Are you aware of how you conduct yourself in public?

  1. 2 Hello
    I was wondering if as nurses, if you are aware of how you conduct yourself in public?

    I run into prior patients and family members all of the time, of which I never say hi unless they say hi first due to HIPAA and I live in a pretty large city too.
    We work very hard and deserve to go out and have a good time, but I think we need to be careful on how we conduct ourselves. Does anyone else agree?

    Case in point:
    A nurse who I will call E was out one night. E got totally drunk, knowing he had to work the next day at 7am-7pm. He was at a bar and almost got into a bar brawl with another group of individuals. When E showed up for work he was very hungover. E then went into his patients rooms and found out that one of them was a guy/girl that was involved in the "almost bar brawl" with appendicitis. The patient did not want E to care for him/her, not because of the brawl, but because he knew how drunk E got the night before. The patient went on to tell the story to the nurse that was taking over his/her care and was saying things like "how could E go out and get so drunk the night before he had to work?"

    Putting this story aside....
    Has anyone changed how they are in public?
    Has anyone had a situation in where they ran into a former patient?
  2. Visit  rkitty198 profile page

    About rkitty198

    From 'Seattle'; Joined Feb '08; Posts: 346; Likes: 392.

    86 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  firstyearstudent profile page
    4
    Heh, heh. No I haven't changed how I conduct myself in public because I am a nurse, but interestingly enough, becoming a nurse (this is a second career for me) was part of a whole lifestyle change that including stopping all the hard partying (drinking, drugs, promiscuity) and settling down, starting a family and becoming a responsible citizen.

    After 15 years of drinking, including a few bar brawls, that lifestyle is so unappealing to me. Taking my mother in law to the motor vehicle administration to renew her license sounds more fun than downing a few at the local watering hole. Yuuuch.

    I think nurses should conduct themselves responsibly in public, especially if they live in a small city or travel in small circles. And if they can't do that, there is always Vegas (or Atlantic City or ClubMed or wherever)... It's always best to be anonymous when you're cutting a little too loose.

    Partying hard before a shift is just stupid and irresponsible.
  4. Visit  sbyramRN profile page
    14
    I think the main problem is him showing up to work "hungover". I would bet that he is still intoxicated.
  5. Visit  rkitty198 profile page
    0
    Quote from sbyramRN
    I think the main problem is him showing up to work "hungover". I would bet that he is still intoxicated.
    Actually I agree!

    I am 29 and since nursing school I have really thought about what I would rather do in my free time. I just see so many nurses getting together after a rough day and having a few beers, and then go to work the next day. I just could not do it, not when you get out of work at 8pm, get home around 11 and get up at 5:30 again.
  6. Visit  Roy Fokker profile page
    29
    Quote from rkitty198
    I run into prior patients and family members all of the time, of which I never say hi unless they say hi first due to HIPAA and I live in a pretty large city too.
    What the deuce does has HIPAA have to do with anything? Are you divulging private information by saying "Hi"? "Are you violating privacy when your former patient greets you in the supermarket and exclaims to their family member: "This is the nurse I always told you about! You remember, the one who took such good care of me when I had appendicitis?"

    How are you violating HIPAA by asking a former patient "Mr. Smith! So good to see you!! Are you feeling better? Are you doing ok?"
    Or upon meeting the family member of a terminaly ill patient "Mrs. Smith. How is Mr. Smith doing? I do hope he's feeling better."

    HIPAA doesn't mean "you can't talk about patients, period."
    HIPAA simply states you can't talk about patients to "unauthorised" people - e.g. Your mailman, the clerk at your bank, the check out lady at WalMart etc.

    Unless said "family member" was on the "unauthorized list" - I fail to see how HIPAA would be a factor.

    Quote from rkitty198
    We work very hard and deserve to go out and have a good time, but I think we need to be careful on how we conduct ourselves. Does anyone else agree?
    Conduct ourselves as a "nurse" or as a "human being"?

    The former has only so much leeway as to what your professional practice acts say is 'acceptable' for your individual State.

    The latter has no bearing on you as a nurse at all...

    Quote from rkitty198
    A nurse who I will call E was out one night. E got totally drunk, knowing he had to work the next day at 7am-7pm. He was at a bar and almost got into a bar brawl with another group of individuals. When E showed up for work he was very hungover. E then went into his patients rooms and found out that one of them was a guy/girl that was involved in the "almost bar brawl" with appendicitis. The patient did not want E to care for him/her, not because of the brawl, but because he knew how drunk E got the night before. The patient went on to tell the story to the nurse that was taking over his/her care and was saying things like "how could E go out and get so drunk the night before he had to work?"
    * E was allowed to work, despite E being 'very hungover'?!!! (emphasis mine)
    Did no other staff member spot this when E showed up to work?!!! On a person who was "very hungover"???(emphasis mine)

    * The pt. had every right to be concerned about E - brawl or otherwise. Morever, pt. reporting his/her concerns to another nurse was valid as well.

    Quote from rkitty198
    Has anyone changed how they are in public?
    * I don't tell people I'm a nurse.
    * If I do tell people I'm a nurse, I usually don't tell them what hospital/unit I'm working at. (e.g. I'd say something like "I work for one of the major hospitals in Illinois")
    * As to your question regarding "has anyone changed how they are in public" - I haven't.

    Nursing is my profession.
    It is not my life.

    Quote from rkitty198
    Has anyone had a situation in where they ran into a former patient?
    Yes.
    Plenty of times.

