How much personal info do you share with pts? - page 2

I am a second year RN student. I have had some really nosy, pushy patients the last couple of weeks and it has made me wonder where to draw the therapeutic communication / your asking me too many... Read More

  1. by   NutmeggeRN
    I think that the info is relevant to the situation.....some folks are very gracious and kind and are just being who they are, others not so much. But if I have relevant info i.e. I can really relate to their situation, sometimes I will share a snippet.

    I know what it is like to be widowed at a young age, I know what it is like to raise a child alone, I know what it is like to be the one the family turns to in a medical crisis....I think it makes me more empathatic and sometimes that is very ok. Sometimes it is not and I dont. I will redirect or say I really cannot get into that right now, thanks for understanding.
  2. by   sharpeimom
    When I worked at the state psych hospital, I shared NOTHING with patients. Out in the
    community with other nursing jobs, my information was already out there. You see, we
    are back in my home town of about 4,000 people. My family has lived here (or in the other
    end of the county) since the early 1700s, my parents had very high visibility professions, meaning
    very very few secrets. Sometimes, it drives my big city born husband nuts!

    Complete strangers, who became patients, used to say to me, "Didn't you buy the ___(owners from 1928
    until 1983) house? How are the repairs going?" They already know exactly where we live without
    benefit of a phone book. Oh well... We're the only ___s in the phone book, no mystery there.

    I've lost count of the times some older person has introduced me as "the little ___ girl" and I've been
    married almost 26 years.

    In a larger town or a big city you can disappear into the crowd and remain anonymous. In a rural area
    such as this, good luck!
  3. by   Dalzac
    When I worked ICU I always got the overdoses I guess because I am a recovering addict and understand those patients better than most. When they become coherant I will ask them if they think drug rehab might help them and then refer our social workers to interveiw if they are open about it. IF they ask I will tell them about recovery and where they can go to meetings. and IF they ask how I know about this I will tell them. I have never had any backlash about this in 25 yrs. Plus, I have seen many patients I had in a meeting.
    But i never told any where I live or any other personal info. Even though telling anyone I am in recovery is very personal, I would rather see them take a stab at recovery and live a better life. Then if they stick around and become a friend They get as much info as they need.
  4. by   gap8383
    I agree with those who share their info. When I talk to patients, I think, what better way to encourage them in their time of need than to let them know that I am just like them, and have gone through similar struggles? Of course, I am careful with what I say as far as giving identifiable info or my address, etc, but in general, I try to encourage as much as possible. We all have to remember that they are people who need people who care. That's what being a nurse is all about, and it goes beyond the medical part of it, IMO.
  5. by   nurse2033
    Be as vague as possible. Sometimes you might have to say you keep your private life private. As others have mentioned, don't hesitate to lie (like about a husband) if it will shut them down.
  6. by   Flare
    It really depends on the patient and the rapport that we've built. Overall i don't mind sharing basic info like married v. single and talking about kids or favorite hockey teams, but i generally won't get terribly specific unless there is something strange that a patient and i can form a bond over - and then only if it's benificial and not going to be creepy.
  7. by   sharpeimom
    I'd talk about our dogs and cats because that was always a good icebreaker. When you live in
    a very rural area and have off-beat looking dogs, people do remember you. My husband walks
    our two dogs all over town, and people remember them. Because I'm physically no longer able
    to exercise them, people don't immediately connect me to the dogs.

    mannie3months-jpg Mannie - age 3 months
  8. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    I tend to be very vague when asked personal questions (my husband is a police officer, he'd have a stroke if I gave out much, LOL!) If asked about being married I'll say yes, kids, yes 4. If they ask how long I've been a nurse or where I went to school, I'll answer those too. Beyond that, nope. Where do I live? "near the University". Politics? "I haven't decided yet". (OK, that's a bold-faced lie!) I got burned once on a religious question: my patient asked me if I was a Christian and I replied "plain ol' Roman Catholic". He then said "well, I guess YOU won't be meeting your maker when the time comes!" That was the end of answering THAT question for me!!
  9. by   orthonurse55
    I tell my patients I'm in the witness protection program!
    It makes them laugh and usually puts an end to their questioning.
  10. by   FurBabyMom
    I agree with others. It depends on the situation and the patient. I had a lot of little old ladies and elderly gents who were just plain old lonely. If they seemed lonely I would go the pet route to make a conversation during my time with them (assessments, meds, dressing changes etc). I have no problem talking about my dog, or her brother/littermate which my parents have in addition to a very grumpy 10 year old dog we've had all 10 years of her life. My dog does silly things and it makes for a good conversation. Usually pets are a way to get people to warm up and talk, I had a patient once a LOL that my coworkers thought was demented because she kept complaing/calling/looking for (name) aka her dog. It was a human name for her dog, so people didn't put 2 and 2 together easily. I asked her, during my assessment, about what/who (name) was. It made a lot more sense and she and I had something to talk about.

    I don't mind to answer 'where' I live. When I worked in city X and lived in city X, my answer was 'I live here in X'. When I worked over an hour away from my home, I would also tell the city I lived in (conveniently getting from work to where I lived was a drive through 3 states). I did have to say I was engaged once...creepy detoxing patient (more just on the creepy side at that point of their stay).

    There are situations I didn't tell anything. You have to read the situation and do what you are comfortable with. I see it this way - my first and last name was/is always on my ID badge and every state I'm licensed in you can search by name and the state BON website lists the city of your address...if they're THAT intent on knowing they'll figure it out.
  11. by   PixieButtercup
    I'm usually comfortable sharing a little bit about my life with my patients. I work at a small community hospital and most of our patients are from the same community. I recently had a patient after surgery and her family and I started chatting as I was getting her settled in her room. It turns out that we live on the same street. Since then he has seen me waiting at my son's bus stop a few times and he always waves hello. One time he even stopped to tell me how grateful they were for the care his wife received from me. That sort of made my day!

    Then again, you get your completely nosy patients that can't help but be inappropriate. During my second pregnancy, one of my patients asked if she could ask me a question then proceeded to ask if my pregnancy was planned or unplanned. I told her she could ask me whatever she wanted. Then I turned and walked out of her room. Unbelievable!
  12. by   msjellybean
    I'm always intentionally vague when patients ask me these kinds of questions.

    Even though our badges don't have our last names on them, discharge paperwork does. A couple of months ago, we had a patient who was quite nice and very smart and chatty, but seemed to be so smart that she had trouble with social interactions and knowing what was appropriate. Well, she and one of our nurses bonded over their mutual love of cats. Patient is discharged (not by RN who loves cats). A couple of weeks later, former patient mails photos of her cats to RN who likes cats. She somehow got her last name, looked her up on the state website, then looked her up in the phonebook & got her address. Can you imagine if this was someone who wasn't well intentioned? Creeps me out.
  13. by   Poochiewoochie
    Quote from tlockettrn
    I graduated from nursing school two years ago, and we never had to ask patients personal questions, especially concerning their finances, to do care plans. Most information is already available in their charts anyway. Just remember if you ask personal questions you do open the door for personal questions to be asked of you.
    Maybe that's why the patients are asking. I've never had any nurse ask me my financial status, what kind of job I have or what my relationship status is. IMO that is rather intrusive and I for one, would tell any nurse that asked me it was none of their business.