Nurses with Aspergers, how do you cope?

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Dreamsea
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15 Nov 2015, 12:41 pm

I've been a nurse for several years now and I still struggle. I've had 3 different jobs so far and am starting a 4th one in a few weeks. I typically don't fit in socially with my co workers but am able to do my job well enough that I rarely ever recieve patient complaints.

Nursing is a very social job. I find that those with great social skills typically thrive in this field. I've seen nurses that are mediocre at best thrive in this field because their social skills are amazing. My main way of coping is by working as few days as possible. I'll be working only 2-3 eight hour shifts a week at this new job. I've noticed that working more than 3 eight hour shifts a week is detrimental to my overall well being, both physical and mental.

I'm known by my co workers as being in my own little world. Some even accuse me of ignoring them and being only focused on my patients. I don't purposely try to do this. Some co workers boss me around, talk to me like I'm a child, or even yell at me. Some laugh at my awkwardness.

Recently, I've realized how my lack of involvement in office politics has hindered me in some ways. Sadly, it's not always how good you are at your job but how well liked you are. Luckily, most of my bosses have seemed to like me even though I'm not generally well liked by my co workers. I've encountered a hand full of co workers over the years that liked me and my work and accepted my "weirdness".

Overall, I find this job very, very draining. I'm thrilled about cutting my hours down in a few weeks. Now, I'm working 3-4 eight hour days a week and the 4 days are very rough on me. I work straight nights, too. I purposely chose nights so that I wouldn't have to interact with many people, but nights doesn't agree with my circadian rhythm.

I wouldn't recommend nursing to someone with Aspergers. This job relies too much on interacting with others. Also, it can be overly stimulating with so many things going on at once. It's unpredictable, too.



ok
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15 Nov 2015, 3:19 pm

...But you are doing an amazing job and you are helping other people. All nurses are heroes! Even a hard working autistic nurse! :)

I hope that cheers you up. Nursing and hospitals are really stressful, I give you that. I can't say I know anything about it, but even a mediocre or stressed out nurse can do a great job.

In my experience with "social work" i.e. listening to other people, I try not to blame myself for not listening. You don't need to be strongly detail oriented when taking orders from doctors or other nurses - just smile and try to remember the most important parts.

You're getting yelled at, and it's really mean by them. Try to find support by a fellow nurse. Or yell back, if you dare.

Best wishes for you. And thank you - as I've been hospitalized a few times and always came out stronger afterwards. Thanks to good people like you.



Brittniejoy1983
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24 Nov 2015, 11:12 pm

No tips, been unemployed for almost 4 years. Every application is turned down, and now, with a four year gap in work history, I really can't seem to get a job. I was fired from my last job because I just didn't 'fit'. :eyeroll:

But when I was working, I did my job. I gravitate towards night shifts as well. I will admit that then, that was all I did. I slept longer during the day, and slept most of my days off. It was completely draining, and did cause health problems. So I didn't cope well. I ended up getting pneumonia, and got fired while sick. I 'mysteriously' healed within a couple days.

I wish now that I never went into this field, but I'm stuck here now. There isn't really anything else I can do. I'm just an LPN though, so it isn't like I'm likely to find another position now.

So lots of commiseration. No solutions.


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cathylynn
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24 Nov 2015, 11:26 pm

i'm only in nursing school, but when i practiced medicine, a similarly social situation. i found that three twelve hour shifts per week, each separated by a day, worked well for me. i enjoyed the work, even though my introversion and other stuff made it draining. it's great to be able to help folks. it makes life worthwhile.

can you get your shifts separated, dreamsea?



nurseangela
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24 Nov 2015, 11:59 pm

Brittniejoy1983 wrote:
No tips, been unemployed for almost 4 years. Every application is turned down, and now, with a four year gap in work history, I really can't seem to get a job. I was fired from my last job because I just didn't 'fit'. :eyeroll:

But when I was working, I did my job. I gravitate towards night shifts as well. I will admit that then, that was all I did. I slept longer during the day, and slept most of my days off. It was completely draining, and did cause health problems. So I didn't cope well. I ended up getting pneumonia, and got fired while sick. I 'mysteriously' healed within a couple days.

I wish now that I never went into this field, but I'm stuck here now. There isn't really anything else I can do. I'm just an LPN though, so it isn't like I'm likely to find another position now.

