Do you ever wish people didn't know you were a nurse? - page 2

I'm just wanting to gripe a bit. I'm a very private person and don't make it a practice to broadcast info. about myself all over the place. I'm speaking specifically right now of going to the... Read More

  1. by   Ronna
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    I'm just wanting to gripe a bit. I'm a very private person and don't make it a practice to broadcast info. about myself all over the place.
    I'm speaking specifically right now of going to the doctor. Maybe I went a little wild since I've gotten health insurance, but I've been to several doctors (a psychiatrist, a neurologist and an obstetrician) and every doctor I have been to see knows I'm a nurse. I wonder if it is protocol for the secretary or MA to write "THIS PATIENT IS A NURSE" on the front of charts before they are given to the doctor? I only filled it out on the new patient forms where they ask your employer and profession and I know the docs and nurse's don't read that. I even went as far as not filling this info. in when I went to the last doctor (ob/gyn) but I was called back to fill the info. in!
    Now this isn't necessarily earth-shaking, but at the same time, every single doctor has questioned me about my profession, where I got my training, and what I do at my job. I won't make any secret that I am not exactly proud to tell the doctor ,"I went to Excelsior College which is basically a through the mail school and my degree is an associate degree." I have decided the next time someone asks I will tell them I am a Rhodes scholar and got my nursing degree in England, or something. Furthermore, they expect me to know things because I am a nurse. The psychiatrist is especially bad to drill me with questions and say, "You are an RN! You should know this!" Hey, doc, I'm mental as it is, you shouldn't pressure me!!!
    No, just because we have RN after our name doesn't mean people should assume and expect us to know everything!

    Family and neighbors are as bad. I was recently talking on the phone to my mom who lives out of state. She said, " I wish you were here to look at my side, it's red and scaly, it might be shingles." :stone
    A family friend said he had two bumps near his rectum, would I look at them... NO I WON'T!!!

    I don't know, maybe I'm burned out and the holidays are starting to get to me.

    At least you still have your sense of humor, even though your "mental" like I am. Its nice to laugh. I wouldn't want to see anyones rectum less I was getting paid for it ! ha ha ha
  2. by   Altra
    Motorcycle, I'm sorry that this has been a source of stress for you.

    I do think that a person's occupation is a relevant part of a patient's social history, and therefore does belong on the H&P. It does give some indication of a person's education level, this is important info to know when providing verbal or written patient education. If an individual's ability to absorb medical info is different than what was "expected" given their educational level, any astute clinician will realize this in about 10 seconds of conversation with the patient, and adjust accordingly.

    When I have a patient who is a nurse (and there have been probably a dozen or so in my 1.5 years of being a nurse), I've usually asked where they work or what area of nursing they work in, but this is not really any different from "small talk" with any other patient. Sometimes we might talk shop, if the patient initiates it - I don't. My PCP is always interested to hear Tales from the ER whenever I see him, but this doesn't strike me as invasive ... just talking shop.

    My immediate family members and one or 2 close friends have asked me for medical info ... and I either have info to share or tell them to see their PCP. There's no shame in saying, "you should probably see your doc about that." You don't have to add, "because I have no idea." No clinician, nurse or doc, knows everything about everything. A surgeon isn't going to advise someone on progression of diabetes ... and an opthamologist isn't going to advise someone about their back pain.

    In your post I sense some uneasiness about your education and I hope you can work through that and find confidence & pride in what you do.
  3. by   hogan4736
    MLOS, you raise a true point...Since they think I design web pages, they give me instructions like I'm a kid...I laugh about it...

    When we interact w/ patients 1:1, we should be astute enough to gauge an intelligence level by the flavor and content of the conversation, and teach accordingly...
  4. by   santhony44
    In the clinic, occupation is a standard H&P question. I don't care personally, and I don't treat a farm worker any differently than a teacher, but it can help me to understand things like exposures, or how to help someone work things like meals and meds around job demands. For example, I talk with diabetic farm workers during harvest season about managing their diet while working from daylight till long after dark. People don't live in vacuums; their occupations, hobbies, family circumstances, etc must be taken into consideration in managing their wellness and illnesses.

