Jump to content

Rn Health requirements?

Posted

hi,

i am currently in a pre health sciences program, and will be applying for a college/university collaborative bscn program next year. there are some students in my classes that have adhd and are also applying for the same course. what are the health requirements for being an rn in ontario? will they be allowed to write the crne? just curious. thanks!:)

OttawaRPN

Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics. Has 5 years experience.

You mean will they discriminate against someone who has ADHD? Of course not, that would be against the law.

The only health requirements are the ones enforced by your school ie) up to date immunizations, etc. and this varies from school to school.

The CNO also doesn't mandate health requirements but your place of employment might; again, it varies from employer to employer.

Well there has to be some sort of regulation. It's not discrimination if it could affect patient care. Not necessisarily with ADHD, but any sort of mental disorder. Can someone who is bi-polar or schizophrenic become an RN? I would hope not. And with ADHD, do you not think patient care could be affected? My brother has it, and unless he is taking his meds, his ability to process information, and pay attention is greatly affected. What if, say a nurse was not paying attention to the proper dose of meds that was called for, and a patient was administered a life threatening dose? I'm not saying that they shouldn't be allowed to practice, I'm just curious as to what sort of governing there is for stuff like that. And is there a difference for RN an RPN health Regs b/c an RN is involved in more critical thinking decisions?

flyingchange

Specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research. Has 2+ years experience.

Hi Alicia,

I was a pre-nursing student not so long ago with some potentially unfair biases so I will extend a welcome to you, and share some ideas I hope you find insightful.

In nursing school you will find that there are no black and white distinctions about how a person's capabilities and potential relate to his or her diagnosis. You will be asked to reflect on and consider your own opinions a great deal. I wonder why you feel that ADHD, Bipolar, or other mental illnesses should preclude someone from even considering being a Nurse.

OttawaRPN's post is correct. The regulatory body of RNs in Alberta, which is probably very similar to Ontario as we are all ultimately united by the CNA, cites the Health Professions Act. The only portion of it that really applies to the concerns you raise is the following section:

Good character, reputation

11An applicant for registration as a regulated member must provide evidence satisfactory to the Registrar of having good character and reputation by submitting one or more of the following on the request of the Registrar:

(a)written references with respect to the applicant's nursing practice from an employer or educational institution;

(b)a statement by the applicant as to whether the applicant is currently undergoing an investigation or is subject to an unprofessional conduct process or has previously been disciplined by another regulatory body responsible for the regulation of registered nursing or another profession that provides a professional service;

©a statement as to whether the applicant has ever pleaded guilty or has been found guilty of a criminal offence in Canada or an offence of a similar nature in a jurisdiction outside Canada for which the applicant has not been pardoned;

(d)any other evidence as required.

So, to answer your question, a Registered Nurse in Alberta (and similarly around the country) is not precluded from registration on the basis of medical diagnosis, but on his or her capacity to be a Nurse of good character and reputation. If you have made it through your entire life up to the time of registration without committing a crime, and can provide a good reference from your place of work or educational institution, CARNA says you can be an RN, because it seems like you are a good person.

That is to say, if your disability prevents you from making it through nursing school - a particularly gruelling time, IMO :p - you wouldn't be eligible for writing the CRNE. If it prevented you from acting unsafely in clinicals, you wouldn't pass clinicals. If it prevented you from acting safely as an RN, you would be answering to the Disciplinary Tribunal.

There are many failsafes to ensure that people who can't practice safely do not become licenced or do not stay licenced. There is no "medical test" to go through that would indicate to the College whether or not you could do these things. Nurses are judged by their past actions and practice, not their potential.

Tread lightly in regards to what makes a good RN or a good RPN/LPN. We are all held to the same standards of safe practice.

Take care :nurse:

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I have worked with both a nurse with ADHD and one that is bipolar. They both manage their conditions and function fine on the job as far as I have seen.

OttawaRPN

Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics. Has 5 years experience.

