Patient test results

  1. I just started in a family practice and am planning on seeking out the answer from my boss but I also wanted to see what other nurses do in this situation.

    When the MD gets back not so great test results, lets say from a mammogram that has a suspicious mass and he orders more testing. We have EHR so he will tasks us the results with what to tell the patient. A lot of times it will say inform pt that such and such place will be calling them for more testing when we send the referral in but nothing else. I ran into a situation where I had this happen, the pt was freaking out wanting to know why ( rightfully so!!) but I was unclear on whether or not I should be reading them the actual results from the mammo when the MD didnt dictate to say this. I ended up handing the call off to a nurse that had been working there for a long time and had to step away to room a pt so I didnt get to hear what she ended up saying to the pt. I know patients have a right to know their results but I also didnt think it was within my scope to be interpreting these results to them and possibly giving them more to worry about then needed. I have seen this multiple times but have only dealt with this situation so far. How is the best way to handle this in your opinions and when do you not say something?
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    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 354; Likes: 268


  3. by   brownbook
    I hate that no one has answered you question.

    All I can think of is I don't know......and that is what you need to admit to yourself or say to your co-worker. You don't really know. Tell the more experienced nurse you don't know how much information you can or should give the patient. Tell her you are unsure how to let the patient know the initial results indicate they need more testing.......meaning maybe a problem.

    You can and should ask the doctor the same questions. He may have some different thoughts than what your experienced co-worker tell you.
  4. by   g8sushma
    you should ask your md what he wants you to do in that situation. do not practice beyond your scope.
  5. by   littlekaneRN
    Whenever I need to call a pt and I don't know how to go about it or I can somewhat see what they might ask, I ask the MD how he wants me to explain it and go from there. I they ask me and I don't know I just tell them that and I will call back with an answer for them.