Newly Diagnosed And Unsure About Nursing School
Posted 09 September 2012 - 07:29 PM
I took my GRE and applied to graduate school to get my masters in speech pathology right in the middle of my lowest health and subsequently did not do too well. I applied because I felt I needed to do something with my life and SLPA jobs are far and few between, and I can't do much else with my major. I have always wanted to help others and love learning so I have been looking at second-degree bachelor of nursing programs. I have spoken with faculty at a program I am interested in but have reservations about how a student with narcolepsy will be perceived, and how other medical professionals will percieve an RN with this type of disorder. Thankfully I don't experience severe cataplexy, but I am nervous about the likelihood I'll be treated just as capable to do my job as other nurses. My best friend is a nurse and she seems to think it won't matter, but I just want to feel like I can do anything I put my mind to even though I may deal with a little more in my day than the average person.
I know this is a little long and rambly...but I would love to hear from other nurses or medical professionals- I know I've read there are a few here! How do you deal with your diagnosis and your job? Is there a stigma you face or do you feel accomodated? It bothers me to feel like a complainer about my symptoms because most people have no idea what it's like to have narcolepsy and it worries me to have to explain myself to people who might think I am not qualified to do this type of work. I would love any thoughts, advice, information that anyone has! Thanks : )
Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:51 AM
I am a current student, also recently diagnosed (May 2012) and I am hoping to apply for Nursing school within the next year. It is definitely daunting - although the schooling makes me more nervous than actually being an RN with Narcolepsy. Mostly because there is such a diversity within the field of nursing. You can work in a hospital, or in homes, or assisted living homes, nursing homes, behavioral health treatment centers, etc. There are so many options! Though I think that your location would be a consideration, as it would depend on which of these places are in your area. But the point is that there are so many different positions, with varying hours and shifts, big or small companies, or even private care employers who hire Nurses. I am sure that some of them would be a little wary of the Narcolepsy diagnosis, but I'm also sure that there are more open-minded employers as well.
The second factor, which I'm relatively unfamiliar with, is the Disabilities Act. Which from what I've heard, does include Narcolepsy. Basically it can protect you as an employee, because of your disability, Narcolepsy. It enables you to receive reasonable accommodations. This has, from what I've heard, also been a setback for some, though.
But I believe that if you've come this far, with a Bachelors in four years (congratulations!) that you would be fine! Just be sure to keep up to date with information regarding your rights as an employee with a disability, and monitoring your medication and what your limitations are. But as long as you stay on top of your Narcolepsy, and recognize that while it can be difficult at times, it is not something that defines you. Even though I know from experience that at times it does appear that way.
Anyway. I wish you the best of luck!
Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:13 AM
I am on these boards not as a PWN but as the mother of a PWN. I am an RN however with 28 years of experience.
Being a nurse with Narcolepsy wouldn't bother me, you would bring a different perspective to your career then someone else. Different perspectives should be encouraged and welcome.
A lot of your success would depend on your ultimate choice of employment. I work in an ICU and as long as you can do your work I could care less what you have. We help those who need help, a patient may all of a sudden need more care and we willingly pick up and help the person/RN who needs it. However if my employer did not make specific plans for your needs and expected others to continually pick up when you need to nap in addition to their work, that might be a different story. But then my anger would be directed at my employer not you.
An analogy - we had a nurse out several times with a back injury. She was returned to work but couldn't do any lifting above 15 pounds. Which meant the rest of us could not ask her for help with our patients, and always had to pick the heavier patients. After some time this did cause resentment among her peers, but it was directed mopre at administration who thought it ok to put all of us in this situation.
There are lots of different places for RN's. I am sure you can be successful and I would encourage you to continue with this endeavor.
Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:58 PM
Great that you made it through for your Bachelors with N! I'm back in school and taking it slow, but I'm hoping to go for nursing too.
My sleep doctor said that we need jobs that keep us on our toes- up and moving- and that the worst job to have is a desk job when you are on a computer all day.
Guess what type of job I have now? Yup, that's right, a desk job that is ALL computer work with little interaction with people except for over the phone. I'm looking for other positions but also furthering my education so that I can obtain secure employment without falling asleep at my desk constantly.
