How much personal info do you share with pts? - page 2

by Bouncyball 9,321 Views | 52 Comments

I am a second year RN student. I have had some really nosy, pushy patients the last couple of weeks and it has made me wonder where to draw the therapeutic communication / your asking me too many personal questions line. I know... Read More


  1. 2
    I graduated from nursing school two years ago, and we never had to ask patients personal questions, especially concerning their finances, to do care plans. Most information is already available in their charts anyway. Just remember if you ask personal questions you do open the door for personal questions to be asked of you.
    anotherone and Poochiewoochie like this.
  2. 4
    If you have the opportunity, try to take a course in motivational interviewing. It's a great help in learning how to communicate with patients. I can understand asking financial questions but in the context of, "are you able to afford your medications?, do you have difficulty paying for your utilities?"..these are quality of life issues...then there is the questions about family, as in " if you need help at home, who would you be able to call?" It might help to preface your questions with "I am not trying to pry, but we want to make sure you have the resources and support you need upon discharge home". It's very important to learn how to set limits when comunicating with patients. If the setting is set that this is in relation to their plan of care, then you can gently say, " I would like to talk about you and your health care needs."
    Good luck in school!
  3. 0
    In my area, our hospitals are spread between several cities, and people do not frequently know the layout
    of the ones they don't live in. Most patients are satisfied if I say "I live by university X in city Y" and leave it at that.

    If people get pushy, I just divert their attention to another question.
  4. 0
    I think that the info is relevant to the situation.....some folks are very gracious and kind and are just being who they are, others not so much. But if I have relevant info i.e. I can really relate to their situation, sometimes I will share a snippet.

    I know what it is like to be widowed at a young age, I know what it is like to raise a child alone, I know what it is like to be the one the family turns to in a medical crisis....I think it makes me more empathatic and sometimes that is very ok. Sometimes it is not and I dont. I will redirect or say I really cannot get into that right now, thanks for understanding.
  5. 1
    When I worked at the state psych hospital, I shared NOTHING with patients. Out in the
    community with other nursing jobs, my information was already out there. You see, we
    are back in my home town of about 4,000 people. My family has lived here (or in the other
    end of the county) since the early 1700s, my parents had very high visibility professions, meaning
    very very few secrets. Sometimes, it drives my big city born husband nuts!

    Complete strangers, who became patients, used to say to me, "Didn't you buy the ___(owners from 1928
    until 1983) house? How are the repairs going?" They already know exactly where we live without
    benefit of a phone book. Oh well... We're the only ___s in the phone book, no mystery there.

    I've lost count of the times some older person has introduced me as "the little ___ girl" and I've been
    married almost 26 years.

    In a larger town or a big city you can disappear into the crowd and remain anonymous. In a rural area
    such as this, good luck!
    GrnTea likes this.
  6. 3
    When I worked ICU I always got the overdoses I guess because I am a recovering addict and understand those patients better than most. When they become coherant I will ask them if they think drug rehab might help them and then refer our social workers to interveiw if they are open about it. IF they ask I will tell them about recovery and where they can go to meetings. and IF they ask how I know about this I will tell them. I have never had any backlash about this in 25 yrs. Plus, I have seen many patients I had in a meeting.
    But i never told any where I live or any other personal info. Even though telling anyone I am in recovery is very personal, I would rather see them take a stab at recovery and live a better life. Then if they stick around and become a friend They get as much info as they need.
  7. 0
    I agree with those who share their info. When I talk to patients, I think, what better way to encourage them in their time of need than to let them know that I am just like them, and have gone through similar struggles? Of course, I am careful with what I say as far as giving identifiable info or my address, etc, but in general, I try to encourage as much as possible. We all have to remember that they are people who need people who care. That's what being a nurse is all about, and it goes beyond the medical part of it, IMO.
  8. 1
    Be as vague as possible. Sometimes you might have to say you keep your private life private. As others have mentioned, don't hesitate to lie (like about a husband) if it will shut them down.
    enchantmentdis likes this.
  9. 4
    It really depends on the patient and the rapport that we've built. Overall i don't mind sharing basic info like married v. single and talking about kids or favorite hockey teams, but i generally won't get terribly specific unless there is something strange that a patient and i can form a bond over - and then only if it's benificial and not going to be creepy.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, tewdles, NutmeggeRN, and 1 other like this.
  10. 2
    I'd talk about our dogs and cats because that was always a good icebreaker. When you live in
    a very rural area and have off-beat looking dogs, people do remember you. My husband walks
    our two dogs all over town, and people remember them. Because I'm physically no longer able
    to exercise them, people don't immediately connect me to the dogs.

    Name:  mannie3months.jpg
Views: 165
Size:  3.3 KB Mannie - age 3 months
    tewdles and TJ'sMOM like this.


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