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Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

Will having HD in my family affect my chances of becoming a nurse

HDYO has more information about HD available for young people, parents and professionals on our site:

www.hdyo.org

Q. My mother has huntingtons disease I don’t want to be tested for it but I want to become a nurse will it affect my chances of becoming a nurse?

Sophie, 16, UK

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A. Hi Sophie,

Thanks for your email to HDYO. I’m sorry to hear that your mum has Huntington’s disease. It’s absolutely fine not to want to be tested and there is no reason why you should not go on and train to be a nurse if that is what you want to do. I’m very glad you brought up the question of family history and jobs Sophie, as it has been raised before here as a concern. We would really support young people to follow their ambitions and certainly not to feel under pressure from anyone else to be tested.

In terms of getting started, as far as I am aware the army is the only career in the UK that may be difficult to enter with a family history of HD. I do, however, also know of a few young adults at risk of HD who are currently serving in the army. For a career in nursing it is unlikely that occupational health will ask much about family history as the main focus of questions relate mainly to current health status and fitness to do the job.

It’s not often discussed, but young people at risk of HD may actually have more to offer their chosen career for example through their life experiences and understanding of the way illness and difficulties (not necessarily HD related) may affect the family. I wish you all the best in your studies to do nursing Sophie – let us know how you get on!

Rhona MacLeod