Will I get in trouble with the BON for receiving mental health care?

  1. Hi all,
    I've been struggling with severe anxiety and depression for a long time, but recently it is to the point where I have difficulty leaving my house or even getting out of bed on my days off. It hasn't affected my work performance, in fact I've been picking up extra shifts just to keep myself busy. I've never been to a counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist and I have heard horror stories about nurses who do. Will I be reported to the board for asking my doctor to refer me for mental health, or if I receive a psychiatric diagnosis? I want to go get help really bad but I cannot afford to lose my job or my license. I have no family who can help me should I become unemployed and no other skills to fall back on. Most of my colleagues and patients tell me I do a good job, and I don't feel like my reasoning or concentration is impaired at work (I don't receive complaints, have never made a serious error, and receive good evaluations). I'm terrified of getting referred to TPAPN (I practice in Texas) to the point where I've delayed going to see a doctor, but I'm not sure I can put it off much longer before I completely fall apart. Can anybody give me insight to what happens when a nurse is treated for a mental health disorder?
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    About mj606

    Joined: Sep '15; Posts: 1

    16 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    I've been through both counseling and being prescribed both an anti-anxiety drug and an antidepressant. I've never had to report anything to the BON. As long as your work performance and patient safety isn't affected, there shouldn't be any issues. Better to get the treatment now before things get worse.
  4. by   AGACNPTX
    No. In Texas there are certain mental health issues that the BON has a right to know. These include addition and "schizophrenia and/or psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder." That is from the BON site. Many nurses experience depression and anxiety and continue to be excellent nurses with treatment. As long as you are not taking medications that mentally impair you at work, it is none of their business what you do. It is best for your patients if you are happy and healthy, and if treatment helps with that I would urge you to seek help. 😃
  5. by   hppygr8ful
    Unless your mental health conditions causes you to present as a danger to yourself or others, Gravely disabled by reason of mental Illness or diverting controlled substances to self medicate you should be fine seeking a doctor's help. You medical care and this includes psychiatric is your business. Don't volunteer anything to the board and don't over share at work. Take care of you mental health with the same urgency you would give to a diagnosis of any chronic disease.

    Hppy
  6. by   Jory
    I'll be honest..this is what I would do.

    I would refer yourself (you usually can) and not bother mentioning you are a nurse.

    Problem solved.

    I am just paranoid about getting an equally paranoid psychologist.

    Yes, I have been to therapy before, no they did not know I was a nurse, but my insurance was a give-away at the hospital.

    When they asked what I did, I said, "I draw blood".

    LOL..it wasn't a lie.
  7. by   Tumbler
    Not sure how beneficial therapy will be if you can,t be honest with your therapist....

    honestly, when I requested accommodations for the NCLEX, I had to send the results of my testing to the BON. I,m not in Texas, but there haven't been any repercussions. Depression and anxiety are very common conditions. I feel like if nurses who took ADs were going to be dismissed, we'd lose a big chunk of our workforce.
  8. by   twinmommy+2
    I receive therapy and medications for PTSD, major depression, and anxiety. Thankfully I don't take anything that would impair my judgement and I think I have improved mentally since starting therapy and meds. They also do know where I work and what I do.
  9. by   billswife
    Unfortunately, the hospital "grapevine" trumps HIPPA just about every time! If anyone at your facility knows your private medical/psychiatric information, chances are good gossip will spread the word (and maybe embellish it a little). It's awfully hard to put the genie back in the bottle after it's out. I don't have a solution for this dilemma, but I know first hand how embarrassing and hurtful it can be.
  10. by   vintagemother
    It depends on your state whether you are required to report mental illness. In my state, you aren't required.

    If it was required, I don't think I would have sought treatment.

    Interestingly, as an aside the another posters comment, my PDoc and other mental health care providers know where I was working (a psychiatric care facility) and told me that my emotions were a normal reaction to the acuity! Bwahahaha!!! They thought I was coping very well considering what i faced!!

    Please get the help you need! For most of my life, until I was about 15 yrs into adulthood, I managed without pharmaceuticals. I used work as a diversion, herbal remedies, exercise, church, exercise, etcetera as ways of self medicating.