    When a patient or family member is a nurse, I still try to assess their knowledge and comfort levels. I don't assume that a neonatal nurse knows about Grandma's diabetes, for example. I usually will say something like "Forgive me if I'm being too simple in my explanations here, I don't think you're stupid but I don't want to assume that you know everything either" and usually get a positive response to that.

    I've never felt that I got poorer care or inappropriate explanations because of being a nurse. I don't hesitate to say "I don't know much about that" and ask questions, either.

    Most people who know me know I'm a nurse. I get asked questions quite often. I guess I take that as a positive thing, not a negative: the person asking me a question thinks I know something and trusts me to give them good advice. Which, most of the time, boils down to "see your PCP." Often they aren't looking for a free consultation, but for information or clarification. I wear street clothes, so I don't get asked questions by perfect strangers very often, though it has happened in the past.

    I take nurses being asked questions as a reflection of what pollsters have told us: people trust nurses. I really don't have a complaint about that!
  5. by   donormom
    I don't usually volunteer that I am a nurse. But I have worked long and hard to get where I am today and I am very proud to be a nurse. I don't mind telling someone it is out of my area of expertise.

    I usually do not tell people when family members or myself are being treated unless necessary. I does make things simpler. I try to build a rapport with the staff before that because common knowledge. Usually I say or do something to give myself away. There have been times when I have volunteered it because we were there about a complaint that IS in my area!

    Karen
  6. by   TazziRN
    I don't advertise it but it almost always comes out and I don't mind. When docs or other nurses try to tell me "You should know this" I tell them flat out, "I'm an ER nurse, I don't know about this stuff!" It always works.

    As for asking me for advice, I don't mind giving general advice, like "Yes the cut's getting infected" or "I think Vick's 44 is best for a cough" but I do not diagnose. I make it clear that the cut should be seen by a doc or if the cough doesn't get better within a few days, see a doc.
  7. by   flytern
    I've been an OB RN for almost 20 years. To say the least, my medical knowledge is a small drop of water in a very large ocean! I don't expect patients who are RN's/MD's/health care workers to know anything about OB, nor would I expect to know anything about gun shot wounds....

    When I moved 15 years ago, I told my kids not to tell the neighbors what I did for a living, I envisioned every toddler coming to my home for bandaids and bactine. However, one summer my next door neighbor's child was choking on a hotdog, and of course getting very frantic. My son screamed across the yard to me and I came running, did the Heimlich....
    Afterwords, my son proudly announced that his mom was a nurse. Now everyone knows, but nobody bothers me with the day to day cuts and scrapes. I usually get called for the broken bones and such. All I do is confirm to mom to get the kid to ER, with me driving.

    I'm proud of the fact that I'm a nurse, I don't keep it a secret from others but I don't shove it in their face either.
  8. by   Antikigirl
    I don't mind having my MD know I am a nurse...heck, I work with him anyway! LOL! He explains things to me just like anyone else unless I ask him questions in med speak...then he and I can really go on talking med! LOL!

    The thing is family/friends! They are ALWAYS asking me questions, and asking if I would come over and 'see something' or even take care of them for a few days!

    I even had my parent in laws ask me to take care of their meds and fill Rx weekly boxes for them because they were confused by all the medication. I actually grabbed MAR sheets and wrote them up...a friend suggested I glue a pill showing what each one was on the MAR, and used different highlighters for times of day they needed to take them. That worked out so great that when my mil got sick...they wanted me to be her nurse because insurance wouldn't cover a home nurse. I had to decline (helloooo I do have a job, and I am a relative so it is not a good thing!). It was very uncomfortable for me to decline, but I really just couldn't...I did not feel comfortable at all with it, nor did I want to quit my job.

    My friends can be just as bad, it is like I can only speak medical in their minds..LOL! I usually have to interupt and say hello...I do that all day at work...can I just be me now?

    And for the dreaded questions...I typically say "you need special individual care sweety...I would talk to your PCP who knows your medical history and can actually prescribe/order/advise things to help you based on your individual need." OR............. "Honey...if I could tell you about that I would have an MD after my name and be making a he** of a lot more money! LOL!".
  9. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from TriageRN_34
    The thing is family/friends! They are ALWAYS asking me questions, and asking if I would come over and 'see something' or even take care of them for a few days!

