Personal questions from patients and visitors - page 2

I dislike being asked questions about my personal life by family members, patients, visitors, and certain coworkers. Am I the only one who feels this way? In this day and age of customer service,... Read More

  1. by   NewRN2008
    i am not going to divulge my life of course, but when i get those LONG term pt's for the spec's on my floor, i do end up talking to them a lot more, because you get a closer relationship than just seeing them a few days then gone. but thats me... pt is first priority, but whats wrong with chatting? i dont start talking about myself just for the heck of it!! but, there are those ppl that tend to want to cross a line too and thats Nun Ya Business.. lol

  2. by   QT3.14RNinCA
    Generic questions don't bother me. It's the specific personal questions that I think are an invasion of my privacy. It's also not OK when co-workers ask or answer personal questions about me to patients/families or even other co-workers. It should be my choice what I want to reveal or not.

    The one thing that did bother me quite a bit was when another nurse (who doesn't work at my unit but was there to do dialysis) bombarded me non-stop with personal questions during a 4-hour dialysis. She thought it was OK since "we have so much in common". I guess this was her way of making small talk. It was very unnerving.
  3. by   kmarie724
    I work in LTC, so I do end up getting to know my residents pretty well and they know some information about me. I don't share personal info about myself just for the heck of it, but if they ask if I have children, what town I live in, etc. I will share briefly. I know that they are just being friendly and make conversation. I have a six month old dtr and I have brought her in on my days off a few times to show her to the residents because some of the ladies are always asking about her and asking me to bring her in. They love it and talk about how much they loved seeing her for days afterwards. (I don't do this often, I've only brought her to visit twice)

    One thing I won't talk to resdients or co-workers about is politics. I had a resident ask me what I thought about President Obama yesterday. I just politely told him that I'd rather not discuss politics at work because it can get people pretty emotional and upset and I don't want to cause any problems. He went on to give me his opinion on Obama anyway, and I listened politely for a few minutes (even though I didn't agree with him at all) and then excused myself saying I had to get back to work.
  4. by   BabyLady
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I dislike being asked questions about my personal life by family members, patients, visitors, and certain coworkers. Am I the only one who feels this way?

    In this day and age of customer service, I cannot even fathom responding to patients and families by saying, "None of your business." However, that's what I really want to say much of the time. Textbooks mention that the nurse/patient relationship is focused entirely on the patient, but I am also very cognizant that real-life nursing never plays out in a textbook manner.
    To me...why wouldn't they?

    We ask the same thing of them...yes, it's part of our job...but it starts a conversation when they ask the same.

    To me, you can be as vague, or as inaccurate as you want to be.
  5. by   RNperdiem
    I don't mind as long as the question isn't too personal and my instincts tell me that the person means no harm.
    I work in the south, and a lot of older people come from a background of small towns with nobody stays a stranger for long. Personal questions are a polite way of making a connection with someone and showing interest. I give polite and general answers since the patients/families are more asking out of politeness than a need to know.
  6. by   cursedandblessed
    i don't mind the general personal questions like do you have kids? "no, i just have puppies, a houseful of little furballs, do you have any?" are you married?? (from a 80 yo man) "oh yes, i'm so married it isn't even funny" where do you live? our hospital is centralized in the middle of several counties with patients from many areas/towns/a major city/rural places too. when people ask that question in my area they are asking are you from the city or the country basically, or town, etc. they're not asking for your street addy. my usual answer is: oh i live on a farm up in the country.

    limited personal questions, make the nurse seem more "human" to the patient, and can make the patient feel comfortable and willing to share. the man who asked me if i had children, he wanted to tell me about his 10 children, who all came to visit with the grandkids. when i saw them all coming in, i was able to smile and tell them how proud their father was of them all. might seem unimportant, but the family told me how nice it was that i was taking such good care of their father as they left. his question was his way of engaging me in conversation, my answer was truthful, didn't divulge too much information, and i was able to encourage him to tell me about himself.

    there's a line that's best not crossed, i'm not there to be their friend, and i can see with certain patients that any information would be too much (prisoners, mentally ill patients, patients who are looking me up and down inappropriately, people who just give me that weird feeling--my intuition is very good about people). most of the questions i've encountered are simply a patient's way of trying to make some sort of human connection with their caregivers.
  7. by   seemerun
    I don't mind some questions about family like if I have kids, if I'm married etc... but I hate it when they continue with multiple questions regarding the kids. If I'm not offering up tons of details it's probably because I don't feel comfortable!

    One questions I hate is "Who watches your kids when your at work?" Whether it's true or not, I feel like there is the judgment that *I* should be home watching them.

    It amazes me how comfortable people (patients and coworkers) are telling me right to my face while I'm working how THEY stayed home until their kids graduated from high school, how they would never trust anyone else to watch their kids etc... I only work 2 days/week and my husband is home when I work because we work opposite shifts. But other people don't know that unless I tell them and to me that is pretty ballsy. I admit this is a touchy subject for me.
    Last edit by seemerun on Jun 15, '09 : Reason: grammer :)
  8. by   pers
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Personal questions are a polite way of making a connection with someone and showing interest. I give polite and general answers since the patients/families are more asking out of politeness than a need to know.
    I agree with this but I find many patients want to follow-up their questions to the point that it's no longer just polite in my opinion. A perfect example is asking if I'm married or have children. I realize they are common questions that aren't meant to intrude but when I say no, it really makes me uncomfortable for someone to attempt to follow that up with asking why (which happens often). Perhaps I am in that situation by choice, because my spouse or child died, due to a medical condition that prevents me from having kids or maybe my spouse took the kids and ran off! I really think asking me why I'm not married or don't have children crosses the line of polite. I think if you answer that you are in a similar situation to the patient it can help forge a connection but when you aren't, it can quickly make for an uncomfortable situation.

    Generally if people ask why I'm not married I'll offer up some funny comment about marriage and encourage them to talk about themselves. If they start pushing me about my lack of children I change the subject by talking about my pets. Sometimes this works but sometimes patients are more curious than I'm comfortable with and if I can't remove myself from the conversation I do have to say something along the lines of the topic being a little too personal for me. Perhaps I just haven't found the "right" way to say that without coming across as rude but I almost always walk away knowing the patient was upset I said that to them. I don't feel guilty for not explaining myself because I don't feel it's their business but if I could convey that in a way that doesn't make them feel bad I would certainly prefer it.