    But then I went thru a personal upheaval and I had to seek professional help.

    I don't regret that decision for a moment. I've been receiving tx for about 4 yrs now.
  11. by   clockwood
    Take care of yourself ASAP. YOU are WORTH IT. Be forthcoming with your healthcare professionals. It is HIGHLY unlikely that the BON will blink an eye. Like other posters here, I've been to counseling, seen a psychiatrist, and have been on anxiolytics for years. Join the club
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    I "outed" myself on my last license renewal because in all honesty, I have a mental illness that really does interfere with my ability to practice nursing safely...in fact, I'm on disability because of it. I figured I had nothing to lose by being truthful; I was completely open about my diagnosis, hospitalization and treatment. Guess what, my license was renewed immediately with no questions asked. I think they might have been more concerned if I'd been working at the time I renewed, but I wasn't and of course have no plans to return to nursing. I can't imagine ever being well enough to withstand the stress again, even though I've been stable for the better part of a year.

    Anyway, that's my story of being truthful with the BON.
  13. by   semobsn
    Two years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, for many years diagnosis of major depressive disorder, anxiety and panic attacks. I finally went to a psych doctor and not my regular dr, that was 2 yrs ago.
    Last month I got called into my my managers and Chrg nurse office and was told I was cussing (yes but not in front of pts or the time in clinic. There's nurses dropping F bombs everywhere And when pts are in the rooms). Then they said a nurse on my team told them I told her she was todo certain things only in clinic (again not true, and I even asked the nurse if she did say something she said no and that's nothing I would say to anyone) yesterday things repeated itself....I was told I spend too much time with families on the phone (this is a children's hospital mind you). We have as many as 60 calls come in plus another already 30 waiting to be called back.

    Long story short- they're calling HR on me. Within the last 6 months they've done this to one nurse and another nurse that she eventually quit. She had mental health issues and would take about it openly (management).
    Do I beat them to HR or what?

    They are many other things going on in the clinic that I am sure JACHO would love
    I am applying to other jobs within the hospital tomorrow. I've worked since I've been 15 yrs old and 42 yrs old and NEVER have had anything reported to HR all my references say I am always upbeat and positive and they'd hire me back.

    Please anyone help with advice.
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from semobsn
    Two years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, for many years diagnosis of major depressive disorder, anxiety and panic attacks. I finally went to a psych doctor and not my regular dr, that was 2 yrs ago.
    Last month I got called into my my managers and Chrg nurse office and was told I was cussing (yes but not in front of pts or the time in clinic. There's nurses dropping F bombs everywhere And when pts are in the rooms). Then they said a nurse on my team told them I told her she was todo certain things only in clinic (again not true, and I even asked the nurse if she did say something she said no and that's nothing I would say to anyone) yesterday things repeated itself....I was told I spend too much time with families on the phone (this is a children's hospital mind you). We have as many as 60 calls come in plus another already 30 waiting to be called back.

    Long story short- they're calling HR on me. Within the last 6 months they've done this to one nurse and another nurse that she eventually quit. She had mental health issues and would take about it openly (management).
    Do I beat them to HR or what?

    They are many other things going on in the clinic that I am sure JACHO would love
    I am applying to other jobs within the hospital tomorrow. I've worked since I've been 15 yrs old and 42 yrs old and NEVER have had anything reported to HR all my references say I am always upbeat and positive and they'd hire me back.

    Please anyone help with advice.
    You have my sympathies. I'm bipolar 1 too and two years ago I made the worst mistake of my career---I disclosed my diagnosis to my supervisor. BIG mistake. From there on out I was scrutinized to the point where the stress of it all made me sick. I had a breakdown at work and had to go out on medical leave. When I came back I was told that the company could not and would not give me the accommodations requested by my psychiatrist so I could continue in my job. Two days later I was fired.

    I'm not sure what, if anything, you can do to salvage your work situation. Just beware of disclosing your illness going forward, whether in this job or the next. I wouldn't even tell your co-workers, you never know if it'll get back to the boss. Wishing you the best of luck. (((HUGS)))

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