I am creating this blog because when I chose to go into nursing, there were no online resources or support systems for someone with Aspergers becoming a nurse. There certainly were no online resources for someone middle aged with learning disabilities, Aspergers, a high IQ score, a genuine love of caring for other, and low self esteem from not fitting in and only being diagnosed a few years back. Try typing in Aspie RN and see what comes up. Nothing, Zip, Nada. You can get Aspie stuff, or Nurse stuff, but not Aspie Nurse stuff. I want to change that.
If you tell someone you are an Aspie and want to go into nursing, you will be discouraged, and it will be suggested that you work with things not people, such as a code writer, a librarian working in the background stocking books, or the like. It is because of the MYTH of Aspies not having emotional intelligence,and being incapable of empathy. Nothing could be further from the truth, at least for me. I have emotional intelligence, and am fully capable of empathy, and can socialize with purpose. This is an important distinction to make, as I am socially awkward. There is no getting around that. I have learned to use words to find out what I cannot discern otherwise. I have learned to recognize most peoples signs of illness, pain, sadness, anger, through decades of being a CNA, and have learned to use humor in small scripted ways to make day to day nursing smoother… Such as “oops! Let me clean my hands before helping you with that…don;t want to give you a gift that keeps on giving!” just small comments here and there that usually will elicit a smile from my patients.
I want to change your perceptions, and give you what I wish I had had as a student, and as a new nurse. If you genuinely love taking care of people, Nursing is a good fit. It will be overwhelming at times, and the first few years are rough, but they are for neurotypicals as well. I will tell you this much…Aspie or Neurotypical, Nursing school gives you a ton of information, and yet when you graduate and pass your NCLEX, and land that interview and sign on with your first job as a new nurse, you are now just ready to start climbing the mountain that will become your nursing practice. You are now ready to learn that you know almost nothing, and you must rely on your preceptor and more experienced
nurses to help you do right by your patients. At the one year mark and two year mark, you will see the differences in where you were and where you are, but there will still be so much more to learn. You will become a new and stronger version of yourself, doing what you never knew you were capable of. You will need that aspie stubborn streak, to get you through though. There will be times where you will cry, and times when you will meltdown. Know this, and also know you work with people who went into this field because they love caring for others too, and they will support you just as you will support them. You will get past being overwhelmed, you will still cry and laugh about your patients, but it will be be ok. You will be ok.