We have a long way to go as health care providers

  1. Hi,

    I, initially, was going to post this in Nurses/Recovery but I wanted to say something to everyone.

    The past couple of days has been bittersweet for me. Yesterday, I took NCLEX and according to the PVT, I passed. My license isn't posted yet but NCLEX scores transmitted, so it should be soon. I was also in the process of licensing my pharmacy technician certification because I wanted a part time job eventually as a pharmacy technician for a little something on the side of nursing and to hone my skills/ knowledge of medications in order to improve care of my future patients. Well, today, I received a letter that I have been denied a pharmacy technician license due to mental illness. I can and will appeal it at an informal conference. I think it wasn't the denial that hurt as much as the decision being based on me having a mental illness.

    I have never worked as a pharmacy technician, so there's no poor work performance to say that I could be a danger in a pharmacy. I am in treatment and in a monitoring program.

    The reason I posted this here is because I often find threads talking about how nurses generally dislike taking care of mentally ill patients (and unfortunately, I have witnessed first hand nurses saying vile things about mentally ill patients). We are not bad people; we are ill and some of us are trying really hard to get better. It's a blow when we try and seek help and better our lives through trying to get decent careers and helping others and we are met with people who think we are nothing more than crazy and a danger to society.

    I think we can all agree that our health care service for the mentally ill have a lot to be desired; but please do not contribute to the problem. Keep this in mind and please be kind and show compassion (this goes for all people; sane or mentally ill).

    " Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle". -- Plato
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    About wish_me_luck

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 1,281; Likes: 1,285
    from US


  3. by   mariebailey
    I cannot believe that is possible! You can be living with a mental illness, but if it is managed properly, it should not affect your competency/performance. How can they deny a license due to a diagnosis?
  4. by   wish_me_luck
    I am in Virginia and apparently, it is. There's a clause/statute in the Code of Virginia that a board can deny someone that could have a mental impairment (illness). I think I am more in shock because like I said before, I have never had a job as a pharmacy technician or worked in a pharmacy, I am treated and in a monitoring program. They did not even give me the option to have the license and be in monitoring.

    My mom told me that that sounded like discrimination to her, since I have not done anything that would raise any sort of suspicion that I could be a danger to anyone. I just find it hard to believe there are zero pharmacy people (techs or pharmacists) that have a mental illness. Sometimes, I feel like people are on a witch hunt against mental illness.

    I am going to go to an informal conference to trying and get approval. I would appreciate prayers and good vibes. And just be kind to people.
  5. by   anotherone
    Good luck. THere is still a large stigma with mental illness. Not even the "lesser known ones" but even things as common as anxiety or depression. I think many people do not seek treatment because of it, and legitimate fears that such treatment many not be as confidential as one thinks. Good luck.
  6. by   netglow
    Sorry to hear all of this. Did you need to disclose your health info on your application for your certification? How did they find out? This is all confusing to me and unfair. Here you've been allowed to take all the classes necessary for the certificate (pay the money) only to find you never had a chance. I sure hope that nothing like that happens with your nursing licensure. After all, you are screened before entering the nursing program. I would think that if there is anything that would preclude you from getting a license, that thing would also prevent you from attending clinicals.
  7. by   wish_me_luck
    It is very unfortunate. I would rather know someone has a mental illness and know what I am dealing with than to scare someone into having to lie about it and not know what I might be dealing with. I have to say, I don't ever wish that I was different (i.e. didn't have a mental illness) because having a mental illness has given me more insight than anyone could ever imagine. I think that becomes one of the most important things in dealing with patients whether it is in a nursing or pharmacy setting. First, check your feelings about the situation, right? That's what we were taught. I think I can give more empathy than other people who have never walked a mile in a mentally ill patient's shoes.

    I wanted to be one of those people who proved others wrong and did something grand and wonderful (I dream big, not delusions of grandeur but want great things for myself) with my life. Our society views the mentally ill in such a way that it makes it very difficult, if not impossible in some circumstances, to be productive members of society. They think that mentally ill people are crazy, dangerous, lazy, and undeserving of sympathy/empathy of any kind. There are pathophysiologies for many mental illnesses just as there are pathophysiologies for physical illnesses.

    I am thinking about writing a letter to the state legislature about the situation as well. I know that they do not care about one person and I know it's a statute in the Code of Virginia; but when does it become discrimination? I think the way that the Code is written leaves room for discrimination, therefore, hindering any possible gains in understanding and providing acceptance of mental illness.

    Hopefully, one day, things will change.
  8. by   wish_me_luck
    netglow, I got certified 6 years ago (when I thought I was interested in being a pharmacist, then I decided I wanted to be more hands on patient care) and kept up with the certification through continuing education. When it was pretty much decided that I would have my nursing license only in Virginia, it made it clearer as to what state I need to register the license in (I live close to multiple states, so it would have been pricey to register in all possible states for chance at a job). At the point of certification, I did not have a mental illness diagnosis. How the board found out is I disclosed on my application because I had to make the applications for the pharmacy and nursing board match. I disclosed to the Board of Nursing and was offered approval for licensure contingent that I enter into the monitoring program. I explained on my application that I have a mental illness (I disclosed what I have to them, I did not put "I have a mental illness") and that I was being treated and was participating in the monitoring program. I had documents submitted to the Board of Nursing faxed over to the Board of Pharmacy and then, they reviewed everything and denied me.

    I didn't think it would be an issue since I am treated. I am going to get a more current letter from my psychiatrist for when I go to the informal conference. It is just so unfortunate that these boards play right into the stigma of a mental illness rather than serving as models for more appropriate attitudes toward mentally ill people.
  9. by   xoemmylouox
    And this is why people do not seek treatment.. I have to say that there are many people out there with "mental illness" that we work beside everyday and don't know. I have past dx of anxiety and depression. We all have our issues.. It's called life..
  10. by   RNOTODAY
    i just wanted to say that i think the system is so ******.... one can be granted a nursing license, but denied a pharm tech license, for any reason, ? taking care of PATIENTS is more of a responsibility that beiing a tech is.... what is wrong with this picture?????
    Last edit by Esme12 on Sep 14, '12 : Reason: TOS/profanity
  11. by   gummi bear
    I think that there are plenty of people working in healthcare with undiagnosed mental diseases. At least you are being honest and seeking medical help because there are many people who haven't even gotten that far. Good luck to you
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    I think you should cite the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that you cannot be discriminated against solely on the basis of having a mental illness. It is a Federal law, which trumps state law pretty much every time.

    You have my sympathies, OP. Navigating the murky waters of licensing and employment is tough enough these days without a mental illness, which is why I myself am hunkering down and doing everything I can to keep my own job until I can retire. There aren't many jobs out there for nurses anyway, let alone those who have bipolar/depression/schizophrenia/anxiety/fill-in-the-blank disorder, and are over 50 to boot. KWIM?
  13. by   777RN
    OP: Perhaps you should consult an attorney before writing any letters or taking any specific action, as you may have valid grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. If you do, there's likely a number of attorneys who would take your case on contingency. Good luck!
  14. by   Esme12
    As per the Terms of Service we cannot offer legal advice but we can give moral support. I am so sorry you are experiencing this and seem so calm....I would be devastated. I would seek the advice of an attorney and call the EEOC for they will answer any questions for you and make inquiries for you for free...so will the NLRB.

    My prayers and positive thoughts are on their way.