What do you do when...

  1. what do you do when a patient asks "what are you giving me?" i was told you always refer all questions to the dr. never tell a family member anything. actually i was told you can't even tell them the patients bp. what do you do: go in say here are your meds and then leave?
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Quote from rnstudent,wife&mom
    what do you do when a patient asks "what are you giving me?" i was told you always refer all questions to the dr. never tell a family member anything. actually i was told you can't even tell them the patients bp. what do you do: go in say here are your meds and then leave?
    ah, so nurses aren't supposed to tell patients their bp? that has always annoyed me when my bp is taken and they don't say what it is, i always ask. my bp is extremely low so i'm always curious what it is on a given day (my record is 90/60). last time i went in the nurse asked me if i was stressed, because it was a whopping 110/70.
  4. by   natsfanrn
    Actually, at my school we're supposed to tell the patient what we're giving them, what it's for, and any common adverse effects or other pertinent information. Now if the patient's family asks, that's another story d/t HIPPA...
  5. by   MaggieJo
    We're also supposed to tell the patient what the meds are, what they are being given for, etc... The only two instances that I can think of that we're NOT supposed to answer a patient's question is 1.) Question about surgery r/t informed consent (question given to surgeon), and 2.) If a psych patient has a question about his/her diagnosis.
    Anyway, I'm sure there are probably other instances that we're not supposed to answer a patient's question, but those are the only two that I've been told in nursing school about. And of course, as a previous poster said, the patient's family is quite different because of HIPAA.
    -Maggie
  6. by   maddiecat
    I'm glad when they ask. It means they are taking part in their healthcare. I will always tell the patient what I am giving them, what some of the side effects are and a lot of times I will ask them (if I know they take it at home) if they recognize this as the same thing they take at home. It's amazing how many times they will say..."Oh, I've never really known what I was taking that for." As for anyone else, I don't tell the family anything. If they ask about BP I will usually just say "normal", but if the wife/husband wants to know (they like to write it down, etc.) I will turn to the patient, smiling, and say "is it ok with you if I tell them?" They always know that I am trying to protect their privacy and they always smile back and say "sure!"
  7. by   PCGrad06
    Thanks for sharing I have only taken the MNA class so I am a newbie about this stuff. I have always been told to ask a question is not silly it's when you don't ask a question is when it's silly. Thanks again
  8. by   Carolanne
    Quote from maddiecat
    I'm glad when they ask. It means they are taking part in their healthcare. I will always tell the patient what I am giving them, what some of the side effects are and a lot of times I will ask them (if I know they take it at home) if they recognize this as the same thing they take at home. It's amazing how many times they will say..."Oh, I've never really known what I was taking that for." As for anyone else, I don't tell the family anything. If they ask about BP I will usually just say "normal", but if the wife/husband wants to know (they like to write it down, etc.) I will turn to the patient, smiling, and say "is it ok with you if I tell them?" They always know that I am trying to protect their privacy and they always smile back and say "sure!"
    Exactly my philosophy!
  9. by   LauraLou
    We are taught to always tell the patient the name of the drug, what it is for and its side effects. Many med errors are caught when the patient questions a drug. Patients also have the right to access their medical information. I always inform a patient of their vital signs when I take them.

    However, if the patient has questions about their medical condition, treatment or upcoming surgery, that is something that needs to be addressed by the doctor. I will help the patient write down their questions, so they can remember to ask the doctor when s/he makes rounds.
  10. by   wonderbee
    Quote from rnstudent,wife&mom
    what do you do when a patient asks "what are you giving me?" i was told you always refer all questions to the dr. never tell a family member anything. actually i was told you can't even tell them the patients bp. what do you do: go in say here are your meds and then leave?
    where did that information come from? that's a throwback to the past when patients were the last people to know about their status. when we take vitals, we tell them their bp and their temp, even if it's out of the norm. when i pour meds, i do it in front of the patient and tell them what their getting and what it's for. now if a patient asks me if his morning mri revealed cancer, that is something else. if i'm not mistaken, that falls into the realm of the practice of medicine.

    nursing is heavily involved in educating patients about their conditions and knowledge is the key.
  11. by   Cherish
    [/QUOTE]Nursing is heavily involved in educating patients about their conditions and knowledge is the key.[QUOTE]

    EXACTLY! Telling them there medicine, what it is used for, and side effects should not be a problem. Especially if the medicine might interfere with a medicine that there taking at home. I have had nurses and doctor's give me medicine (like an antibiotic) and NEVER inform me that it will lessen the effect of a birth control or something else. That always surprises me (I know it does effect the birth control), because someone who may not know that may end up pregnant because someone did not INFORM them.
  12. by   jenrninmi
    Quote from rnstudent,wife&mom
    what do you do when a patient asks "what are you giving me?" i was told you always refer all questions to the dr. never tell a family member anything. actually i was told you can't even tell them the patients bp. what do you do: go in say here are your meds and then leave?
    i don't know, i was taught that when giving them the medication to tell them what you're giving them and if the patient doesn't know what the medication is for then you need to explain it to them. this is what i was taught and this is what i do.
  13. by   Altra
    Patient education is a major focus of nursing ...

    I agree with the other posters - what I've been taught is that not only you can but you should be explaining meds & treatments to patients.

    RNStudent: You mentioned the MNA class. I'm not familiar with that - what is it?
  14. by   Chaya
    This would come under patient education for us; we are required to document patient education on medication (among other care issues) prior to their discharge.

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