Has anyone had the experience of knowing a patient on their unit?

Posted
by njmonsterboi80 njmonsterboi80, BSN Member

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 16 years experience.

I recently was walking on another unit and was stopped by a patient who knows me.. This is someone I met about 10 years ago back in HS and run into every couple years. Last year I had receieved an email from him and attended his college graduation party.

Now I find out hes been transferred to my unit and I'll be there tomorrow. I did meet with him to see how hes doing and frankly, he's very ill. I spoke with my manager and she told me to just remain therapeutic and not to take him as a patient.

I certainly intend on keeping his personal information within the hospital, but I'm not even sure if I should be privy to it.. and it'll be unavoidable with him on my unit. I supposed I'll follow my managers direction and just not take him as a patient.

Has anyone else had this experience?

smirn80

smirn80

Specializes in Psych, DOU. 23 Posts

not yet. But if i did, i would tell my supervisor that i cant work in that unit for conflict of interest.

olol765

olol765

Specializes in Psychiatric. Has 2 years experience. 63 Posts

That was always my worst fear in psych... worse than getting hit!! Being the only nurse in my out-pt clinic it was unavoidable when a pt came in for treatment. Luckily, they were either former pts or very, very casual acquaintances.

Morgan314

Morgan314

124 Posts

Ours is a small town, so when I worked in the hospital psych unit, I had many pts that I had been in school with, or knew from the community. Now that I'm working in an OP clinic, I know many pts from school, church, and community. Some of my distant relatives have come in for treatment. If I am to have contact with a pt I know personally or am related to, I ask the doctor or a clinician to make sure the pt is comfortable having me a part of their tx team beforehand. I always remind the pts of our confidentiality rules and assure them that I will maintain their confidentiality. If the person is someone I am close to, like a former co-worker, friend, or cousin, I limit my contact as much as therapeutically possible, and I limit my reading of the chart to only things I need to know, like meds.

purplekath

purplekath

215 Posts

Actually, I'm going thru this right now. A very close friend of mine was admitted tonight and is a forensic case. Management has been really strict about it with me, and I'm actually very thankful. I'm not to nurse him, have been told I must stay in a different area for the duration of his admission and of course cannot access his file at all. I am SOOOOOOOO glad! It is a very difficult position to be in I have to say.

ear

ear

Specializes in psychiatric ER, Mental Health. Has 10 years experience. 152 Posts

I haven't yet, but I do know someone who does go through my system. I can only hope that when they come through the ER, I am not there at the time. When I am there, I am usually the only one.

If I will have to deal with them, I would just keep it professional and low key. In the grand sceme of things, is it really any different that having someone you know on a med surg floor??

Thanet

Thanet

Specializes in Mental Health. Has 30+ years experience. 1 Article; 126 Posts

Yes, Ex partner. Just so happened I was on vacation when she was admitted and discharged.

ByTheLake

ByTheLake

89 Posts

I recently discussed this with a friend of mine who has previously been a pt on the unit I will be starting on next week. I was relieved he was willing to speak frankly with me about the possibility! LOL! We both agreed that of course we hope I never see him professionally ;-) (he's well maintained) but... if he were admitted I would not take him as a patient, I would be careful to try and not overhear his conversations, and I would not read his chart. I would not mention even seeing him on the unit to dh (who is his friend from college) unless he specifically told me to do so. I would also make it known to other nurses that I knew him personally and did not want to know anything about his condition, tx, etc. We both realize it would be impossible for me to know nothign at all, that I would hear/see things no matter how careful I was. However, just knowing that I wouldn't try to see/hear anything, and that I would try to avoid it, was very comforting to him. He really was just relieved to know that I wouldn't take him as a pt! LOL!

You know, I wouldn't want to be cared for for certain things by nurses I knew personally. I sure wouldn't want a school friend checking my perineum in post-partum, and I wouldn't want a neighbor inserting a foley, and if ever I should find myself in a diaper, I certainly don't want even an acquaintance coming in to mop me up! LOL! And of course, so many people feel an even greater stigma attached to psych issues... So since I can imagine how *I* would feel, I hope to be as sensitive as I can to my neighbors, friends, etc.

nursprof2b

nursprof2b

15 Posts

Yes, that is wise to remove yourself if possible as the direct care person. I let the person acknowledge me first and of course, like any person who becomes the consumer, their information remains confidential.

It is awkward at first, but be the professional you are!

Being sensitive to this situation is healthy, I think!

Thunderwolf, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health. Has 32 years experience. 6 Articles; 6,621 Posts

Yes...."dual relationships" are highly not recommended.

funinsun

funinsun

102 Posts

I have experienced knowing my patient's children who were on my unit. I always let the people around me know, NM, physicians etc. If the parent comes and visits I I make sure to approach them and inform them that I took a different assignment. I have had success with this so far and their parents have been understanding. There are so little options for children's psych in my area that they understand that it is almost inevitable that my facility will be used..

More often I have patients who know each other from the outside or are even related! This has never been a positive experience when I have encountered it as they often side with each other, act out together and generally (attempt to) exclude themselves from the rest of the group. They often try to out do each other's experiences with certain family members, etc.

Many times I've had a sister get discharged to have their brother get admitted the next day so they all know us well and consider it a second home (the parents do too)..

elizabells, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. 2,094 Posts

They changed an entire clinical group when I was in nursing school- one of the girls in my class had a psychotic episode and was admitted to inpt psych on a floor where we had a rotation. They had to split up the group and put a few on each of the other floors.

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