Best advice for when a patient insists on asking you personal/awkward questions? - page 2

by ScarletCeylonRN

2,900 Views | 11 Comments

Once upon a time, I was caring for a patient during one of my school rotations. This was around the time of the election, and his family were having a very heated political discussion amongst themselves. This is always a red flag... Read More


  1. 0
    Ruby Vee
    Years ago, I had an employer that actually forbade us from discussing our personal beliefs/situations with patients or their visitors. At the time, I believed it was hopelessly archaic. Now I see the wisdom, and often tell people who pester me with personal questions that my employer forbids such discussions.
    It's good policy. People tend to run at the mouth when they start talking about personal issues or beliefs, and situations can easily get out of hand. It's best not to blur the professional lines and keep the relationship strictly about care. You never know what someone will do with the information they glean from you, after all!

    Thank you for all of the responses, everyone. Hopefully this can be a little social interaction toolbox for someone down the line. Anyone have any other suggestions?
  2. 0
    Quote from SalineFlush
    I attribute everything to HIPAA.

    Patient: "Where do you live?
    Me: "I can't tell you. HIPAA..."

    Patient: "Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend?"
    Me: "Can't say. HIPAA..."

    Patient: "Please tell me you're not voting for ______!"
    Me: "Well...it would be a HIPAA violation to discuss that."

    When you think it best to avoid providing an answer, blame HIPAA.

    Never forget your lifelong right to remain silent. It has served me immeasurably, and it has become a bit of a mantra always on repeat in my head. I don't lie about myself to patients...but I don't necessarily answer completely or elaborate either. Often times, I just pass on answering at all.
    As long as they don't actually know what HIPAA is...or worse yet, follow up with "what does a hippo have to do with anything?"


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