Alicia, I think you are looking for some hard and fast rules about what medical conditions should preclude someone from becoming a nurse. Well, there aren't any. A large proportion of the population suffer from some sort of mental illness, but mental illness is treatable and manageable so to expect that no one with ADD/bipolar/schizo be allowed to become a nurse is judgmental and discriminatory. Our society just doesn't function like that. As for making life-threatening errors, that can happen to any nurse with our without a medical condition, as we are all human and as the saying goes "to err is human". But what joins us all at the hip is that we, as nurses, are all fully accountable for our actions, both good and bad, no matter the circumstance and no matter what our health history may be.

I agree with what all of you are saying, I just wouldn't want someone to spend 4 years and alot of money on their education and not be able to get their license to practice. The reason I asked if anyone knew the exact regulations is because Georgian College states in thier program outline for BScN that:

"Note: The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the body responsible for regulating nursing in Ontario, sets entry to practice requirements that nurses and practical nurses must meet to become registered in Ontario. CNO's mission is to regulate nursing to protect the public interest. Among CNO's entry to practice requirements are provisions specifically intended to enhance public safety. These provisions require that applicants for registration in Ontario:

a) have not been found guilty of a criminal offence or an offence under the Narcotic Control Act (Canada) and the Foods and Drug Act (Canada);

b) not have been the subject of a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, whether in Ontario or in another jurisdiction and whether in relation to the nursing profession or another health profession;

c) not currently be the subject of proceedings for professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, whether in Ontario or in another jurisdiction and whether in relation to the nursing profession or another health profession;

d) not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice.

An applicant for registration who does not meet one or more of these requirements must inform CNO and provide details about the incident or situation. The applicant will not be necessarily refused registration because CNO's Registration Committee will review information about the incident or situation to determine if an exemption from the requirement(s) will be granted. An applicant for registration, who does not inform CNO, may have the application for registration cancelled, or any certification of registration which may have been issued revoked."

It wouldn't be fair for a student to get through school, pass the exam, and then find out it was all a waste of time. And also, I don't think that I am being judgemental or discriminating. These things should definitely be assessed to ensure proper patient care. If the person is competent than that is fine. I have had alot of first hand experience with mental illness in my family (not just my brothers ADHD), so I know how quickly things happen and situations can change if someone decides to stop taking their meds. This is what made me want to pursue a career in nursing, and be able to help people. I'm not looking to pass judgement or say that anyone is incapable, ( I wouldn't be surprised to learn that I myself have ADHD) I'm just curious to know how situations where common mental health issues are looked at.

Balder_LPN, LPN

Specializes in Urgent Care. Has 1 years experience.

Well there has to be some sort of regulation. It's not discrimination if it could affect patient care. Not necessisarily with ADHD, but any sort of mental disorder. Can someone who is bi-polar or schizophrenic become an RN? I would hope not. And with ADHD, do you not think patient care could be affected? My brother has it, and unless he is taking his meds, his ability to process information, and pay attention is greatly affected. What if, say a nurse was not paying attention to the proper dose of meds that was called for, and a patient was administered a life threatening dose? I'm not saying that they shouldn't be allowed to practice, I'm just curious as to what sort of governing there is for stuff like that. And is there a difference for RN an RPN health Regs b/c an RN is involved in more critical thinking decisions?

and not just mental disorders may effect patient care. Maybe nurses with Type 1 DM should not be allowed to practice either. I mean, if they took their insulin, missed lunch, and went into a coma, what do you think that would do to pt care?

and on that note, :idea: Why doesnt the Board of Nursing regulate nurses fitness levels too? I mean if no one was over weight, if we could all lift a certain amount, if our cardio fitness levels were up to snuff we could RUN from bed to bed to bed, to our regulated lunch (to make sure we dont get overweight and slow down). That would so IMPROVE pt care. I mean obviously all those factors contribute to good pt care, so lacking in any compromises care, right?

My point is; Every single aspect of a nurses health cannot be reasonably regulated. Report unsafe practice to managment, QA, the board, discuss it with the staff member, what ever the policy of your facility or licensing board requires, they cant have laws to cover every little nuance of medication and disease management.

