Nurses struggling with mental illness - page 62

I was just wondering if there are any other nurses who struggle with mental illness. It seems to be one disability that is met with little tolerance and support in the medical field. I do have major... Read More

  1. by   CABRN55
    Hey Laura, Sorry, I've been out of touch for the last couple of days, too. Things here have been wild and not quite fun. We are treading into some territory where I'm not real familiar and that's where it comes to dealing with nursing boards and allegations of wrongdoing. I'm going to pose a few questions here and see if we have any nurses with more experience than I who can help. One thing I do know is this, most nursing acts in most states are similar. That's why the majority of states are in what is known as "the compact" which means an RN licensed in one of the "Compact" states is licensed to practice in any other "compact" state. I believe there are 29 such states now and more are added every year or two nationwide in the US. My first question would be is: do you have liability insurance? If you have professional liability or malpractice insurance (whatever you want to call it) then your insurance carrier should provide you with an attorney for no charge to defend you. This dear nurses, is why we should all have our own private policies. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't need it. Employers will drop you like a hot frying pan if they can get away with it if they think they might be held liable for something you did. Especially if dropping you, ie, firing you, makes them look like they are doing society a big favor by holding the "offender's" feet to the fire. Tends to make them less likely to be sued. Contrary to popular belief, most people who sue are looking for JUSTICE, NOT MONEY. Corporations know this and will happily report nurses to a state board for punishment that they know aren't guilty of any gross misconduct, just to make sure that an unhappy family is appeased by the sense that justice has been done. They only sue for money when there is a need for continued care or the company is so big that they feel the only way to get the corporation's attention is to hit them hard where it hurts. Where it hurts for a corporation is in the pocketbook, since a corporation has no feelings only shareholders whose only concern is return on investment. So that would be my first question: What are your options for an attorney? Do you have professional liability/malpractice insurance? Second: Just what again have you been accused of and how serious is this violation? What is their evidence and what is it that you have in the way of refuting evidence or witnesses? If you have witnesses, can you depend on them to show up for your hearing? If not, will the board accept a deposition or something of that sort that you and a lawyer and the state board's lawyer could set up for your witnesses convenience so you can use their testimony if needed. I would think that this would be something that you would need to hurry and get onto if say you needed testimony of say a family member or a past co worker that it might be likely possible as the hearing draws nearer might be coerced into perjury due to fear of losing their job or pressure from within the plaintiff family--I would think it would be analogous to striking while the fire is hot, don't wait until it cools off to much, now is the time while there is still some passion behind the loss of a friend. Third What do you think is the motive behind this reporting to the board of nursing? Was this a mandatory? (A med being given without an order?) Or a oopys? (Forgetting to sign/chart a med given or misssing a dose?) Was a patient harmed? Was there imminent harm? Or is this just a CYA (cover your ass) for the employer? Or even a PO'd (pissed off)/incompetent supervisor/boss situation? If so, can you prove you didn't harm or cause imminent harm? Or that the employer has widely bad practices in place? Whatever it is now that you have a date and you are still in the state, I'd use this time to find out as much as I could and collect as much evidence and witness statements as possible, if permissible. Check with the board now and find out what is acceptable to the board at hearing now and start collecting as much as you can right away, since you will be moving out of state soon. What does everyone else think? Let's help Laura out with this right now. Laura, remember keep your head up. I'm here for you. Keep thinking positive and don't forget what we talked about the other day. Keep laughing! Don't ever stop laughing! Call you soon, I promise!!!
  2. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from CABRN55
    Hey Laura, Sorry, I've been out of touch for the last couple of days, too. Things here have been wild and not quite fun. We are treading into some territory where I'm not real familiar and that's where it comes to dealing with nursing boards and allegations of wrongdoing. I'm going to pose a few questions here and see if we have any nurses with more experience than I who can help.
    Hi hon, one thing we CAN'T do on Allnurses is give legal advice. People can share what they have gone thru but not what you SHOULD do, ya know? Same with medical, we can't give medical advice, diagnosis, or suggest treatment. Again we CAN share what we have experienced personally.

    Another thing is, be very sure that whatever you write here cannot possibly identify you, your hospital, your state, your patients, etc. Be very careful in these situations! If you need to go fix anything hit "edit", then go ahead and change what was written. I just want you to protect yourself!

    I do know that most of the time the answer given for your questions is, "It's different for every state, you might want to seek legal advice." A consultation usually doesn't cost any money.

