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Depression, nurses and licensing worries

Nurses in Texas can lose their nursing licenses for a multitude of reasons, one of which includes bad behavior. However, some worry about whether episodes of depression may put their license at risk. That worry may cause some to avoid seeking the treatment they need.

MinorityNurse.com reports that the nursing profession is in the midst of an epidemic of depression. Nurses are more likely to suffer from depression than those in other professions, by twofold. Fewer than 10 percent of the public, in general, suffers from symptoms of depression. However, nearly 20 percent of those in the nursing profession suffer effects.

The secrecy of depression among nurses

Moreover, it is a very secretive suffering. Nurses fear revealing their depression, if they even recognize the problem. Many have concerns that others will perceive them to be insufficiently trustworthy with patients. Others have tremendous difficulty recognizing they need mental health care. This may be because of their role as the caretaker of others and the impossibility of the relationship reversing itself.

The causes of depression in nursing

Yet, some argue the profession of nursing itself contributes significantly to this higher incidence of depressive mental illness in nurses. The working atmosphere is often one of survival of the fittest. This leads to nurses commonly and constantly feeling that they are under a great burden of tension. Such tension leads to anxiety and depression.

Some nurses feel tremendous pride that they have worked through many major human traumas and came out on the other side whole. Others who experienced similar traumas, feel less pride and more anxiety and stress. They then feel less able than their smiling counterparts who do not appear to have experienced the same kind of emotional beating. This disparity can then lead to depression or increase symptoms of existing depression.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative study noted that certain factors tended to influence the incidence of depression in nurses, including the following:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Mental well-being
  • Family problems
  • Body mass index

Because mental illness can, but not always, cause licensing issues, nurses understandably have concerns. Section 213.29. of the Texas Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations discusses criteria that may implicate a nurse’s qualifications to obtain or renew a license. It also provides for how a nurse may establish that he or she maintains fitness to practice despite a history of mental illness.