Saturday, 31 December 2011

AS and nursing

Since being diagnosed with aspergers syndrome when i was 15 i have always said that i would never use it as a excuse or let it prevent me from doing anything i really wanted to do. i was diagnosed half way through my second year of gcse's. having had a very tough few years in secondary school and a tough home life being diagnosed came as a great relief and also provided a lot of answers. 

Around this period of time i was constantly being told by teachers that i would never amount to anything and i should put more effort in. at one point they didn't accept my coursework as i couldn't possibly have done it as i was never in school to learn the work, Truth be told i was of school as it was taking me so long to do the coursework as i was a tad obsessed about doing it properly. despite only attending school for 10 days my last term of gcses, I amazingly got mainly A's and B's. therefore i went onto do A-levels, during this time My attendance greatly improved, and 2 years later i began university. which its self presented many challenges but 3 years later i qualified as a children's nurse.

which brings me to the the last blog post. to weeks after that post i had a interview with a major hospital for a medical ward, the interview its self went well, better than the previous two i had had where i was offered jobs however at the end of this one i was asked do you have a disability as defined by the disability act etc, which of course i answered yes due to the aspergers but then went on to explain how it effects me and how i have found it affects my nursing and all the positive aspects it brings as well. however at the end of the day i got a phone call.

" no one with autism of any form could ever be a nurse. its not a suitable job, as I'd understand from my training nursing requires good communication and social skills and as your autistic you will not have this ability to be a nurse. therefore we are unable to offer you a job and perhaps you should return to speak to your university disability adviser to perhaps change profession"

the person on the other end of the phone pretty much ended the conversation there.

apart from being outright discrimination from a employer who displays the double tick syndrome, i left me with mixed emotions as for the first time i had someone telling me No because of AS.  i personally think aspergers syndrome can offer a lot to nursing practise. for example the great attention to detail, problem solving, quick thinkers and also the ability to relate to patients who also have such a syndrome, Yes the social communication part can be an issue but i haven't personally found it to be the case having experienced little to none problems within the nursing environment. as over the years i have developed skills in order to combat these issues. A few weeks later i had a group interview in which they were looking at social and communication skills, in the hospital i trained in and managed to successfully be offered a job/ And here i am more than one year later still in the same job and couldn't think of anything I'd rater be doing.

Aspergers Syndrome should never prevent you from doing anything you really want to do.


  1. I'm also a nurse who has AS and I think that what happened to you is despicable and shows ignorance about what AS is, and what potential people with it can have. I have never told anyone at work or my employer about my AS. As far as I'm concerned they don't need to know. I'm just known as someone who doesn't chit-chat a lot and that's not a problem that affects my work.

    Congratulations on finding a place you enjoy working in. It's not the ideal profession for a lot of people on the spectrum but people forget that we are not all identical. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately we have to declare any health issues and disabilities to our employers but tis usually only to the occupational health department and not during interview to prevent against this sort of discrimination. This employer displays the double tick symbol [uk’s 'positive about disabled people symbol] on their paperwork and website but from personal experience of them they don’t support this statement in practise. unfortunatly i have found poeple have an idea of how AS / Autism affects one perosn and expect everyone to be the same not realising we are all unique!