    I am sorry for what is happening with you!! xo
  3. by   Laura0821RN
    With the allegations it is all here say and false allegations. I have many references and even one of my Medical Dirctors Doctors wrote me a reference, many references from supervisors, co workers, and clients I worked for. It is too hard to go into but she doesn't have any proof just accusations, and because I was getting ready to quit and refusing to do on calls. It is too much involved to go into it, but Ii feel safe. I might get the liability insurrance like you said and try to get a lawyer. I will tell you more when we are talking but hard to go into now. I have to run but I will write more later. And I don't need legal advice I need just experience of people standing in front of the board and being questioned. I am scared to death. I will write soon. Thanks so much
  4. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from Laura0821RN
    With the allegations it is all here say and false allegations. I have many references and even one of my Medical Dirctors Doctors wrote me a reference, many references from supervisors, co workers, and clients I worked for. It is too hard to go into but she doesn't have any proof just accusations, and because I was getting ready to quit and refusing to do on calls. It is too much involved to go into it, but Ii feel safe. I might get the liability insurrance like you said and try to get a lawyer. I will tell you more when we are talking but hard to go into now. I have to run but I will write more later. And I don't need legal advice I need just experience of people standing in front of the board and being questioned. I am scared to death. I will write soon. Thanks so much
    Laura, hope it all works out. I haven't had to stand before the board so I don't know... it sounds very hard to go through!
  5. by   Laura0821RN
    Well the good news is I am going to have a lawyer, just spoke to two really nice Female Nurse Attorneys and I think it is best to have representation. I will write more later.
  6. by   Laura0821RN
    Thank you guys for the support. I contacted a lawyer and hopefully this will be really much better.
  7. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from Laura0821RN
    Thank you guys for the support. I contacted a lawyer and hopefully this will be really much better.
    Hope so!
  8. by   CABRN55
    I would like to ask a question here in this venue if I might. I recently was placed on disability for bipolar disorder type II (major depressive) with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. I was diagnosed in 1980 and successfully managed from then until 2003, when I had the first of several exacerbations of my comorbidities, all related to major stresses in my personal life. I am in active therapy, however, I am in something of a "Catch 22" situation. I am on disability and unable to work due to my mental health status, but, the income provided by my disability payments isn't nearly enough to live on. My personal situation is my major stress factor, but without additional income that working as an RN would provide, I am trapped in a very toxic environment for me psychologically. But, trying to find work while on disability is almost impossible. I am working on this right now with social security and my therapist, but this is slow work, I'm finding now. As unbelievable as it must sound, it was easier for me to get pronounced unfit to work than it is to reclaim a place back in the ranks of registered nursing. I find this extremely frustrating as I had an unblemished record up to 2008, even with the exacerbations I had rendered excellent care and had never had any complaints about my work performance or patient interactions. My final working problems stemmed more due to interactions with management and frustrations with managed care. At my final place of work, I did have difficulties in orienting due to delays in attention and memory that slowed my ability to learn the new computer documentation needed to adequately perform my tasks, and I was appropriately terminated. It was at this time, my psychiatrist suggested that I should seek disability due to the fact he felt I had finally become overwhelmed by the stresses of my personal life and that I would be no longer able to function in both worlds, private and professional. I have a new therapist now, and after a re=evaluation of things, we are beginning to believe that perhaps that the change made was a bit premature and not one that was in my long term interests. Change was needed, but we were a bit too hasty and maybe a bit lazy in our rush to quickly "fix" or bandaid what really needed a more final and long term solution. The underlying problem was still there, the personal problems. The roadblock to fixing that, my children, had already grown up and I was free to pursue a life without the underlying problem, a really bad marriage between two very nice people. An idea that in the past had been discarded defacto due to our mutual devotion to our children wasn't in fact an issue of great importance as it had been once. Now what we are working toward is a mutual break, amicable. My spouse is finally himself in therapy to prepare himself as well. But how do I get back into a profession that doesn't seem to want me back? I am willing to admit that my behavior was unseemly for the last couple of years. I was erratic and rude to supervisors and administrators. But I am still a very good clinical nurse. I believe I can behave again just professionally as I once did before. But, how do I get a chance to prove myself? Anyone have a clue? I'm not trying to rush this. I'm going to do what my therapist says and I will certainly clear this with my psychiatrist, too. I have always been a compliant patient and realize that success depends on my cooperation with and adherence to all the rules. Lives depend on my good judgement, and I must be truly fit to practice. But if and when I am, how do I go about getting my foot back in the door? Can anyone help me with this? Or am I just spinning my wheels?
  9. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from CABRN55
    I would like to ask a question here in this venue if I might...how do I get back into a profession that doesn't seem to want me back? I am willing to admit that my behavior was unseemly for the last couple of years. I was erratic and rude to supervisors and administrators. But I am still a very good clinical nurse. I believe I can behave again just professionally as I once did before. But, how do I get a chance to prove myself? Anyone have a clue? I'm not trying to rush this. I'm going to do what my therapist says and I will certainly clear this with my psychiatrist, too. I have always been a compliant patient and realize that success depends on my cooperation with and adherence to all the rules. Lives depend on my good judgement, and I must be truly fit to practice. But if and when I am, how do I go about getting my foot back in the door? Can anyone help me with this? Or am I just spinning my wheels?