FMLA is something you should apply for- it protects your job if you are having a bad day and can't make it to work or need to leave work due to N. Unfortunately I have not been at my job for quite 12 months (got laid off from my last job due to lack of work in October 2011) and you have to work for 12 months to qualify. SO for the next two months my coworkers and my boss are hopefully going to be understanding of my situation- because I get so lethargic I'm just terrible at staying on track, I also fall asleep and forget what I was doing- so that does not help anything!
Any job where you are on your feet and working with people face to face to get more stimulation is a good bet- and it sounds like you would be a great RN!!! Good luck!!
Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:55 PM
My only worry is that I will be the only one pushing, and it's exhausting just thinking about how exhausting an accelerated nursing program will be. This forum is great and even when you aren't directly asking anything it really feels like a friendly conversation where you can vent just through reading other's experiences. My family and friends are supportive of me but sometimes I feel like I try to express what narcolepsy is like and I just get the "uh huh...yup" head nods, which is not always encouraging and leaves you alone in your daydreams-mood lightening pun intended. I want to be Taylor the RN who assisted the cochlear implant surgery who happens to have N, not that girl with narcolepsy who happens to be a nurse. With my speech pathology background I would love to work in an ENT, otolaryngology or pediatric area and I can't help but feel drawn to heal other people and become too busy to dwell on my own issues. This is definitely the path I want to take, and I appreciate the comments everyone left. A little encouragement goes along way! KMitchell25 and exanimo, keep pushing toward nursing! With a solid schedule, treatment that works for you, and a few deep breaths (and maybe a nap) I think we can all achieve what we're hoping to!!
Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:16 PM
In my particular program the instructors try really hard to be interactive and none of the will lecture for over a 50 minute period without a break. They are also sending us out to look for various things and trying to stress us out to prepare us so it is actually a little hard to fall asleep. Most of the students in my program are so stressed they are on something to calm them down, with the exception of me of course! I am not really worried about when I become a nurse because that is a job that you can always find something to do to occupy your time and most of the time you barely have enough time to get most stuff done, especially in a hospital. I also don't plan on telling anyone unless someone notices odd behavior and asks about it.
Posted 19 September 2012 - 01:45 PM
Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:42 PM
My other big suggestion: tell your classmates! All four of my classmates knew, and two of them in particular would discreetly tap my arm or my leg when they saw me nodding off during class. It helped tremendously and I don't think they will ever understand how much they saved me during school.
As far as the school work goes, take frequent dance breaks and make sure you exercise. Those helped me a lot. I would also buy colored pens to draw out my notes in (especially during embryology) because constantly switching pens kept me awake. I also agree with recording lecturers if your program doesn't already do that. Thankfully, ours did and it was a life saver. Keep snacks with you in class, too. Just nommin' on something helped me sometimes to stay awake.
One thing I can tell you is, just because you have narcolepsy doesn't mean people will think of you as the nurse with N. I can attest to that, but in a different way. I work my ass off, and I truly feel like working in the medical field is one of the best areas for N because you're (for the most part) constantly moving. In my profession, I constantly talk and move. But during the few times where I'm sitting and not talking, that obviously hits hard. I have told my bosses and some coworkers though, so they understand if suddenly I just need to walk downstairs to get coffee or just walk around in general. Actually, today one of the MFMs of our practice found out for the first time I have N. His response? "Oh, really?" and we talked about how both myself and his friend with N mainly have the sleepiness issue and not cataplexy. And that was it.
So long story short, don't let this stop your dream! If anything, I think us in the medical field are in a way more fortunate because more people are likely to be understanding of N.
I hope this helps!!
Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:24 AM
It makes me feel a lot more comfortable that I met with her before applying and hearing how hopeful she was that I could thrive in this program. I don't like to make excuses about N, but there is no way around the fact that sometimes we just need a little more planning to get through our days, especially in a school situation. I'll keep everyone posted on how the next couple of weeks turn out : )
Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:08 PM
Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:39 PM
Any suggestions and recomendations would be appreciatede. Thanks to everyone reading my post.