Medical Advice Please!!!!!

  1. Even as a beginning nurse, I get tons of questions from family, friends, and people I barely know! "Do you think this is infected?" ''Should I go to get this checked out?" "Can you take a look at this rash?" So how do you handle these requests for medical advice?


    What's the strangest/most memorable question you have been asked?
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    About Double-Helix, BSN, RN

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 3,483; Likes: 6,963


  3. by   Fribblet
    I say:

    Hmmm? Looks like you have AIDS. I'd go see a doctor about that.

    Otherwise, I give them a vague opinion such as: "you're over-reacting," or "That could be problematic." But I always end with "If you're that concerned, then you should see a physician about it."
  4. by   Mrs. SnowStormRN
    LoL! I always say, "I'm off duty, contact your doctor."

    One thing I have learned, one question leads to a whole 3hr convo about the persons health history - so I decided I do not give any advice, other than "You should call your doctor."
  5. by   noahsmama
    I've gotten very few of these type questions, but when I do get them, I explain that nurses don't diagnose, and that they need to see their doctor.
  6. by   Neuro Guy NP
    I don't think it is necessary for you to provide a diagnosis or say that you don't do that. What I do, I take a look at whatever it is in earnest. If it looks problematic I refer them to their doctor. They ask you because they value your opinion as a trusted source in a world where there are a lot of bogus opinions. Better talk to you and be referred to their MD, than look it up on some internet source and diagnose it themselves.

    My advice to you, if you're comfortable, look at it, ask relevant questions, if it sounds like a problem refer them, but be sure not to overstep, particularly since you don't know all the details about the medical/surgical hx like you would a patient of yours.
  7. by   ElvishDNP
    I don't mind being general about things - such as when my dad was in the hospital for surgery, making sure my mom asked about pain meds and such, and making sure they knew what to expect. ("If he does okay on the clear liquids, they'll probably bump him to to full liquids tomorrow AM", etc. or "Ask if he can take something to help his [notoriously sluggish] bowel once he starts the Percocet.") Or if Dad calls me with his lipid panel numbers, asking what the letters 'HDL' stand for, I'm comfortable explaning that.

    But people at church who ask about stuff, family/friends who ask about more serious stuff over the phone or on facebook chat, I always tell them to call the doc because I really don't know them.
  8. by   Neuro Guy NP
    But people at church who ask about stuff, family/friends who ask about more serious stuff over the phone or on facebook chat, I always tell them to call the doc because I really don't know them.[/quote]

  9. by   punkydoodlesRN
    I have friend from high school that I had to block on FB because anytime she'd see me on, she asked stupid medical questions!!

    Once she was soo upset because she just knew her 2 yo had diabetes - how? Because she pee'd a lot after she drank a lot of water. How much water I asked? Like 4 sippy cups today. And then I asked if it was a normal amt? She said no, but she just got super thirsty after they got home... Home from where, I asked? Her response? A play date at the park.

    I just wanted to punch my computer!!

    I think her pedi owes me, I'm always keeping her from going for the stupist things (think in terms of ER visits for a hang nail). Sometimes, I don't know why some people are allowed to be parents!!
  10. by   Esme12
    Only very Close family do I stick my nose in and be sure they are given the best.......Others????? "I'm off 911." Of course if my neighbor drops mowing the lawn and drops I will not only call 911 but will help and do CPR....but I draw the line at can come back to haunt you.

    Of course I was talking to my neighbor one day and they were complaining that the medicine the doctor gave them "put them to sleep" for the "whole night" was a sleeper...

    So yea sometimes I do give advice.....But I also have that face that even when out of uniform....complete strangers talk to me and give me their life story.. I just smile politely and say..."You don't say?"
  11. by   Heidi the nurse
    Oh, this so reminds me of what my ex-mother in law used to do to me. I met my ex while working at an ECF, but my heart really was in psych. I soon moved on from the ECF to a private psych hospital. She would ask me little things, nothing really big, but one day said "would you look at my incision, its not healing" Apparently she had had some abdominal surgery several weeks before and it either hadn't healed period or had dehisced. I just told her that I was a psych nurse.

    Later, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and at that time I did encourage her to advocate for herself - she was on medicaid, and when they sent her home from the hospital they sent her with dip sticks. Nothing to check her blood sugar with, just to look for glucose in the urine. I explained to her that glucose doesn't show up in the urine until it is over 300 and she needed to bug someone until they gave her a glucometer. Be-rother.
  12. by   ckh23
    Depends on who is asking. If it's immediate family I give them my opinion and tell them to go see their doctor. Everyone else I tell them to go see their doctor.
  13. by   Dalzac
    I always know whats coming when I hear "You're a nurse......" I hate it! I have even been on a campout with a large group and been hammered with that question. One woman I vaguely knew was in her tent on a very very hot day wanted me to stay with her because she was too hot. I told her to go the ER and see a doc. I wasn't there to babysit someone who refused to drink a bottle of water! I was there to play. Now the minute I hear the dreaded "You're a nurse" ....I say you have cancer see a doc! I have a tendency to get rude. but I do tell them to go to ER if they think they need emergency help.