How much personal info do you share with pts? - page 4

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. 0
    Quote from Poochiewoochie

    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.
    I totally agree. It is not something I am quite comfortable asking, but I do to please my clinical instructor. I do not think that is something I will continue when I get my RN license and work on my own. I do think it opens the door to the pts asking me questions back, and I'm not comfortable answering them either! Oh well, school is a short time and this will be over soon.

    However, I am grateful this situation has made me think about where I will set my limits as a nurse.

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  2. 1
    Depends on the relationship with the patient. I've learned to let my affect and manner set the stage for not sharing much and people respect that. In primary care though we might see the same person repeatedly over a period of years and I feel comfortable sharing a little bit with them, but only as it really pertains to the conversation, and put it right back on them. It gets much easier over time. It just is kind of a double standard that we ask all these questions and then not share about ourselves.
    And just wait until the "who are you going to vote for!"
    Altra likes this.
  3. 0
    When people ask for information or for actions that may breach the necessary boundaries of the nurse-patient relationship, I simply state that it is against my work policy to disclose that information or to do that for them. For example, my patient asked me to come over for dinner (I do home visits for TB case management), and I sincerely thanked them for the invite, but said that, unfortunately, it was against my work's policy to establish a social relationship with my patients. Rather than avoiding the question, you could try explaining why you can't answer the question, as awkward as it may be. Good luck.
  4. 0
    Quote from blacksunflower

    I totally agree. It is not something I am quite comfortable asking, but I do to please my clinical instructor. I do not think that is something I will continue when I get my RN license and work on my own. I do think it opens the door to the pts asking me questions back, and I'm not comfortable answering them either! Oh well, school is a short time and this will be over soon.

    However, I am grateful this situation has made me think about where I will set my limits as a nurse.
    Quite honestly, I made up some of the financial stuff when I was in nursing school. My instructors never watched me ask. It's highly inappropriate. The pt's ability to pay or how much money that make is between them and the business office or social workers, not the nurse. On our intake forms at our hospital we're supposed to ask highest educational level achieved, which seems odd. Yes, I need to know how to best educate my patients, but with a little bit of conversation you can figure that out.

    I understand the need to ask about a support person, whether that's a spouse, child, friend, etc.
  5. 1
    Quote from Aurora77
    I share what I'm comfortable sharing. I don't have a problem telling people I'm married, don't have kids, etc. I don't get in depth, but do find sharing a little bit about myself helps pts feel more comfortable. The questions you got are weird, though. I would never give out my street!
    Agree. I am a pretty open person. People tend to like me and want to know things. IDK, I play it by ear, but I also limit things, primarily in order to get back to the patient and their needs/issues.

    That's really what you have to do. You have to pleasantly bring it back to them---and really, that's what most people like to talk about the most--themselves.

    So be friendly, but redirect back to the health issues and needs of the patient. I mean I like to chat too, but there are always other patients and things going on, so you really don't have time to get sucked into such things. More than feeling like the person is a stalker, I would be concerned about time-mgt issues.

    Have you not had the course that teaches you about therapeutic communication with clients/patients? (I think it was taught in a nursing fundamentals course, or something like that. It's been a long time.) If so, review that material. Seriously, don't just pass over it. There's good stuff in there, and I honestly have used many of those techniques quiet effectively over the years as a nurse. In fact, I remember we were tested on it throughout the rest of our time in the program; i.e., questions pertaining to therapeutic interactions came up on every test until the end, and as I recall, they were even on state board exams. But that was in the day when you had to sit for two days worth of testing and zillions of questions. Still, I remember it was a big piece in our program.

    Good luck.
    StudentNurseKitteh likes this.
  6. 0
    In nursing school, my patients "refused to answer" a few questions. Generally the ones that were inappropriate. Like the "Are you satisfied with your sex life" to the guy that was in for hip surgery. If he's not, he can ask his PCP. It's not like his orthopedic surgeon is going to order a urology consult and get him some Viagra if he says he's unsatisfied.

    How much I share depends on the patient. I'm careful with what I disclose, but I will share little things. I'm totally borrowing that "witness protection" line though! I like that!
  7. 2
    Quote from workingharder
    Name. rank, and serial number. According to "Hogan's Heroes" that's all the Geneva Convention requires.
    Indeed. But something tells me frantically yipping, "CheesePotato, Trauma Team Lead, 627717-13Z!" as an answer to everything would go over about as well as a lead brick.

    Pt: Ma'am, I'm a little nervous.
    Me: CheesePotato, Trauma Team Lead, 627717-13Z?
    Pt: Well, it's my first surgery....is my surgeon good at what he does?
    Me: CheesePotato. Trauma Team Lead? 627717-13Z. 13Z.
    Pt: My husband is coming. Can you look for him afterwards?
    Me: Cheese. Potato. Trauma......Team Lead 6277, 17-13Z.
    Pt: Thank you.
    Me: Potato.
    GeneralJinjur and wooh like this.
  8. 1
    I will tell you from personal experience that patients and/or their visitors may innocently be trying to engage you in conversation, but beware. Never trust a patient or family members. Once you get into a conversation with them about any aspect of your life, or any of your political or religious beliefs, the discussion is now about you, not them. If they have to ponder about anything you said, and they disagree with you, or have to think about what you said too long, they get uncomfortable and start seeing you as the nurse who talks too much or gives out too much information. If they feel like they have to sympathize with your situation, they will feel like they have to take care of you somehow, or be too attentive; and you'd be surprised how many patients or family members report to management, "wow that nurse talked a lot about herself and was unprofessional because of that". The manager then has something to write you up about--unprofessional conduct.

    When you are dealing with sick people and their families be prepared for them to be super-sensitive and ready to blame, or at least mention the nurse who is talkative and opinionated, because it's convenient to blame or talk about the nurse and bring her behaviors into question with management. I always tell them, "yes, it's been on tv all week, but i'd like to get your assessment done and treat your pain, because the doctor may be making rounds shortly". I also have said to other patient's, "we've been told by our supervisors to focus on the patient, and limit personal discussions so we can more adequately serve you".

    You just have to find a creative ways to deflect these people. And yes i said "these people" because they exasperating as heck, because you never know when they are going to talk to management about you. Like i said, never trust patients or their visitors.
    StudentNurseKitteh likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from Flare
    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.
    Problem with this is even if you've spent days building a rapport, the patient may tell their family without your knowing it and, whammo, family not happy about personal conversations and reports it to management.
  10. 0
    Quote from sharpeimom
    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.

    Attachment 11899 Mannie - age 3 months
    Haha. Funny you mention this one. I had a family member report to management that i spent more time with the dog than with the patient.


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