So lots of commiseration. No solutions.


Howdy. My friend Julia is an LPN and she works nights doing home health so she stays at one house with just one patient. She's even been able to take naps, read - she loves it. She's done both children and adults, but prefers children. She's vent certified so she's in demand and gets paid well. You might look into something like that - tons quieter than hospitals or old folks homes.


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Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 83 of 200
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Brittniejoy1983
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25 Nov 2015, 12:34 am

nurseangela wrote:
Brittniejoy1983 wrote:
No tips, been unemployed for almost 4 years. Every application is turned down, and now, with a four year gap in work history, I really can't seem to get a job. I was fired from my last job because I just didn't 'fit'. :eyeroll:

But when I was working, I did my job. I gravitate towards night shifts as well. I will admit that then, that was all I did. I slept longer during the day, and slept most of my days off. It was completely draining, and did cause health problems. So I didn't cope well. I ended up getting pneumonia, and got fired while sick. I 'mysteriously' healed within a couple days.

I wish now that I never went into this field, but I'm stuck here now. There isn't really anything else I can do. I'm just an LPN though, so it isn't like I'm likely to find another position now.

So lots of commiseration. No solutions.


Howdy. My friend Julia is an LPN and she works nights doing home health so she stays at one house with just one patient. She's even been able to take naps, read - she loves it. She's done both children and adults, but prefers children. She's vent certified so she's in demand and gets paid well. You might look into something like that - tons quieter than hospitals or old folks homes.



I have. Unfortunately, that last job was my first out of nursing school, and I only worked there for 2 1/2 months. No homecare place will take me because I don't have the required 6 months or more experience. People have told me to lie, or fudge my resume, since I HAVE worked home care for plenty people not as a nurse, but I don't do that. I can't do that. I've tried, and it doesn't work.


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Brittniejoy1983
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25 Nov 2015, 12:36 am

Plus I REALLY fail at making resumes, selling myself, and doing interviews.


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Dreamsea
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27 Nov 2015, 4:36 pm

Thank you, ok.

kathylynn, I'm starting a new job next week working only 2-3 eight hour shifts a week. Hopefully, they space them out.



Dreamsea
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27 Nov 2015, 4:39 pm

Thank you all for the responses.

Sorry about misspelling your name, cathylynn.



Dreamsea
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29 Nov 2015, 8:36 pm

I start the new job tomorrow and am so scared. This is my 4th job within these past few years. I'm dreading this.



Dreamsea
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02 Dec 2015, 2:34 am

After two days of orientation I'm not sure I want this job. I'm trying to avoid going on disability but I'm wondering would that be my best choice at this point?



nurseangela
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02 Dec 2015, 6:54 am

What do you not like about it?


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probly.an.aspie
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02 Dec 2015, 7:28 am

I am not a nurse; but i worked as a nurse's aide years ago, before i knew about aspergers and in retrospect, i can see that most of my job difficulties were due to my aspie traits. The first place i worked was a small-town nursing home where everyone knew everyone and politics were as important to the job as the patients. (Shouldn't have been that way, but it was.) I just didn't fit in with my coworkers at all.

Second job was in an urban area, a large rehab facility where i worked flex so i got to know all the units. With a small town background, I had a...uh, shall we say, "more energetic and diligent work ethic" than many of the other aides. At the time, the facility had some major staffing issues and often filled slots with people from an outside agency. Some were good but a lot of them were just there for the paycheck. I have worked with some great people from an urban background--please don't think i am saying city people are lazy--but i was a farmer's wife and my threshold for hard work was just a lot higher than most of the people i worked with. This was where i stood out--because i was willing to do the hard work, my coworkers liked me. They knew that my part of the job would be done and done well barring any circumstances beyond my control.

My patients generally liked me because i cared about them and was good at my job. Because i worked flex, i rotated around the different units and avoided most of the cliques and politics. It was not without stress--it took time to learn how each unit worked and memorize the routines, but being able to rotate on the different units was the best fit for me for a nursing type job. And though there were always the variables in the job, it was basically a controlled environment.

I had about 10 years where i stayed home with my kids but am now back to work. I do private duty home health now--i was hired directly by the family of an elderly lady, rather than going through an agency. i did meet with the family for an interview, but it was rather informal and not intimidating at all.

