Do you tell patients you might be related?

  1. So I had a patient the other day, sweet old man, who, by his unusual last name, likely was related to me (not an immediate relative, but semi-removed). I saw his name on the paperwork before I went to see him and planned on asking him if he knew some of my relatives. However, when I went in the room, his daughter was there, and was the type who writes everything down like she's ready in case she needs to sue you, with such a poor/snapping/everyone-is-out-to-get-you attitude, I decided against it.

    I was wondering what other people have done if they have encountered a patient who may potentially be related to them - do you ask the patients about it? What are the pros and cons of doing so?
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    About Ayvah, RN

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 763; Likes: 1,174
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Med Surg, Specialty


  3. by   lrobinson5
    Eh, I would probably introduce myself with first and last name. If they come to the same conclusion that you did (you might be related) then they can inquire further. That way you know they aren't uncomfortable with the question.
  4. by   Altra
    No, I wouldn't. What I would consider doing, if I thought they would put it together, would be to switch assignments with another nurse. It's inappropriate to be caring for family in a professional capacity.
  5. by   loriangel14
    I agree with the first poster.Introduce yourself and let them take it from there. I work in the town I grew up in and have had friends and relatives on my floor.When I worked in the community I cared for a couple of cousins and a great uncle.
    Last edit by loriangel14 on Jan 26, '12 : Reason: added info
  6. by   RNperdiem
    I would use my intuition and sense of proper boundaries.
    I took care of a family from my father-in-law's small town. I brieflly mentioned the connection when they told me where they were from. I didn't take it any further than that.
    A distressed family facing a new crisis does not need that information, a "problem" family such as the one the OP describes needs to know as little about you as possible.
  7. by   Scarlette Wings
    Would I tell a patient if I was related? Only if they were filthy rich and looking for someone to leave it to. LOL.