Sorry, up on my soapbox here, so many ppl treat mental health issues so much like substance abuse (which is a mental health issue itself) but ADHD, or bi-polar do not have the same type of effect on pt care as a nurse who is altered by alcohol or painkillers. You cant discriminate against someone who is able to safely perform their job, whether or not they need to take a prescription to do so.

Balder_LPN, LPN

Specializes in Urgent Care. Has 1 years experience.

d) not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice.

[

It wouldn't be fair for a student to get through school, pass the exam, and then find out it was all a waste of time. And also, I don't think that I am being judgemental or discriminating. These things should definitely be assessed to ensure proper patient care. If the person is competent than that is fine.

hmmm, I think the biggest issue, Alicia, is that you think these things constitute a "public interest that he/she not practice", when in reality you are only applying your own fears about these and projecting it to "my fears" = "the public interest". As was mentioned above, the fact that you made it thru school (and life) without killing or injuring someone, thru intention, negligence, lack of due diligence, whatever, demonstrates that you DONT have a physical/mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest to not practice.

Also you seem to be saying that if someone has any mental health dx then they should be "assessed to ensure proper patient care". Ummm, thats what they where doing while you were in school. And how do we handle those with possible un-dx'd mental health issues, like your own possible ADHD. I mean if you THINK you may have it, and havent sought dx and tx then aren't you comitting a gross negligence, since you seem to think this can cause such a serious compromise in pt care, but arent taking the steps to mitigate the risk?

And back to my TYPE 1 DM example, the law quoted here (pretty standard language in the US and Canada, and prob most anywhere) also says PHYSICAL, so does your line of reasoning lead to the conclusion that - Anyone with any medical dx be evaluated to see what risk they may present to pt's? or just the ones that scare Alicia?

It seems to me like Alicia's getting piled on here pretty hard. While I understand and agree with the general sentiment expressed in previous posts I'm not sure that it's fair to assume that Alicia is being insensitive to or prejudiced against people with mental illness. I have seen similar admission criteria on nursing program websites and I wonder what such a vague phrase as "...not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice..." really means. While I'm sure that equal opportunity human rights legislation offers protection against overt discrimination I wonder how much 'weeding out' actually occurs covertly during the admissions process under the auspices of such a vague guideline. Not to put words in anyone's mouth, but maybe trying to find out what such a vague admission criterion really means was Alicia's original intent. I'd be interested in knowing exactly what conditions such criteria preclude against too.

maybe trying to find out what such a vague admission criterion really means was Alicia's original intent. I'd be interested in knowing exactly what conditions such criteria preclude against too.

Thank you Chinook! You seem to be the only one who actually read any of my posts. I actually emailed the CNA on this subject and the response I got may surprise those of you who think that there are no regulations on a mental illness. I was told the exact same thing that is posted on the College website.

"graduates wishing to be registered will be asked by the College of Nurses of Ontario to sign a declaration of their status regarding not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice. An applicant for registration who does not meet one or more of these requirements must inform CNO and provide details about the incident or situation. The applicant will not be necessarily refused registration because CNO's Registration Committee will review information about the incident or situation to determine if an exemption from the requirement(s) will be granted. An applicant for registration, who does not inform CNO, may have the application for registration canceled, or any certification of registration which may have been issued revoked."

They informed me that this also applies to ADHD. All I wanted to know. This started out as simple curiosity from a student and has somehow turned into a ridiculous battle of prejudice and discrimination. I don't know how most of you derived that conclusion from my original post.

And as for your comments Balder- I'm not the only one saying that if someone has any mental health dx then they should be "assessed to ensure proper patient care", that's coming straight from the CNO. Are they wrong as well? But shouldn't you know this info as someone who had to sign a form stating they didn't have any disorders? And your "examples" are a little extreme don't you think? Now you're the one being judgmental of me, assuming I'm silly enough to think that way. And if you think mental health is not a serious issue, you are the one who is misinformed, because it is. Like I said, I've had first hand experience with it and there are some things I have gone through that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Maybe that's where my so called "discrimination" stems from. People can be completely competent and normal for years, and with the snap of a finger, they lose it. So don't try and tell me that people treat mental health issues like substance abuse or whatever you were going for there. But that is completely different from my initial question anyway!