There are several ladies in our area who don't have nursing degrees but do in-home care for elderly (basically as a nurse's aide-type job description). They are usually in demand and hired directly by the families rather than through agencies. They have built their reputations by word-of-mouth. Is something similar an option for you? For my current job, I don't make as much $$ as if i had a nursing degree, and there are some things i can't do that are outside my training. But it is a job with a paycheck and i like my patient and her family.


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kraftiekortie
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02 Dec 2015, 8:52 am

I truly hope you don't give up being a nurse.

As long as you're kind to your patients, who cares how you relate to your fellow nurses? (you should be friendly and professional at all times, though).

Patients count more than colleagues. Patients need nurturance and care. They need kind, decent nurses.



Brittniejoy1983
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02 Dec 2015, 11:29 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I truly hope you don't give up being a nurse.

As long as you're kind to your patients, who cares how you relate to your fellow nurses? (you should be friendly and professional at all times, though).

Patients count more than colleagues. Patients need nurturance and care. They need kind, decent nurses.



Unfortunately, nursing is one of those fields where your work performance doesn't mean anything unless it is negligent. You can be a fantastic nurse, who is well loved by patients, and still fired because your associates don't like you. Hell, you can be loved by your support staff and coworkers on your SHIFT, and if the other shift workers don't like you, you can STILL be fired for not fitting in, while being told that you are a fantastic nurse.

Take a WILD guess how I know?


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probly.an.aspie
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02 Dec 2015, 2:21 pm

Brittniejoy1983 wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
I truly hope you don't give up being a nurse.

As long as you're kind to your patients, who cares how you relate to your fellow nurses? (you should be friendly and professional at all times, though).

Patients count more than colleagues. Patients need nurturance and care. They need kind, decent nurses.



Unfortunately, nursing is one of those fields where your work performance doesn't mean anything unless it is negligent. You can be a fantastic nurse, who is well loved by patients, and still fired because your associates don't like you. Hell, you can be loved by your support staff and coworkers on your SHIFT, and if the other shift workers don't like you, you can STILL be fired for not fitting in, while being told that you are a fantastic nurse.

Take a WILD guess how I know?


Aww, i'm so sorry.

I do know this--as an aspie, i am in a position to help people that NT providers have a harder time understanding. Case in point: i volunteer w/ local emergency medical services and recently dealt with a difficult head injured patient who was giving us a bit of a hard time. (His anxiety pattern and manner screamed "aspie" btw, as well.) He was very confused and agitated, but, knowing what would help me if i were in his shoes, I was able to get through to him enough to get him to calm down enough to cooperate with what we needed to do-- reassuring him that we were taking good care of him, going to get him help, etc.

Another of our volunteers--who means well, and is very competent in skills-- but doesn't deal well with anxious patients--was also helping to get our pt into the ambulance, get vitals, etc. Pt was truly frightened, and started "flipping out" again (for lack of better term) and said, "But you don't understand!! I'm an atheist! I don't wanna die, I'm afraid!!" (No matter what your religious views, this was not the time to go into atheism vs. religion.) As our pt was getting more agitated, instead of being reassuring, my co-volunteer dryly interjected in undisguised irritation, "Well, G___, you're not going to die tonight, so you can just calm down already." Needless to say, this did not do anything helpful.

As i said, this volunteer is totally competent and i would trust him to care for me or anyone i love, skill-wise. But not good with aspies and other anxious people. He is not your aspie whisperer or go-to person for any other kind of mental health emergency. (We did get pt transported and he did not die that night--actually saw him today and he is fully recovered.)

All this to say that i think the health care profession needs aspies too. Only you are in a position to know if you can handle the stress. My volunteering goes with how much i am able to handle. Sometimes i go months without taking a call; sometimes i take several in a week.

That is also why i think home health or private duty would possibly be better for you than on a floor or shift where you have a lot of politics and the popularity contest results are part of your performance report.

What about hospice? Aspies tend to be very compassionate and calm in the face of crisis.

I can see both sides--why you would want to quit, but I also see why someone with your qualities and talents is a good asset to the nursing profession if you can find a position that is more suited to you.


_________________
"Them that don't know him don't like him,
and them that do sometimes don't know how to take him;
He ain't wrong, he's just different,
and his pride won't let him
do things to make you think he's right."
-Ed Bruce