How to handle a patient asking for personal info


I am a student RN and I recently had one of my patients in clinical (a very sweet older man who sings in a bluegrass group) ask me to write down my name and phone number so he could call me and let me know when his band played at one of the local restaurants again so I could come and hear them. I had been working on establishing report with him and we had been talking a lot about how long he had been in the band, where they played, etc. Even though this particular man in no way seemed like he had ill intentions, this still sent off a red flag in my head, as I know it would be neither within professional boundaries or safe to give this info. I just don't know how I could have tactfully told him I couldn't give him this information without seeming rude, which is how I feel I came off.

Any suggestions for the future??


"oh mr.. so and so, that is so nice of you to offer", but as I am a student its against my school policies to give out personal information"..

Specializes in PCCN. Has 20 years experience.

very simple- "I'm sorry, I am not at liberty to give out that information." Keep the professional boundaries. It's bad enough my full name is on my badge. there are some creeps out there. Dont be fooled.


903 Posts

It's very uncomfortable when patients say things like that, and sometimes it's more comfortable having to "let them down." I've had it happen to me so many times. I always something along the lines of "Thank you so much for offering, Mr./Ms. XXXXXX, and I really do appreciate the gesture, but I'm your nurse/CNA, so we need to keep things professional." They are usually very understanding.


1,188 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I recently had this happen with a patient; a nice old fellow wanted my contact information to send me a thank you card. Usually I just tell them, I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to give out that information. This patient was hard of hearing (he'd left his hearing aides at home) and his vision wasn't so great, and I couldn't make him understand that I wasn't allowed to give it out in a tactful manner.

I finally just wrote down my name and my hospital's address for him. He did later send a card, and I got it in my staff mailbox.


233 Posts

Specializes in psych, general, emerg, mash.

easy answer! tell the patient, he will have to ask his doctor!

you dont have to go into a long winded discussion about your position and your political status!

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

I'd just tell him it's "against the rules".


2,452 Posts

Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

i had a similar experience as a student nurse. i told him that we weren't allowed to give out personal information and that i would be sure to watch the paper for information on where his band would be playing and when. they played folk and blues. i assumed that would be the end of it and he would know i wasn't interested.

about six weeks later, i got a message to report to the dean's office. shaking in my shoes, i went.

his wife had left an envelope containing 8 tickets to a weekend performance with the secretary to give me so i could attend with friends!

surprised the heck out of me!!

no way would i give out my personal information.:eek:


shar pei mom:paw::paw:

cjcsoon2bnp, MSN, RN, NP

8 Articles; 1,156 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I have had a similar type of experience with patients before and I usually say something like this: "Thank you Mr./Ms. So & So for the offer but I'm not allowed to share that information with patients because its hospital/school rules." or "I really appreciate your interest but I'd like to focus on you right now because I'm here to help/work with you."

!Chris :specs:


85 Posts

just tell that it is against to the facility, your school, and even to the profession's ethics to have relationship beyond the client-nurse (aka work) relationship. giving personal infos is a no-no. if he gets discharged, it depends to you to give it...

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

Had a woozy patient(waking up from general anesthesia) ask me for my phone number because "he didn't like skinny girls".:D I told him nicely that it would be against the rules. Got teased for awhile by my coworkers over that one.:lol2:


686 Posts

Thank him and then advise him it is against policy.