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Do patients question your expertise?

Posted

Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 26 years experience.

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Have you had a patient question your expertise or the nursing profession as a whole?

Please share your experience - What was said? What did you say or do?

Is there a right and wrong way of addressing these comments?

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imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

I was an older nurse/graduate. Pts rarely asked about my experience. They just assumed since I was older I'd been a nurse a long time.

If a pt occasionally asked me about my experience, I dodged it and said I'd been a nurse "for awhile".

Perception = reality. If a pt thinks I'm experienced, they have more confidence in me, then I have more confidence in myself.

anggelRN

Specializes in OB.

This has happened to me several times. Fortunately, pts are surprised when they hear I've been a nurse for just two short years.

However, I have run into problems with laboring mothers. I have heard "well, you've never had a baby beofre so how would you know". I playfully remind them that their male OB has also never had a baby but he's more than well qualified to deliver his child. If the OB is a woman I remind them I went to nursing school and they didn't. I try to be as playful as possible but it really if fairly annoying.

DizzyLizzyNurse

Specializes in Peds Medical Floor. Has 12 years experience.

I look young so people are surprised when they ask what my experience is.

flyingchange

Specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research. Has 2+ years experience.

People usually only question my experience if I need multiple pokes to get a line on them. Luckily it doesn't happen as often as it used to. "Is this your first time??"

decembergrad2011, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 12 years experience.

I talk about where I did my capstone in nursing school (peds hem-onc) if patients or family ask me how long I've been a nurse and attribute any unfamiliarity about something to being "newer to the unit". I remain vague because I graduated in May. I've been off orientation only 2 months and I don't want them to feel nervous about that fact. When I have a year or two in, I'll just tell them.

Plenty of people questioned my experience when I had a preceptor and other helpers tagging along, but my floor was great and they didn't "out" me to patients as a new nurse.

T-Bird78

Has 6 years experience.

Not me, but when I was explaining allergy testing the pt did ask "You are a nurse, right, and not just a MA?" I assured her that I was, in fact, a nurse and the MA was great and was trained by the doctor for allergy testing just like I was. :)

Seas

Specializes in Telemetry, OB, NICU. Has 4 years experience.

My expertise is rarely questioned. Mostly turns out good.

When I was a new grad, still in training, my expertise was questioned by a patient's family (she's been a nurse for 40 years as well). I told her I had graduated last month, and yes, a new grad. haha . we didn't get along the best. That's the only negative experience I had with my expertise being questioned.

tnmarie

Specializes in geriatrics, hospice, private duty.

I've always looked way younger than I am so I get the "so how long have you been doing this?" line a lot. Come to think of it, I don't get it as much anymore (getting old and crotchety, lol) but when I did, I'd casually mention that I started out as a medic in the military. That usually led them to drop the subject ;-).

That is one advantage of being an older nurse. Pts just assume you've been a nurse for years. One of the nurses I worked with was 50ish and had been a nurse for a year and I was 30ish and been a nurse for 5 years (+ medic for 3 years). We'd glance at each other knowingly when the pts tended to gravitate toward her, assuming that she had been a nurse for much longer than I had. We BOTH got a kick out of it.

echoRNC711, BSN

Specializes in cardiac CVRU/ICU/cardiac rehab/case management. Has 27 years experience.

I started nursing very young and would get irritated when older pts said 'You look like your in high school ".. To someone whose 90 yrs being 21 yrs must have looked like an infant.I think its just a commentary on age not experience

Nowadays , alas, I'm the other end of the spectrum where pt have pointed at my ID and said either "You look so young there" or even worse "You were pretty there !!" As the ID they are looking is not my original but taken 5yrs ago (gasp !)I can't resist saying "Oh yes thankyou...hmm....old and ugly,eh?...with compliments like that I am amazed you don't have a whole harem of women:"

Many yrs ago during a nursing strike a pt told me "A little old lady took care of me last night ".I thought he has got to be confused or maybe a bad dream .He he kept insisting "she was really old." I was telling another nurse about it and she said " No.He's right. That's "Ancient Anna" she's 78, she's putting her grandkids through college . "Well knock me down with a feather!!"

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 19 years experience.

I look young so people are surprised when they ask what my experience is.

Same here. I often get asked how old I am and they are quite surprised when they hear I am in my 30's and have been a nurse for 11 years.

I did have a patient ask me before I attempted an IV start "how many mistakes have you made?" Not knowing how to respond I told her I have been a nurse for 10 years and I was more than qualified to attempt an IV start. This pt was a retired MD.

I did have a patient ask me before I attempted an IV start "how many mistakes have you made?"

Last one was when I decided to come to work today. :p

A patient pulled his arm away from me before I administered a vaccine and asked how much experience I had. I grinned and told him he was my 1st patient. He laughed and let me give him the shot.

When I was working as a tech there were patients who mistakenly thought I was a nurse (and I would correct them) but they would make comments about my age. I'm really not THAT young, but I remember one lady said something like, "when you have kids you'll understand." I said, "I have two kids," and she replied with, "Did you have them when you were twelve?!"

I'm about to start working as an RN any day now and I know I'm going to run into this except I won't be able to correct them and say, "I'm the assistant." I read someone here say that when patients question your age that they're really probably concerned about whether or not you're qualified to care for them. I'm not looking forward to confronting that problem. In the past, I've changed the subject by saying, "I changed careers into nursing. Before this I did ________." Since my previous career requires a 4 year degree too I think they would realize by that statement that I'm a little older than they assumed. Some people are comforted just by knowing that you're not 20 years old even if you don't have tons of nursing experience.

I remember having some young nurses when I was in the hospital having my children and I was more impressed that they were professional nurses at a young age instead of worried about their abilities. That could've been because I know what it takes to be deemed "qualified" though.

marty6001, EdD, EMT-P, APRN

Specializes in ER, Critical Care, Paramedicine. Has 18 years experience.

Being an APRN I've found that if I wear scrubs to work they ask when the doctor is coming to see them... If I wear a shirt and tie I have to explain that I'm not the doctor, I'm the APRN, to which they usually say, "same thing"... LOL

I've had both sides of it... when I was a new nurse, I was asked if it was my first day, a lot. As I've gotten older, people question whether I fit the stereotype (in their minds) of a frazzled nurse with too much going on to really focus on their needs. It never ends, but I just keep on going!

DizzyLizzyNurse

Specializes in Peds Medical Floor. Has 12 years experience.

Same here. I often get asked how old I am and they are quite surprised when they hear I am in my 30's and have been a nurse for 11 years.

I did have a patient ask me before I attempted an IV start "how many mistakes have you made?" Not knowing how to respond I told her I have been a nurse for 10 years and I was more than qualified to attempt an IV start. This pt was a retired MD.

I took care of an MD the other day that didn't know the difference between a bedpan and a hat...so don't feel too bad lol.

eatmysoxRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

A patient pulled his arm away from me before I administered a vaccine and asked how much experience I had. I grinned and told him he was my 1st patient. He laughed and let me give him the shot.

I love it!

I have had a patients MA family member explain to her mother what my job was. She stated how easy it was to be the rn and how the rest of the staff would be taking care of her. It took all I had not to squirt her with a saline flush.