Do you ever wish people didn't know you were a nurse? - page 4

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   Kelly_the_Great
    Lot's of times I'm kinda taken aback by some of the comments/questions I get from friends, family and even just very loosely associated acquaintances about very personal issues that they believe are appropriate to share with me. I guess it's b/c I'm not thinking of them in the context as a "patient", ya know?

    Tell ya something I do get tired of, I get so tired of people, after finding out that I'm a nurse, saying stupid stuff, like "my sister's a nurse" (when really she's a MA or a tech) or "I could be a nurse" and "I know as much as a nurse" b/c they happen to give IM injections wormin' their cattle once a year or somehing... :stone
  2. by   banditrn
    Yes, I've learned to hate the phrase, "Hey, you're a nurse!" when it's uttered by the general public! I don't play that game anymore. I fib's to 'em!

    When I first got my license, I would have people I barely knew calling me at home - wanting something from me (I lived in a small town). One time I got a call from these people who I only knew well enough to say hello to - wanting to know if I'd come over and change their sister's surgical dressings. I also got a call one time from someone I didn't know at all - she was the friend of one of my DIL's mother! She wanted advice of a very personal nature! Nope, call your doctor!!

    Now, I live in an even smaller town, and one of the neighbors around here keeps sending her kids over - "Mom wants you to look at this." I generally send them on their way, telling them to tell Mom to clean it out, bandage it, and call the doctor if she thinks it's neccessary! Good grief!
    Last edit by banditrn on Nov 26, '06
  3. by   RN mom of 2
    It does bother me, because I haven't worked as a nurse since I got my license, and everyone still comes to me for advice. I keep saying, "Well technically I am a nurse, but remember I haven't worked, and there are many specialties." No one cares. They just keep asking.

    The worst is when the neighbor kept bringing her son over, and asking me if he should go to the doctor. One time he had a giant bump on his forehead from a fall and was screaming his head off. I said, "If it were my child I would take him." I'm not going to incriminate myself! Sheesh! This particular lady would look at me and say, "But you're a nurse, right?" :trout:
  4. by   Lacie
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Wait a minute, no one ever mentioned there was such a thing as "professional courtesy." I've got some bills for lab work that were not covered, next time the collectors call I can tell them I want professional courtesy?
    LOL, wish it worked that way dont we I guess there are still a few docs out there that do recognize professional courtesy but this was the first time I dealt with it. Another time was with my mother when she feared she was having chest pain. I was working and the ER doc literally went into the parking lot and checked her so that she wouldnt be billed for the ER visit as she didnt have insurance at the time. Now this was a real shocker for me and he deemed it professional courtesy!!! Funny to watch him drag the ekg machine out there too and perform it himself. Guess there was some advantage to a small rural hospital at the time.
  5. by   banditrn
    Quote from Lacie
    LOL, wish it worked that way dont we I guess there are still a few docs out there that do recognize professional courtesy but this was the first time I dealt with it. Another time was with my mother when she feared she was having chest pain. I was working and the ER doc literally went into the parking lot and checked her so that she wouldnt be billed for the ER visit as she didnt have insurance at the time. Now this was a real shocker for me and he deemed it professional courtesy!!! Funny to watch him drag the ekg machine out there too and perform it himself. Guess there was some advantage to a small rural hospital at the time.
    Lacie - I've known a few like that - aren't they ANGELS?!
  6. by   ns lpn
    I don't hide it but I don't tell everyone either. I think I lose my nursing perspective when it's my child, my husband,my mother ect.. I find I'm not so calm and professional when it comes to them or myself. I think this is normal but can be embarrasing if others know your a nurse.

    As far as going to the doctors, yes its awfull for me because I work with my GP. Not only do I see him at work professionally, I see him outside of work as a patient and it can be embarassing.

    Only sometimes do friends or family ask my medical opinion and they know I'm not a doctor so if its something I know or can find out I tell them if not then they have to go to the doctors like everyone else.
    I don't find strangers ask this b/c they usually don't know I'm a nurse.
  7. by   Mistify
    Before becoming a nurse, I was a registered veterinary technician and I learned to NEVER tell people what I do. I hated people always asking for advice instead of actually spending the time and money to see a vet when it was needed. And even after becoming a nurse, I have noticed that people do the same thing if they find out I am a nurse. So I will not say anything unless I have too.

    As for professional courtesy, I have found that greatly lacking in my area of the country. My GP is a jerk and totally discounts anything I have to say about my husbands or my own help care and his MAs and office staff are very hostile to nurses (I know a couple of other nurses that use the same office). So I have just started seeing my OB for everything (I am 39 weeks pregnant and see her all the time anyway). My husband has had problems with a reoccurring prostate infection and the GP didn't want to be bothered with actually examining my husband before treating him (he ended up seeing a different doctor but is still having the same problem).