    I don't know how YOU should do it, but it is good that you are working with someone to get feedback and suggestions. Where you are is a very tough place to be. MY situation was that I overestimated my abilities, but also underestimated them. In other words, I was very black and white. If I could not work as a nurse I could not do anything. Even beyond that, I believed that if I WASN'T a nurse, I was WORTH "nothing", WAS "nothing"! Didn't give me a whole lot to work with!

    I had my social security income and, like you, found that it really was not enough to meet my needs. Unfortunately, UNTIL I WAS ABLE, that was all there was going to be, period. So I did have to receive help from other avenues, some for which I qualified, some for which I did not. No food stamps, but help with my housing costs. Food pantries, help from people who invited me for a meal, learning to ask for help, learning to do without, multiple little blessings that fulfilled the needs that "things" and stability used to fill. Differentiating between wants and needs. Being grateful for what I DID have. Lots of people will say, I have to do THIS, because I will lose THAT (ie a house, a car, etc.). Bottom line is, a) you are only capable of that which you are able to do, and, b) this means that there is a set limit to your income. That is my reality TODAY.

    That said, once you are SURELY ready, then you can make steps in the way of employment. I was not employABLE as a nurse for about 5 years after I went on disability - memory, fatigue, panic attacks, mood instability, etc. The worst was the anxiety which affected my attention span and memory skills, as well as a stupid tremor that was exacerbated by my anxiety! I think that the medication I was on aggravated this, too. This felt like the worst handicap of ALL - there was not a durn thing I could do to change it, and if I wanted to work, it was going to be observed, and perhaps judgments made. Ironically, this was the greatest test that I needed to pass! I had to do what I had to do, despite the fact that people were going to judge, especially myself! I was the worst critic of all!

    So, I started working 20 hrs at a Salvation Army Store as a clerk, which involved various tasks, some of which were easy, some of which were not. Talk about humility; the person who trained me was not very well educated, and had fewer social skills than most. Yet, he could do this job with ease, and he never let me forget how incompetent I was. For example, he would take great pleasure in telling me to "CONCENTRATE!" every time I made a mistake. Or, he would point out how much my head and my hands were shaking! "What's there to be NERVOUS about?" he'd say rather sarcastically, usually loudly enough for coworkers and customers to hear him quite well! ARGHH! Hated that guy, lol...

    However, this experience built a skill set. This helped me realize my abilities, potential, and limitations. And it forced me to be out in the public eye. You are only allowed to earn x number of dollars a month while on disability, so for me, 20 hrs at minimum wage was the best way to start. Make darn sure you do not go over this limit in a given month, because even if you go over one month here, and another month there, and it's not consecutive, you may find yourself off social security before you are ready. This happened to me. I planned on the SS income stopping at a certain date, but it stopped 5 months before the date I had thought it would be! SURPRISE! You must be very careful to plan ahead and again, don't drive faster than your angels can fly! Be sure you are ready for every change and step along the way, so that you don't put yourself in a bind. Despite that mistake, though, I still did ok.

    Anyway, to back up - in this way I gradually increased the number of hours and the amount of responsibility I had on the job, until I became 3rd key (mid management) for 24 + hours a week. I did that for 2 years. Then, feeling that I was ready (and I think it was a good decision, still), I went to a nursing home where I had worked before and was well liked and respected, and where I could tell the DON some of the truth of why I hadn't been working. I worked there as an RN for 24 hrs a week, nights because the job description was manageable, then transferred to eves, which proved to be too chaotic for me. I went back to per diem and eventually became unable to work again, due to a relapse in my bipolar (mostly depression, but preceded by some hypomania this summer). I am now re-evaluating my career choices since nursing seems to "kill" me every 3 or 4 years. Maybe God is trying to tell me something!

    So again, I am back on social security only. Since I previously earned my way OFF the housing subsidy (and they will not take new applications for it for FIVE YEARS!), I really don't have enough income to include my housing AND my car payment, so there is a possibility that I will lose my car if I'm not able to do the 20 hours at minimum wage again soon. I MIGHT be able to get by on what I have, but if not, that's ok. As long as I have my health and can function to the best of my ability, I will be content, theoretically

    I believe that in my case, and many people find this, that there is a reason or a lesson in it all. My own biggest lesson is that my pride keeps causing me to bite off more than I can chew, so that I can be better than I am, and so that I can be respected, and respect myself. In reality. this is just a little (HUGE!) mind game that I play with myself, over and over. I am barely conscious of it when I am doing it, but, bottom line, I am who I am (by the Grace of God) and it is good enough for Him; why isn't it good enough for ME?? I always sabotage myself in this way.

