Quote from drowningdaily
It sounds like she was happy to share. I actually have cared for neighbors and former teachers and it is a challenge. I now work several towns away, which has simplified things!
But it is up to the patient
to initiate that sharing, not the nurse.
OP: yes, you did violate HIPAA. However, it seems like this incident has probably resolved itself without consequences, unless said patient decides to file a complaint. You'll most likely be fine, so don't beat yourself up...however, learn from this mistake, because the next patient may not be as forgiving.
I agree with Inori: the best way to handle seeing patients on the outside is to let them acknowledge you first. And let them set the tone for how they want the interaction to proceed. You may feel like you're being rude by doing this, especially if you developed a close relationship with the patient during the course of their care--you probably don't want the patient to think you're blowing them off.
But patient confidentiality comes first and foremost. In public, they may ignore you. They may just want to say "Hi" and leave it at that. They may or may not tell others who you are. Or they may want to give you the full in-depth update. But it's THEIR call, and you have to make sure you don't misstep, even in the name of good manners.
Hang in there