    I've had my bar tab paid in full, unbeknowst to me; thanks to a greatful patient (who I didn't even recognize. Turns out it was a patient I'd taken care of months ago when she was in for a chole).

    I've had the daughter of a former patient (who passed away - may he rest in peace) grab my hands and sob hysterically on her knees as we were in the local supermarket, while she thanked me for the care I provided for her Father while he was under my care.

    I've had the family (the Husband) of a patient I took care of many months ago, approach me in a bar. And his way of thanks was to tell the bartender and Manager that I had 'no bills here anymore. Period.' I didn't know till that day that my patient's husband owned the bar! No amount of "it's ok. I was just doing my job" helped....

    Not too long ago, I was involved with stabilising a pt. with an acute MI before pt. was shipped over to Cath Lab. I didn't think twice about it at that time ... but his wife made sure I did. No matter how much I tried to say that it was just "part of my job and obligation", she responded in kind.
    As a result, anyone working my shift gets a discount at their (pts./wifes) restaurant.

    They are but some of the few stories I could tell.


    Wonder what part of HIPAA I violated in the process....

    cheers,
  7. Visit  morte profile page
    8
    roy, certain, small areas of healthcare, employees are taught not to "recognize" a patient if they run into ea other....because the simple knowledge that the person was in that setting, would be a hipaa violation, this actualy existed well before hipaa.......
    Cindy-san, stellina615, Smitty08, and 5 others like this.
  8. Visit  Roy Fokker profile page
    0
    Quote from morte
    roy, certain, small areas of healthcare, employees are taught not to "recognize" a patient if they run into ea other....because the simple knowledge that the person was in that setting, would be a hipaa violation, this actualy existed well before hipaa.......
    Yes, I'm aware of those.

    I'm just not sure how that applies to the OP (especially given the exmaple).

    cheers,
  9. Visit  BosNsgStudent profile page
    14
    Roy- yes, asking someone how they or a family member is doing in public is a privacy violation. Practice says to wait until they say hi to you first- otherwise acknowledging that someone was a patient could be giving information to people they are with or people in the surrounding area that the patient did not want others to know (ie. that they were a patient, sick, whatever, in the first place).
    psalm, Cindy-san, Ahhphoey, and 11 others like this.
  10. Visit  oramar profile page
    0
    I heard that anyone can report you to the BON. If a patient knows you were drunk and disorderly the night before and that is enough to make them nervous about the care they might receive they could file a complaint.
  11. Visit  NurseWannabe1129 profile page
    0
    I'm not a nurse yet.. But even as a student I have (for the better) changed my lifestyle. It was something that was due and getting started in nursing just helped to foster it.

    I'm not saying I don't go out at all. But to go out and party before a long shift where peoples' lives are in your hand is irresponsible. I won't even go out for drinks the day before I work in my current job.. and that's bartending!!!!
  12. Visit  nrsggirl23 profile page
    0
    I am currently a nursing student. I never really thought about how I conduct myself in public before reading your post. I do think that it is very important thing to reflect on considering our profession.
  13. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    8
    All the more reason I'm glad my bar-hopping days were over before I became a nurse..

    Of course, I have other ways of being silly and having fun that don't embarrass me or compromise my reputation as a nurse (yes, I live in a small city where everybody knows everybody else). Just the other day, I happened to espy a boxful of Hula Hoops at Fred Meyer, and before I thought about it I was trying one out right there in the middle of the aisle! My teenaged son made himself scarce while I was trying to get the thing in motion (I couldn't figure out why it was so hard, until I realized it's been 40 years since I was the sixth grade "champeen" Hula Hooper) but another shopper, a woman whose mother is in my nursing home, spotted me and said "I love to see people having a good time!"

    I have also been known to break into spontaneous hip-hop-style dancing in the local Zumiez, and fencing with plastic swords while shopping with my sister in the Halloween store. Yep, I'm a wild woman........and the fact that I'm also a nurse doesn't really enter my mind when the mood strikes me to do something outrageous in public.
    CBsMommy, tishirajan, casi, and 5 others like this.
  14. Visit  rkitty198 profile page
    1
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    Yes, I'm aware of those.

    I'm just not sure how that applies to the OP (especially given the exmaple).

    cheers,
    Roy-

    Bosnsgstudent must have recieved the same training as myself.
    According to my training I was taught under the hospital I work for to not say hello to a former patient or family member unless they say hello first.
    Maybe not necessarily a HIPAA violation.
    I certainly would not want a nurse who took care of me, lets just say if I had a severe case of scabies (really severe :chuckle), infected, oozing, crusty lesions- and he/she came up at the local grocery store and was saying "hey how are you doing, you feeling okay, how did that cream work out?"
    Okay an example stupid and to the extreme, but hey it could happen!

    I only brought up the story to further my thread as an example, not to be examined by it, nor be judged by my own thoughts.
    The example was just how a night of fun (and fights) can follow one when in the profession of being around people in the community.
    It can follow us....

    Oramar is right. Even though nothing we do on our time off should be of any consideration to anyone else, or who we are as nurses, it really does even when we dont think about it...

    Anyways moving on,

    VivaLasViejas:
    You sound just like the type of gal I am! I love dancing in stores!
    I can be found at my local Albersons shopping and singing along with the overhead music, pushing my cart along the way...la la la la, with my sister at my side laughing like crazy (my voice is really bad!), never stopped me though...by the way the music there really is great...
    VivaLasViejas likes this.

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