    I even had my parent in laws ask me to take care of their meds and fill Rx weekly boxes for them because they were confused by all the medication. I actually grabbed MAR sheets and wrote them up...a friend suggested I glue a pill showing what each one was on the MAR, and used different highlighters for times of day they needed to take them. That worked out so great that when my mil got sick...they wanted me to be her nurse because insurance wouldn't cover a home nurse. I had to decline (helloooo I do have a job, and I am a relative so it is not a good thing!). It was very uncomfortable for me to decline, but I really just couldn't...I did not feel comfortable at all with it, nor did I want to quit my job.

    My friends can be just as bad, it is like I can only speak medical in their minds..LOL! I usually have to interupt and say hello...I do that all day at work...can I just be me now?

    And for the dreaded questions...I typically say "you need special individual care sweety...I would talk to your PCP who knows your medical history and can actually prescribe/order/advise things to help you based on your individual need." OR............. "Honey...if I could tell you about that I would have an MD after my name and be making a he** of a lot more money! LOL!".
    Thank you!
    Or I'll say, "I wouldn't know that, I'm only a graduate of Joe's School of Nursing and Auto Body Repair. Better see your doc."
    And when I go see my psychiatrist next week and he starts in about how I should know this or that because I'm an RN, I'll remind him, "Hey doc,
    doesn't the fact that I wear an aluminum foil hat to block the transmission of signals from aliens in outer space tell you anything???"
    Ha ha!

    I'm getting too weird. I'll step down from posting for a bit.
  10. by   P_RN
    Hey *I* have a nursing degree and *I* have resorted to gluing a sample pill to my list. I'm up above 10 pills a day and I need to keep track of what goes where, when.
    ****
    Yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner I over heard a relative-in-law talking about a mutual acquaintance's daughter.

    It went somethng like this.

    "Yeah she has cystic fiberitis, her backbone is all crookedish and they are going to have to screw posts to her back so she can breathe better and not get stuff clotted in her lung.
    ****
    I almost bit my tongue OFF trying not to straighten that out. Thank goodness the doctor had a better concept of this because I was speechless.
  11. by   TazziRN
    Quote from P_RN
    "Yeah she has cystic fiberitis, her backbone is all crookedish and they are going to have to screw posts to her back so she can breathe better and not get stuff clotted in her lung.
    ****
    I almost bit my tongue OFF trying not to straighten that out. Thank goodness the doctor had a better concept of this because I was speechless.
    Whatsa matta, you skip the Joe Blow Interpretation class?

    Another aspect of the whole thing: my brother died of brain stem herniation. The day after he died everybody showed up at my parents' house. Both my parents are like the person you described in terms of medical issues, and my dad kept calling me over to different groups of people to explain what brain stem herniation was. The one time I didn't want to be a nurse, I kept having my nose shoved in it because of misplaced intentions.
  12. by   Ronna
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Thank you!
    Or I'll say, "I wouldn't know that, I'm only a graduate of Joe's School of Nursing and Auto Body Repair. Better see your doc."
    And when I go see my psychiatrist next week and he starts in about how I should know this or that because I'm an RN, I'll remind him, "Hey doc,
    doesn't the fact that I wear an aluminum foil hat to block the transmission of signals from aliens in outer space tell you anything???"
    Ha ha!

    I'm getting too weird. I'll step down from posting for a bit.

    M&M short for motorcycle mama
    don't go away, i enjoy your humor, besides I need someone around in case I need support, I gotta go see psychiatrist the 8th as I'm pretty close to being post toasties concerning my stressfull job, u think it will help? I spend too much time on here too but I need brethren, ha ha
  13. by   Sue Damonas
    When I became a nurse a long time ago I had a few phone calls asking for medical advise but the one that got me was this lady that called my mother. She heard that I was a nurse and asked my mother if I would go take care of her family member who was in a local hospital because they were so busy there and understaffed!!

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