well, i dont know exactly what having fibromyalgia is like but i have Sickle Cell Anemia and I often take vicodan for my daily pain, as you long as you have a prescription i dont think there should be a problem. Be encouraged...often times we (as people with chronic illnesses) discourage ourselves more than people do. You'll be in my prayers, I know exactly how you feel. -Krystal

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2,452 Visitors; 125 Posts

Check with your nursing school of choice, each is different. Mine has a zero tolerance policy even with a prescription.

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3 Followers; 95,617 Visitors; 36,456 Posts

Be aware that some nursing schools will allow you to enroll and complete their program but will not warn you about problems getting a nursing license. If you can not get a nursing license, you can't work as a nurse. That is why I advised you to seek information from your state Board.

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57,330 Visitors; 10,263 Posts

Working on prescribed pain meds is not working "impaired." Just be able to produce the scrip when you are drug-tested.

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5,027 Visitors; 189 Posts

How can a school have a zero-tolerance policy against prescription drugs if you have a prescription? Is it narcotics? Even then, what if you get injured during school and need Vicodin or something?

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BrnEyedGirl has 18 years experience and works as a RN, CEN, FNP-C ER Trauma Center.

18,550 Visitors; 1,235 Posts

I would check with your state board and maybe look at the policies for the hospitals in your area. I was in a car accident about a year ago and was not allowed to return to work until I had stopped taking narcotic meds. I was told it was a liability issue, as some lawyer somewhere would consider me impaired.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

15 Followers; 134 Articles; 186,499 Visitors; 20,709 Posts

That is true - many BONs also mention the use of narcotics while working as being "impaired."

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cherrybreeze works as a Registered Nurse.

11,998 Visitors; 1,405 Posts

I am sure that many BON's do consider some meds as working "impaired," no matter what, but I do think this is unfair. (Before anyone flames me, hear me out.)

People can be on a variety of meds long term, for a variety of reasons. For these people, they do not get affected negatively by these meds (be them narcotics, benzos, whatever); in fact, they function MORE normally when taking them. Trying to work without treatment, when you have severe persistent anxiety or pain, IMO is more "impaired" than not taking them. You can't concentrate in light of them.

Of course, every situation is different. Taking Vicodin for a short term, acute condition wouldn't be the same. In that case, your body wouldn't be used to it and you are much more susceptible to side effects.

Just my humble opinion.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

15 Followers; 134 Articles; 186,499 Visitors; 20,709 Posts

Agreed that chronic pain med use is different from short term use.

However, neither of our opinions matter where the BON is concerned.

That's why I advised the OP to check with THEIR board.

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