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seeing a patient in the newspaper


I'm a student nurse who recently did a rotation in peds. I saw in today's paper a full page ad for a new raffle they are setting up for the children's hospital. They feature two children and list them by name. On the hospital's raffle web page they share the stories of the two childrens' medical conditions and a bit about their personalities. I took care of one of these children. Is it okay to share the link to the website with friends and let them know this child was my patient? I would not say anything else about them, just that I took care of this one and he was really sweet. Or is this a big privacy violation? Waiting to hear what you say. Thanks! :-)

I would not even mention anything. How will you respond when ask how you know the child??? Big red flags.

I might pass it on, but only say this is the hospital where you did your peds rotation, and it is a great place if anyone wants to help support it. Do NOT mention you know the people in the picture. That just invites questions.

Thanks! My instincts were telling me not to say anything, even though the article clearly lists the patient as going to that hospital and describes their medical condition/history.


Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,. Has 17 years experience.

you are able to share the newspaper link through facebook and all your connections that you can find... being a community minded nurse or a caring individual that wants to help... with NO , NO link as to what you do or whom you've cared for with our first getting permission from the family and second from your hospital.

The first suggestion is the obvious easiest and quickest way.. I do this frequently then pool the staff to join in and bring friends and family and I'm just one of the many community supporters.:D

You have a beautiful heart, follow it in the right confines to your obligations to privacy.


Specializes in Med/Surg.

I would not mention the status of your relationship. It is a violation of privacy.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

OP: don't do it. I know you mean well, but to tell them that you once took care of the child is a privacy violation that could lead to a lot of trouble for you. Instead, do what others have said and promote the raffle without mentioning how you know the patient.

Unfortunately, all the times I have seen former patients in the paper it was either an obituary or an article discussing their death. And even though they are deceased, I will never tell anyone that they were once my patients.

I would not say one word about this. They got permission to do this in the newspaper, but you will be accused of violating HIPAA rules. Keep yourself safe and not sorry by keeping your lips zipped.

bsyrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in Peds, School Nurse, clinical instructor. Has 22 years experience.

Nope, don't do it, never a good idea:nurse:


Specializes in drug seekers and the incurably insane.. Has 3 years experience.

Absolutely not. You could end your career before it even starts. It's exciting to be a new nurse and being able to take part in someone's recovery, but do not mention anything about any of the patients you care for. Their families may slap you with a big, fat lawsuit before you blink. Best of luck to you!!

Link all you want. Promote the raffle and the hospital to your heart's content. You can even say that you did a clinical rotation there. But, leave your connection to the individual child out of the equation.

If anyone asks if you saw or took care of either of the children in the ad, just say, "Even if I had, I couldn't say." You can also tell them that you saw this hospital up close and personal and you want to support what they do for their patients. Deflect and distract, even as you give the organization a big boost.

I'm so glad that your former patient is being spotlighted in this special way.

Edited by rn/writer

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

No, no, no. Your pts are just that, patients. The relationship doesn't get mentioned ever outside the pt/nurse relationship.

Your first instinct is right on the money.