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?
    tconlgirl and Joe V like this.
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  3. 86 Comments so far...

  4. 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.
  5. 14
    I think the main problem is him showing up to work "hungover". I would bet that he is still intoxicated.
  6. 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.
  7. 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,
  8. 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.
  9. 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,
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!!!!


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