Do patients question your expertise?

  1. Have you had a patient question your expertise or the nursing profession as a whole?

    Please share your experience - What was said? What did you say or do?

    Is there a right and wrong way of addressing these comments?

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    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 17, '18
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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,382 founder; from US
    Specialty: CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele


  3. by   imintrouble
    I was an older nurse/graduate. Pts rarely asked about my experience. They just assumed since I was older I'd been a nurse a long time.
    If a pt occasionally asked me about my experience, I dodged it and said I'd been a nurse "for awhile".
    Perception = reality. If a pt thinks I'm experienced, they have more confidence in me, then I have more confidence in myself.
  4. by   anggelRN
    This has happened to me several times. Fortunately, pts are surprised when they hear I've been a nurse for just two short years.

    However, I have run into problems with laboring mothers. I have heard "well, you've never had a baby beofre so how would you know". I playfully remind them that their male OB has also never had a baby but he's more than well qualified to deliver his child. If the OB is a woman I remind them I went to nursing school and they didn't. I try to be as playful as possible but it really if fairly annoying.
  5. by   DizzyLizzyNurse
    I look young so people are surprised when they ask what my experience is.
  6. by   flyingchange
    People usually only question my experience if I need multiple pokes to get a line on them. Luckily it doesn't happen as often as it used to. "Is this your first time??"
  7. by   decembergrad2011
    I talk about where I did my capstone in nursing school (peds hem-onc) if patients or family ask me how long I've been a nurse and attribute any unfamiliarity about something to being "newer to the unit". I remain vague because I graduated in May. I've been off orientation only 2 months and I don't want them to feel nervous about that fact. When I have a year or two in, I'll just tell them.

    Plenty of people questioned my experience when I had a preceptor and other helpers tagging along, but my floor was great and they didn't "out" me to patients as a new nurse.
  8. by   T-Bird78
    Not me, but when I was explaining allergy testing the pt did ask "You are a nurse, right, and not just a MA?" I assured her that I was, in fact, a nurse and the MA was great and was trained by the doctor for allergy testing just like I was.
  9. by   Seas
    My expertise is rarely questioned. Mostly turns out good.
    When I was a new grad, still in training, my expertise was questioned by a patient's family (she's been a nurse for 40 years as well). I told her I had graduated last month, and yes, a new grad. haha . we didn't get along the best. That's the only negative experience I had with my expertise being questioned.
  10. by   tnmarie
    I've always looked way younger than I am so I get the "so how long have you been doing this?" line a lot. Come to think of it, I don't get it as much anymore (getting old and crotchety, lol) but when I did, I'd casually mention that I started out as a medic in the military. That usually led them to drop the subject ;-).

    That is one advantage of being an older nurse. Pts just assume you've been a nurse for years. One of the nurses I worked with was 50ish and had been a nurse for a year and I was 30ish and been a nurse for 5 years (+ medic for 3 years). We'd glance at each other knowingly when the pts tended to gravitate toward her, assuming that she had been a nurse for much longer than I had. We BOTH got a kick out of it.
  11. by   echoRNC711
    I started nursing very young and would get irritated when older pts said 'You look like your in high school ".. To someone whose 90 yrs being 21 yrs must have looked like an infant.I think its just a commentary on age not experience

    Nowadays , alas, I'm the other end of the spectrum where pt have pointed at my ID and said either "You look so young there" or even worse "You were pretty there !!" As the ID they are looking is not my original but taken 5yrs ago (gasp !)I can't resist saying "Oh yes thankyou...hmm....old and ugly,eh?...with compliments like that I am amazed you don't have a whole harem of women:"

    Many yrs ago during a nursing strike a pt told me "A little old lady took care of me last night ".I thought he has got to be confused or maybe a bad dream .He he kept insisting "she was really old." I was telling another nurse about it and she said " No.He's right. That's "Ancient Anna" she's 78, she's putting her grandkids through college . "Well knock me down with a feather!!"
  12. by   nrsang97
    Quote from DizzyLizzyNurse
    I look young so people are surprised when they ask what my experience is.
    Same here. I often get asked how old I am and they are quite surprised when they hear I am in my 30's and have been a nurse for 11 years.

    I did have a patient ask me before I attempted an IV start "how many mistakes have you made?" Not knowing how to respond I told her I have been a nurse for 10 years and I was more than qualified to attempt an IV start. This pt was a retired MD.
  13. by   wooh
    Quote from nrsang97

    I did have a patient ask me before I attempted an IV start "how many mistakes have you made?"
    Last one was when I decided to come to work today.
  14. by   mariebailey
    A patient pulled his arm away from me before I administered a vaccine and asked how much experience I had. I grinned and told him he was my 1st patient. He laughed and let me give him the shot.