To quote myself again, in case you didn't catch it the first time " I'm not looking to pass judgment or say that anyone is incapable, I'm just curious to know how situations where common mental health issues are looked at. "

But it doesn't matter anyway, I've learned not to ask simple questions to people who don't know the answer, it just upsets them. Next time I have a question I'll just go straight to the source, like I had to do anyway. The didn't jump down my throat, just gave me the answer I was looking for.

Thanks for all your help!:)

Edited by FutureRNontario

flyingchange

Specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research. Has 2+ years experience.

Hey, that's interesting - I stand corrected. I hope you didn't take my post offensively, I did go through the Act and didn't see anything like that from CARNA. I am curious if it applies to AB as well. Thank you for the update. Take care :)

CanuckLPN73

Has 2 years experience.

Just curious to how ADD or ADHD is a mental illness? From my understanding many have ADD or ADHD and are not treated as they have not been diagnosed, on that note I have heard that ADD and ADHD are over diagnosed as well..that the diagnose is thrown out at almost anyone.

That said, from talking to a councellor as one who has been diagnosed myself I understood it to not be a mentall illness as all that it is is not having the ability to keep ones attention on task (usually if that task bores them) and that there are many ways to overcome ADD/ADHD as well...

I dont know I guess I look at it as a Gift...not as an illness :)

(All the jobs Ive done ADD has not affected, though I do find it hard to stay on task in certain subjects, for example if Im taking a distance course, which is why I do better in class as I am able to stay on task)

Just curious to how ADD or ADHD is a mental illness?

I don't think it's an illness either. But it is a condition, just like eczema, acne or IBD for that matter. :) And I'm definitely not trying to put anyone down or single people out. I'm sure your great at your job! I was just curious.

CanuckLPN73

Has 2 years experience.

No ....I understand...

I thought your post was interesting and just cannot comprehend how ADD or ADHD is a mental illness as it is a attention deficit...

We were actually discussing mental illness in our class the other day....even depression is considered a mental illness and depression is something that many do suffer from (Ill be the first to admit to having depression)...

Our instructor said that when we take the mental health nursing next year we will be astonished at how many suffer from a mental illness...including nurses!!

I just thought this was an interesting topic :)

Gluteus Maximus

Specializes in Primary Care Nursing.

"graduates wishing to be registered will be asked by the College of Nurses of Ontario to sign a declaration of their status regarding not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice. An applicant for registration who does not meet one or more of these requirements must inform CNO and provide details about the incident or situation. The applicant will not be necessarily refused registration because CNO's Registration Committee will review information about the incident or situation to determine if an exemption from the requirement(s) will be granted. An applicant for registration, who does not inform CNO, may have the application for registration canceled, or any certification of registration which may have been issued revoked."

Whatever this declaration of status is, are they actually having new applicants to the CNO sign it? I never signed anything 6 years ago when I became licensed. And why bother with this at all if they aren't going to follow up yearly? I just renewed my registration online and nowhere was I asked to disclose such information, if applicable. Seems to be inconsistent at best.

It's meaningless anyway, the wording above states "not be suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it desirable in the public interest that he or she not practice" is very vague and subject to interpretation. A nurse may very well feel her "illness" as it were, is well managed and a non-issue so feel no need to disclose. Unlike a criminal conviction, it can't come back and bite you in the arse.

Considering that a large percentage of people that go postal and have psychotic breakdowns have no previous history of anything remotely resembling a mental illness seems to make this doctrine completely pointless.

Okay , Now it's my turn: I am an RN x almost 25 years , actively working in Nursing in Ontario for that entire time , and in the past 2 1/2 yrs. , and still on-going , I have been under investigation by the CNO for a Fitness to Practice issue , based on an Incapacity issue , because my employer of 2& 1/2 yrs ago , wrote a letter to the CNO , stating they had "concerns" about my "fitness to practice" , based on a so-called fact-finding(a.k.a. 'witchhunt') they conducted after they suspended me without cause .

