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Mental health question on Texas BON licensure renewal

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by Mortaaaay Mortaaaay (New Member) New Member Nurse

113 Visitors; 5 Posts

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So, last hear I went through a horrible breakup and was very stressed about my new job. I have terrible PMS and got very anxious and restless around the time of my period and then would be content and happy during the times I don’t have my period. I have always had trouble sleeping but it got worse when I broke up with my ex and I had a tendency to obsess about my ex and wasn’t able to sleep as well as I normally do (we dated for seven years and almost got married and he left me for another woman) and I needed sleeping meds. I also would have racing thoughts and I would get so exhausted I would sleep for 16 hours. 

 

So, I went to the psychiatrist and she said I had bipolar disorder and put me on lamictal. I really disliked the medication as I just was tired and after working on myself and ridding myself of my partner and building a better life for myself I have learned that I was anxious in general (which I deal with by exercising and breathing exercises) and probably get depressed at times because of life and my job (I work nights and sleep tons on my days off). 

 

I didn’t go back to the doctor after the first three times and literally I have never done anything reckless with my life or missed work or made mistakes because of this. 

 

So I’m renewing my license and it asks about being diagnosed with various psych disorders (bipolar disorder being one of them) “which impaired or does impair your behavior, judgement, or ability to function in school or work.”

 

I want to check no because it never affected me and I’ve never been hospitalized for psych stuff at all. 

Could the board find out or could I face legal repercussions from this?

Also, what happens if I put yes on this question?

 

Should I go back to the doctor to be re-evaluated? 

 

My NP asked me what I did and I told her I was a nurse and she asked where I worked and I told her just thinking she was making small talk. I am nervous she has told people about what we discussed and if we know anyone who works with me and that she may tell the board.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,946 Visitors; 9,625 Posts

Your NP has to follow HIPAA confidentiality rules just like the rest of us. She cannot tell other people about your private conversations or report you to the BON, unless of course you present as floridly psychotic, in which case you would report to the board yourself as your illness does impair your ability to practice safely. It doesn't sound like this is an issue for you, so you might as well check "No" on your renewal form. 

It would be different if the question were phrased another way as it is in some states: if you have been diagnosed or treated within the past five years for X (and bipolar is one of those). Then you would have to answer in the affirmative, because getting caught lying to the BON is one of the worst things that can happen to a nurse. No, they won't go through your medical record (again, HIPAA), but if you were to need crisis intervention such as a hospitalization they could find out. Some states require that a mental healthcare provider report a hospitalization to the patient's licensing board. You'd have to look up your state's rules to find out if this is true.

Additionally, I'd get a second opinion about your bipolar diagnosis if I were you. While anxiety and irritability are symptoms of BP, you state that you have PMS which could also cause those symptoms. A second opinion could be valuable, as you don't want to carry this diagnosis if you don't have it.

Just a few of my thoughts. Good luck to you. Viva

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113 Visitors; 5 Posts

32 minutes ago, VivaLasViejas said:

Your NP has to follow HIPAA confidentiality rules just like the rest of us. She cannot tell other people about your private conversations or report you to the BON, unless of course you present as floridly psychotic, in which case you would report to the board yourself as your illness does impair your ability to practice safely. It doesn't sound like this is an issue for you, so you might as well check "No" on your renewal form. 

It would be different if the question were phrased another way as it is in some states: if you have been diagnosed or treated within the past five years for X (and bipolar is one of those). Then you would have to answer in the affirmative, because getting caught lying to the BON is one of the worst things that can happen to a nurse. No, they won't go through your medical record (again, HIPAA), but if you were to need crisis intervention such as a hospitalization they could find out. Some states require that a mental healthcare provider report a hospitalization to the patient's licensing board. You'd have to look up your state's rules to find out if this is true.

Additionally, I'd get a second opinion about your bipolar diagnosis if I were you. While anxiety and irritability are symptoms of BP, you state that you have PMS which could also cause those symptoms. A second opinion could be valuable, as you don't want to carry this diagnosis if you don't have it.

Just a few of my thoughts. Good luck to you. Viva

Well the clause is kind of like that. It says “In the past five (5) years have you been diagnosed with or treated or hospitalized for schizophrenia and/or psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder which impaired or does impair your behavior, judgment, or ability to function in school or work?”

 

technically it hasnt impaired my ability to function function in school or work. I have worked just fine. 

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,946 Visitors; 9,625 Posts

Then you can truthfully answer "No" because your condition has not impaired and does not impair your ability to be a safe nurse. 

With me, bipolar did impair my ability to practice, and when renewal time came I "confessed". I just told the BON I had bipolar I disorder that was now  well-managed, and that I wasn't working. They seemed satisfied with my answer and renewed my license without any conditions. I've heard Texas can be really obnoxious about this, requiring nurses with mental health problems to be in a monitoring program that's a one-size-fits-all geared to nurses with drug and alcohol issues. I hope that never happens to you.

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