mental health disorders and CRNAs


As many of you know, I've been accepted to anesthesia school (yea!). Unfortunately, a recent chain of events in my life (I'm going through a divorce after less than one year of marriage) has caused me a lot of distress for which I have sought therapy and medication management. I am worried that this info. on my health record (depression/anxiety) may have a negative affect in the future when I go to apply for CRNA positions. Is there any possibility that future employers would be able to gain access to this information or that I could be discriminated against when I go to apply for a job? No one wants to hire a CRNA who they fear could be mentally unstable, as it is so very, very important to be able to handle stress and be levelheaded in order to be responsible for people's lives on a daily basis. Thanks in advance for any insight that you CRNAs or SRNAs could offer me.


apaisRN, RN, CRNA

692 Posts

Kudos to you for getting therapy and medication. I'd be a lot more concerned about your ability to provide anesthesia care if you hadn't taken those steps to handle your situation!

Hopefully the CRNA/SRNAs here will have more insight, but as you know, it is illegal as hell to discriminate against someone for a mental health issue. I think depression and anxiety are so common (or should I say commonly admitted to) now that most of the medical world is pretty accepting of people getting treatment. There is no way a future employer should have any access to your records and from what we hear, there are so many CRNA jobs needing to be filled that no one is going to care about your personal life at all.

It's sort of funny, I have had similar issues all my life, and I never considered that it might impact any career except something with security requirements like the CIA. I guess because it has become a chronic thing, usually well managed, I don't think about it much. It's like asthma or something.



422 Posts

it's nobody's business but your own. get the help you need and move on. you will be able to accomplish your goal of becoming a crna no problem. best of luck to you in your future schooling.



1,093 Posts

i have friends in school who have been dx w/ depression and anxiety -

the important thing is that you recognize it and treat it - that says more for an individual than anything...

and - it is against the law to discriminate based on that criteria anyway!

good luck - and sorry about the rough yr you have had



145 Posts

It's a HIPAA world now, honey. No worries!

They can't even ask, and you are under no obligation to divulge. So don't. Your personal life is just that - separate it now from your academic and professional lives and you will be better off for it. Trust me on that one.

Take care of yourself first. It sounds like you are taking the right actions to ensure you get through this difficult time the best way you can, using the resources you have at your disposal. To me, that means that you are insightful enough to get the help you need, which is certainly a level-headed approach!



Specializes in MICU, CVICU. Has 1 years experience. 146 Posts

I've found honesty to be the best policy in general, and if you're worried that this may affect your acceptance then let them know after you're accepted. This way if any problems may arise or you feel like you may need some extra help, the staff/profs/whatever will know that it is a legitimate issue and will be better prepared to help you. I personally have never sturggled with this but my mom is bipolar and she struggles with who she should tell and who she shouldn't. She's a teacher in a smaller suburb and worries about the stigma of having a psych disorder especially since she works with kids. But, ultimately it is up to you to determine who you tell and who you don't. Best of luck in the future.



363 Posts

You're not the only nurse, srna, or crna with a mental disorder. Have you checked out the prevalence of alcoholism among CRNA's on the ANA site? you should take a gander. It's pretty high. I'm sure you understand why. Also, I'm sure anxiety and depression are more common in nursing than a lot of professions. it seems like everybody I know is on some cheery or anxiety medicine. don't worry so much. I think one trick is to find something new you love, and hold onto it, so your life doesn't revolve around your work.

You don't need to admit your faults. One is not obligated to go over his or her negative personality aspects during interviews, and I wouldn't volunteer any information. Besides, it is a couple years down the road before you will be getting into crna positions. as they say, no time like the present!

Hope it works out.


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