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People you "know "coming to your unit for care

Nurses   (3,262 Views 28 Comments)
by anewday anewday (New Member) New Member

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Hello. I was wondering if anybody ever ran into people they know outside of work on the job. Like a neighbor, former co-worker, former classmate, or even someone you don't get along with etc... coming to your unit for care... I am still a student extern/tech and this has happened to me, but was lucky enough to be assigned to other patients on the unit. It has made me feel very uncomfortable and I can only imagine how the patient would feel. It's a small world and working at one of the main hospitals in the city where I was born and raised, has made me realize that this might happen even more often. How is this handled? As a nurse can you switch the patient with another nurse to handle their care if it would create an uncomfortable situation?

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Okami_CCRN has 4 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

790 Posts; 14,079 Profile Views

I have taken care of many people I know outside of my work enviroment, to tell you the truth I have not had an issue with it thus far. I treat them just like I would treat any of my other patients.

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4,412 Posts; 33,587 Profile Views

OP, still a student, but I have run across people I know... but these so far have been either: nurses or physicians that have been patients of mine (private practice) or physician friend. As far as how the nurse/physician "patient" went, I got a little nervous when I initially recognized them, but in each case they came up to me and started the conversation, they were there working, not as inpatients. The other type case was a physician who I was roommates with in college for my first degree, and that was a little awkward. She said my name from across the nurses station, everybody looked up, and then of course we hugged etc. The problem there was I noticed one of the RN's rolled her eyes!!! Don't know if this doc pal of mine was well liked! Suddenly I felt awkward... I know nurses can be too involved in other's biz, and I wondered if that would definitely play against me if I worked on that floor.

So, I think if someone I knew were a patient I'd gauge my feelings, and then gauge theirs... go from there. For clinical we are told that we can change clients if it is a problem. But in real life, I know this will happen, it will be primarily up to the patient's comfort. But as far as my experiences above, I'm not gonna pretend I don't know these people for another RN's comfort.

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TrishJK specializes in elder care; psych.

1 Article; 122 Posts; 6,390 Profile Views

speaking as a patient

I would refuse point blank to be cared for by anyone I knew. I can't imagine much worse, in fact, than being nursed by someone I went to uni with, or was taught by...shudder. No way!

I would hope that they had the manners to get themselves transferred to another patient before I had to make a scene about it.

OP - can you imagine allowing one of your classmates to attend to your BMs or give you pain meds per rectum?

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donnasRN has 3 years experience.

74 Posts; 1,716 Profile Views

I'm still a student as well but I have worked in a hospital and it hasn't been an issue for me when I knew someone... I'd make my NM aware to make sure they're okay with it as well. I feel it wouldn't be an issue for me once I'm a Nurse unless the patient has an issue with having me treat them - then I'd accommodate however the hospital's policy is regarding it (i.e. switching). I'd leave it up to the patient (as long as my NM approves per hospital policy), if they don't have an issue then neither would I - As long as they don't expect to receive priority/special treatment from me lol.

I've worked in Psych as well and in the facility I worked at they would switch a staff or admit a patient to another unit if a staff member/patient knew each other.

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miss81 has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Surgery, Tele, OB, Peds,ED-True Float RN.

342 Posts; 8,346 Profile Views

Oh, my Grand Father was on our unit and the charge nurse made me take the pod that he was in! HE was having chest pain and was dow playing it because he "didn't want to worry me!" Luckily the nurses I worked with were great and they helped me. I let them go in and assess him and help him wash. Still, weird! There is never a shift that I don't have someone who I know, or knows my parents.

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1 Article; 1,350 Posts; 9,906 Profile Views

I would hope that they had the manners to get themselves transferred to another patient before I had to make a scene about it.

Ummm.....gee. I guess you'd have to make a 'scene' about it if it were me, because it wouldn't really occur to me to ask to be transferred unless it was someone I knew to be a trouble maker, or someone I had a horrid history with. There are not too many people I know who fit into that category for me. As to being cared for by people I know, I really like it. I had my baby recently at the hospital where I worked for a while, and I was treated like a queen! For me it's nice to be personal at a time that can be stressful. A friendly face is welcome to me.

I work in a small town, and I do get patients I know outside of work. But it makes it easier for me to create a nurse/patient relationship with them as I already know something about them. HIPPA is a pain in the keester in a small town, as I walk into patients' homes occasionally and see another patient there visiting:coollook: or see the same family members at different patient homes. NO such thing as HIPPA in a small town.....

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101 Posts; 3,074 Profile Views

speaking as a patient

I would refuse point blank to be cared for by anyone I knew. I can't imagine much worse, in fact, than being nursed by someone I went to uni with, or was taught by...shudder. No way!

I would hope that they had the manners to get themselves transferred to another patient before I had to make a scene about it.

OP - can you imagine allowing one of your classmates to attend to your BMs or give you pain meds per rectum?

I definitely feel what you are saying. It makes me very uncomfortable. I am a very private person, and putting myself in the shoes of the patient, I would rather a perfect stranger care for me.

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630 Posts; 4,988 Profile Views

So, I think if someone I knew were a patient I'd gauge my feelings, and then gauge theirs... go from there.

I think a lot depends on you, how well you know the patient, how comfortable the patient/acquaintance/friend is with you etc. Sometimes it may be best to acknowledge them, let them know you are around then tell them another nurse will be taking care of them, yet I can see occasionally there being no problem. I would say if in doubt, switch patients.

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madwife2002 has 26 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

74 Articles; 4,777 Posts; 120,320 Profile Views

I really believe in the pts best interest and yours as the RN I would suggest you think carefully about looking after somebody you know well outside work. My rationale is that if something goes wrong you would be unable to be impartial,

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beachmom has 6 years experience.

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If a pt. is my friend or relative, I will tell the charge nurse not to assign me to them. I wouldn't feel comfortable, and neither would they. Or if they are someone in the community who I know and don't like or vice versa.

If they are a neighbor or aquaintance, and it looks like I might be assigned to them, I will first ask the pt. if it's alright. I have found aquaintances often prefer me for a nurse as they know me and trust me.

If they are an employee at the hospital, they have to accept being treated by their coworkers. Not much choice. We have the only hospital in town. Although I think when possible, employees are placed on floors where they don't work.

Recently one of our labor nurses had surgery and was on our floor. She got the royal treatment with everyone coming in to visit her. The night shift made pics of themselves and made a huge frame for the pics out of peri pads and taped them to the wall. (way too much time on their hands :D )

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boggle is a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg.

393 Posts; 5,888 Profile Views

I have worked in a community hospital where you probably know casually or closely many of the patients. Even if you don't realize that you know them, they probably know you. When possible, I try to not care for people I know personally. I did outright refuse an assignment to care for someone with whom I was in a close business relationship. I felt that just wouldn't be ethical.

I do make a point of telling any patient (or family) that I recognize and care for that in the hospital, I'm a nurse, not their neighbor. I respect their privacy as I would any patient's, and I will not acknowledge that I knew or saw them in the hospital. I just smile and nod when I run into them outside of the hospital.

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