    Also, as a daughter of a doctor (my mother became a doctor in her 50s), I have found I get treated differently (better) by other doctors after they find out. I am not sure why, but I know my mom hates doctors that do that, she feels all patients deserve to be listened to and feel like they actually have a part in their healthcare decisions.
  8. by   augigi
    To the OP: You don't have to give your profession to your doctor on the questionnaire. You can just write "private" if you want.
  9. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Kelly_the_Great
    Tell ya something I do get tired of, I get so tired of people, after finding out that I'm a nurse, saying stupid stuff, like "my sister's a nurse" (when really she's a MA or a tech) or "I could be a nurse" and "I know as much as a nurse" b/c they happen to give IM injections wormin' their cattle once a year or somehing... :stone
    I hear this one regularly: I've got four semesters(or a year, or whatever) to my RN.
    And it is the same story years later.
  10. by   MarySunshine
    Quote from puggymae
    As I laid in my bed 2 hours post op after having my gall-bladder removed (open) the daughter of the woman in the next bed (who was near death due to brain cancer) said to me "I am wore out, since your a nurse would you keep an eye on mama and call me if I need to come back?" That was at 4:00 pm; at midnight a woman came into my room (my new private room) and asked if I would come and try to start her sisters IV! But the absolute most astounding request came from the house supervisor who came into my room to ask if I would watch the desk and "just answer call lights" while a code was going on.
    You have got to be kidding! I'm just horrified. Is this on the floor you normally work on?! I would write lots of letters....that's just awful. I hope you said no to all of those requests! If you did any of those things you deserve a free hospital stay and an apology.
  11. by   Quickbeam
    I hear this one regularly: I've got four semesters(or a year, or whatever) to my RN. And it is the same story years later.
    Me, too! I've heard that hundreds of times over my nursing career.

    My problem is a little different. I'm the only nurse in my state who does what I do. I take medically impaired drivers off the road ...dementia, diabetes, you name it. I have an office and regular hours (I do not have on-call responsibilities). People who have ignored Aunt Edna's driving for 20 years get a wild hair and try to track me down at home, church...you name it. I've had my home number changed. When I get to work Monday morning, my e-mail and voice mail are filled with people trying to reach me Saturday night at 10 PM. Even though my message indicates what their options are.

    I never mind if people have a question after church or whatever but I do ask that they leave me alone in the pew. I deflect all questions that are not related to my current job.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]dh and i are both nurses, and no one we know bothers us about nursing stuff -- well, with the exception of my father. he called one night about 1 am from 2000 miles away and said "i'm having a little chest pain, and i'm short of breath. what should i do?"

    "call an ambulance, dad."

    an hour later: "i'm in the er, and they hooked me up to this machine with a tv screen that shows my heart beat. i'm having one little skinny beat and one big fat beat and one little skinny beat and one big fat beat. they want me to go to the icu. what should i do?"

    "go to the icu, dad."

    at 8am: "hi. this is your mom. they want to put a breathing tube in dad, but i know he wouldn't want to be kept alive on machines. what should i do?"

    "let me talk to the nurse, mom."

    you all get where this is going, don't you? the earliest flight home was at 10pm. i got there at 8am the next morning. dad was on 100% high flow and convinced he was in prison. mom was resisting intubation. as soon as i walked onto the unit, i was greeted by mom ("this is my daughter who works in icu") , two nurses, and an rt saying "thank god you're here." i've never been as ecstatic to see a family member who was medical as those staff members were to see me! i spent five minutes trying to talk to dad, then asked them to intubate him. the doctors were thrilled to see me, too!

    i generally try not to be obnoxious about it, but letting the staff know that i'm an icu nurse lets them know what kind of detail they can go into and what sorts of terms they can use. (try asking about dad's ejection fraction without letting anyone know you're a nurse!) since my mother had already told everyone she encountered that her daughter was a nurse, there wasn't any keeping it secret anyway.

  13. by   bethin
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I seriously think the employees in doctor's offices treat people differently according to their occupational status. I think they assume that the convenience store clerk is less-educated and has lower occupational prestige than the physicist, and therefore treats the two patients differently. I wouldn't be surprised if they spoke to the plumbers and janitors more slowly than they did to the lawyers and college professors.
    I agree. I went to see a NP when my dr was on vacation and she knew that I was an aide. Suddenly she's talking in these big words and I'm nodding my head but inside I'm racking my brain trying to remember what my diagnosis means and tx. When she admitted me to the hospital from her office I overheard her on the phone say "you know Elizabeth, she's an aide on med/surg." Ahhhhh!!!! I want to be treated like a pt, not a nurse or an aide. When you're a pt in the place where you work I feel that you get preferential tx. Which is good for me, but I want all pts to get the tx I receive.

    Also doesn't help that there's only one hospital in the county so you see and know all the dr's and NP well. Thank God my dr can differeniate btw seeing him as a paying pt in his office and seeing him on the floor. Now, there has been times he's pulled me in an empty room and asked me what's wrong, telling me I look like crap. He kindly offered to write me a prescription(refill)- chronic UC and Crohn's so he knows me well. That I appreciate.

close