How much personal info do you share with pts? - page 3

by Bouncyball

8,891 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. 1
    I tend to be very vague when asked personal questions (my husband is a police officer, he'd have a stroke if I gave out much, LOL!) If asked about being married I'll say yes, kids, yes 4. If they ask how long I've been a nurse or where I went to school, I'll answer those too. Beyond that, nope. Where do I live? "near the University". Politics? "I haven't decided yet". (OK, that's a bold-faced lie!) I got burned once on a religious question: my patient asked me if I was a Christian and I replied "plain ol' Roman Catholic". He then said "well, I guess YOU won't be meeting your maker when the time comes!" That was the end of answering THAT question for me!!
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
  2. 7
    I tell my patients I'm in the witness protection program!
    It makes them laugh and usually puts an end to their questioning.
  3. 1
    I agree with others. It depends on the situation and the patient. I had a lot of little old ladies and elderly gents who were just plain old lonely. If they seemed lonely I would go the pet route to make a conversation during my time with them (assessments, meds, dressing changes etc). I have no problem talking about my dog, or her brother/littermate which my parents have in addition to a very grumpy 10 year old dog we've had all 10 years of her life. My dog does silly things and it makes for a good conversation. Usually pets are a way to get people to warm up and talk, I had a patient once a LOL that my coworkers thought was demented because she kept complaing/calling/looking for (name) aka her dog. It was a human name for her dog, so people didn't put 2 and 2 together easily. I asked her, during my assessment, about what/who (name) was. It made a lot more sense and she and I had something to talk about.

    I don't mind to answer 'where' I live. When I worked in city X and lived in city X, my answer was 'I live here in X'. When I worked over an hour away from my home, I would also tell the city I lived in (conveniently getting from work to where I lived was a drive through 3 states). I did have to say I was engaged once...creepy detoxing patient (more just on the creepy side at that point of their stay).

    There are situations I didn't tell anything. You have to read the situation and do what you are comfortable with. I see it this way - my first and last name was/is always on my ID badge and every state I'm licensed in you can search by name and the state BON website lists the city of your address...if they're THAT intent on knowing they'll figure it out.
    anotherone likes this.
  4. 0
    I'm usually comfortable sharing a little bit about my life with my patients. I work at a small community hospital and most of our patients are from the same community. I recently had a patient after surgery and her family and I started chatting as I was getting her settled in her room. It turns out that we live on the same street. Since then he has seen me waiting at my son's bus stop a few times and he always waves hello. One time he even stopped to tell me how grateful they were for the care his wife received from me. That sort of made my day!

    Then again, you get your completely nosy patients that can't help but be inappropriate. During my second pregnancy, one of my patients asked if she could ask me a question then proceeded to ask if my pregnancy was planned or unplanned. I told her she could ask me whatever she wanted. Then I turned and walked out of her room. Unbelievable!
  5. 1
    I'm always intentionally vague when patients ask me these kinds of questions.

    Even though our badges don't have our last names on them, discharge paperwork does. A couple of months ago, we had a patient who was quite nice and very smart and chatty, but seemed to be so smart that she had trouble with social interactions and knowing what was appropriate. Well, she and one of our nurses bonded over their mutual love of cats. Patient is discharged (not by RN who loves cats). A couple of weeks later, former patient mails photos of her cats to RN who likes cats. She somehow got her last name, looked her up on the state website, then looked her up in the phonebook & got her address. Can you imagine if this was someone who wasn't well intentioned? Creeps me out.
    anotherone likes this.
  6. 1
    Quote from tlockettrn
    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.
    Maybe that's why the patients are asking. I've never had any nurse ask me my financial status, what kind of job I have or what my relationship status is. IMO that is rather intrusive and I for one, would tell any nurse that asked me it was none of their business.
    anotherone likes this.
  7. 1
    Years ago when I worked in the hospital I didn't share much personal information with patients. In long term care, the patients are there for a long time. They are honestly interested in the people who take care of them. The staff bring their kids in frequently ...it's a different environment.
    NurseKatie08 likes this.
  8. 1
    I work in a children's hospital, so I don't mind saying I have kids. I wear my wedding ring. Sometimes I might get a mom who's interested in being a nurse ask me where I went to nursing school. If a patient has my same birthdate I'll tell them that, it's a nice ice breaker and kids love when someone else has their birthday. That's about all. Anything more would be too personal in my opinion. I also don't have loads of time to get much in depth.

    And on a side note, I don't share much with my co-workers either.
    dsd00 likes this.
  9. 0
    I pick and choose what pts I'm comfortable sharing personal info with. Usually a situation I can relate to. Sometimes our patents need to feel comfortable enough to give us true information and sometimes they need to feel their not alone in their struggles or ailments..
  10. 0
    Name. rank, and serial number. According to "Hogan's Heroes" that's all the Geneva Convention requires.


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