    Again I'm speaking to my own experience, feelings, character flaws. I don't know what yours are, or the exact nature of your personal situation. All ll I know is that you can only do what you are able to do, period. After that comes trust in God, that He will provide for your needs and many of your desires.

    A closer relationship with God is what helped me through this the last time. It helped me to accomplish what I did before this setback. And it is and WILL help me through this again! I will prevail and persist. I WILL do more than survive, as I always have. As long as I don't lose sight of Him, and as long as I quit trying to be something I'm not, I'll be ok. Again, I don't know your personal situation, and this more spiritual aspect of dealing with this may not be of interest to you. Regardless, you still have to be practical and know your limits and your abilities, and learn how to stay within them. Reach up, but not above, is a pretty good motto.

    Take care, and I hope this is of help to you. Hang in there and keep sharing with us. Believe it or not, it is just as supportive and helpful to us that you do so, as it is to you!

    xo
  10. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Here's a post I found on another thread, I took the liberty of posting it here and asking her to "come on by" to this thread for more active responses to her question. Any of you could also contact her personally by sending a private message through the system. Thanks! and welcome ChoppinBroccoli when you get here!

    Quote from ChoppinBroccoli
    I am nurse in my first year as an RN, and I have ADHD "Severe Type" (according to the Duke ADHD Program). I have been suffering from crippling anxiety on the job. I go into the bathroom to cry and often have panic attacks where I find it difficult to stop hyperventilating and my chest and throat get sore from it. My face gets awfully red and it takes me so long to calm down and just stop crying uncontrollably. I have horrible self esteem problems and feel like I suck at my job because I am horrible with time management. The other day, I didnt even have a chance to sit down and chart anything until after 5pm. I hate where I am working, because I feel that the patient load is too intense for me, and EVERY patient on my unit has pain management issues. I dont know how much more of this I can take. I spend my days off worrying about how the next day at work is going to go, and I cry and cry and call myself stupid when I know that I deserve to feel better about myself and not abuse myself like this. I don't know where else to turn. I want to find a different job, but my management wants to work with me to help me improve my organization. I just want to get the hell out of the place and get an office position. I feel a lot better already after typing this, but I still feel hopeless about the future. I thought that I was going to be a great nurse, but I can't get the time management down, and then my anxiety gets the best of me. I have been safe and competent, but I am 'slow' at getting my tasks completed and charting done, and I dont see what I can do to go faster.
    Any advice and prayers of support is appreciated.

    Here was my reply:

    I am so sorry I am just now reading this! please go to https://allnurses.com/nurses-disabil...tal-94244.html where there are those with ADHD, anxiety, low self esteem, and other mental health issues, there are those who have been posting there on a more regular basis. It's not that no one cares, it's just hard to notice new threads when they come up. Please forgive us for being remiss! I am also going to take the liberty of posting your question on that thread so that people can respond to you sooner. Hang in there!!!

    xo
  11. by   phlox
    I so much identify with all of this, it's freaky.

    I want to go back to nursing to "be me" again. And my disability check is only $600. a month. My marriage is toxic and I am staying in it because I feel I have no choice. I am miserable and feel my life is over. I feel like the old me is long gone and I will never find her again.

    I keep thinking about going back. But I will have to get a Driver's License again. Take a refresher course (phes online). Take clinicals in a far away city for phes online. Go through tpapn for the bipolar disorder and come up with money to do all of this.

    I am overwhelmed and sad.

    I come to this forum for encouragement and it makes me feel better. But I have been coming here for a long time now and I have made zero progress.
  12. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from phlox
    I so much identify with all of this, it's freaky....
    You're still here, and you're still fighting.

    Edited - (((((((((Phlox ))))))))))) keep coming back and you can always send a private message or, after you get to know someone, get their email address so you can support each other.
    Last edit by Liddle Noodnik on Feb 16, '10
  13. by   phlox
    Thanks Liddle Noodnik, for your suggestions and support. My children are grown and live on their own. My husband is cruel to one who is mentally ill as he has no understanding and teases and name calls. He is a tyrant. I prefer not to discuss details. I will not leave my home as it is on acreage I bought prior to quitting nursing and it is land that my cousin sold me and I bought. It is family land where my dad was born. I absolutely will not let it go. I have the responsibility of the livestock and cannot leave them to fend for themselves. It is complicated, but I cannot leave. He has to but won't. I must get my license back so i will have my own money, he takes my $600. disability check and spends it on what he sees fit. January he took it all. February, I recieved $20. for the whole month. I dress in very bad clothes. I have one pair of shoes that fit and they are for farm and for dress up...brown crocs that are 2 years old. I can barely go in public and am ashamed. I come to this forum and dream of how independant I was when I was a nurse and not with this man and sick. Sorry for complaining.

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