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 as nurses we are supposed to have a therapeutic relationship with our patients, but at the same time are not supposed to get too close, or share too much with the pt. It seems like in order to have a therapeutic relationship with your pt that you need to be somewhat open with them. Where do you draw the line?
My instructors say that we should easily be able to sit down with the patient and interview them for our care plan. This includes their relationship status, if they are happy in the relationship, if they have kids, job status/ financial status, personal stressors and so on... These questions seem pretty personal to me, but I understand why I am supposed to ask them.
Well, lately my patients have been starting to ask me personal questions.I am talkative and outgoing, but usually prefer to keep to stick to topics like movies, weather, pets, and just small talk. I have never been comfortable discussing things like my relationship, kids, or what neighborhood I live in with people I don't know. Am i just too sensitive? are these normal things people talk about with strangers?
I am sort of torn because I feel like if I flat out refuse to tell them anything that they may not want to keep talking to me, and that is not fostering a good nurse patient relationship. But on the other hand I feel like the pt probably does not see anything wrong with asking me stuff since I was just interviewing them. So, how much do you share with your patients?
On another side note, what is a nice way to tell a patient that you don't want to answer their question if giving a vague answer and changing the subject does not work. For example, a patient asked me where I live the other day. I said "oh, not too far from here. Where do you live."
Pt- "I live on x st and w st. Where exactly do you live again?"
Me- "sort of by the west side, can I get you anything before I go to lunch"
pt- "no I don't need anything. Where exactly do you live, like what streets?"
I just excused myself at that point without answering. What would have been a good way to handle this?