They were annoyed by my so-called higher than average absenteeism ( for which I had supplied them doctor's notes ) , even thought there were other nursing staff members with higher absenteeism rates than mine . Hence , they wanted me to quit , & when I would not just 'quit' , they suspended me , then told me they were conducting an investigation on me ( would not elaborate as to why or about what , so I didn't actually find out 'why' I was suspended ...they said they didn't have to say ).

All of my problems with this employer , for whom I worked more than 11 years , seemed to begin when I : 1) challenged a new Nurse Manager who began to pick on me ( an RPN who had worked at our facility & whom on occasion I had supervised , without incident , who went back to school , got her RN Diploma , & returned as a manager , with something to prove , or a need for power ). and :2) when I was off for a 10 week LOA due to some issues with Clinical Depression & was opne & candid about it to the Nurse Management Team , wrongly assuming that since they were all RN's , they would show compassion & understanding to a Nurse with Depression. (WRONG!!)

Since then , I have been in this battle , with a lawyer provided by ONA , representing me , and my hearing with the CNO will be next month , after the CNO has already imposed interim restrictions on my licence , rendering me only able to work at my current place of employment until my hearing , and they may , at the hearing , decide to suspend my licence for a time , or permanently , for what reason ???....ALL based on information gathered on this witchhunt from such experst as a bunch of Health Care Aides/PSW's , Dietary Aides , a Ward Clerk , and a a couple of RPN's , most of whom I was their immeditae supervisor , and all of the info from these so-called reliable sources is based on rumour , hearsay , & the like ( example: it was rumoured that I was working as an escort/prostitute on the side , while employed there as an RN , and despite my informing my Nurse Manager that she needed to get to the bottom of this rumour , who started it , where it was coming from , the rumour was used as evidence of my having paranoia , problems coping , etc)..

My point?? The CNO , the governing & regulating body in Ontario where we all must obtain our licences , is so concerned with protecting the public ( and NOT you , the Nurse ) that they will go OVERboard in scrutinizing your entire private & personal life , once they get a whiff of ANY concern whatsoever from ANY employer .

Yes , it has been an experience I do not hope to ever have to go through again , and it is not over yet , not by a long-shot .

The CNO is akin to the Salem Withc Tribunals , Big Brother Watching YOU , and they weild an awful lot of power ...enough to make or break your career , for as long as they see fit , and all in the interest of protecting the public. Well , I have never had a drug or drinking problem , have never committed a crime or been convicted of same either , have never been violent , abusive , physically or verbally abusive with ANYone , let alone my patients/clients .

I have up to the present , had only positive feedback from my clients & their families , and my clinical practice has been such that not one employer has been able to find fault with it , YET the CNO is of the opinion that due to my openness about my clinical depression , I may be a danger to the public .

Go ahead & comment , as I am very interested in what you have to say . Supposedly we are living in an age in Canada where the Canadian Government is working to make strides in removing the "STIGMA" attached to Mental Illness . Not what I am finding . I have written to the Mental Health Commission of Canad for help in this matter , with no reply , as well as the Human Rights Commission , with the same lack of response .

So , as a soon to graduate RN , all I can say is be careful whom you judge , how you judge & consider how you yourself would feel to be scrutinized as I have been by our governing body & past employers , all of them Nurses themselves ..

i'm sure if you have done nothing wrong the cno will vote in your favour (or whatever it is that they do?). i'm just winging it here, but i'm sure that they are probably required to investigate you and your personal life after receiving a complaint such as the one they received from your employer - so they can determine if the accusations are true or not. there are similar boards/ rules for all public professions ie. police, doctors, paramedics, counselors etc. if there's nothing to find then everything will be fine. personally, i'm glad that there are people doing this job, it lets me feel better about the people who are caring for me when i am ill or hospitalized - but i do feel for you in the fact that you are going through this because of false accusations. if it is found that your employer was in the wrong, or went too far with minor issues, than i hope there are consequences for their actions.

good luck:)