Coworker (resident) is a former patient..

  1. 0
    Hi folks,

    I am hoping some of you here can help me. At my old hospital I had a patient who was a medical student. He had a lot of issues to work through but he and I shared a very therapeutic rapport.

    I recently moved to a new city in another state and accepted a new job. During the interview I toured the unit, and saw the former patient's name and picture on a resident list posted on the wall.

    Yikes! I don't know what exactly to do. I obviously can't go to HR or my manager for ethical advice because that would breach confidence. If/when I see him, should I act like I have never met him before? I just don't want it to be an elephant in the room. I don't want to make him uncomfortable, because after all he was "here first." If the economy was better I would decline the job offer.

    I know residents come and go and there is a possibility I may not even see him. I am 100% comfortable with working with him but again I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable or distressed.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Talk to him about it. Don't dance around it--that makes it seem that you feel funny about him. Since you are comfy working with him, just talk about it (privately).
  4. 4
    If/when you run into each other for the first time follow his lead. If he greets you as a former acquaintance/friend, respond in kind. If he does not acknowledge your former relationship, then you don't mention it either.
    Anonymous865, macfar28, pamnock, and 1 other like this.
  5. 2
    it's possible he doesn't even remember you...
  6. 0
    Thanks. I especially like the suggestion to follow his lead. I will let him decide if we are going to acknowledge our former contact and I will respond accordingly. Thanks again.
  7. 1
    When it comes to dealing with patients that you may know or meet on the outside, always let them take the lead in acknowledging you. Don't feel like you are being rude in doing that; instead, you are acting in the patient's best interest. And you'd be surprised that he probably doesn't remember you as much as you think he does.

    I've had to deal with this situation before, except it was in reverse: they were a coworker first, then they became a patient. To be honest, I hardly remembered this person as a coworker--it wasn't until they mentioned where they worked that I said to myself, "oh...".

    I held back and let them decide how to approach our relationship, though I did advise my immediate supervisor of our prior working relationship. Turned out not to be a problem at all thanks to mutual poor memories on both my and their parts

    Though if either they or I were uncomfortable with the fact that we were prior coworkers, I would have immediately requested reassignment until their stay was over.
    mystory likes this.
  8. 1
    In small rural areas I think this is common or has potential to be.

    I have worked with doctor as coworker who was also my doctor at one time. It was fine, professional lines respected, relationships separated. Maybe a little more warmness from knowing each other better.

    Maybe try to stay in the present moment ~~~
    Meriwhen likes this.
  9. 0
    He's a Resident Doctor or a patient who resides in the facility?
  10. 1
    Let him lead the interaction in public, but acknowledge in private that 1) you are super serious about maintaining his privacy and 2) you do, indeed, have full confidence in him.
    YouDontKnow likes this.


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