Sharing our own personal info OK?


While talking to family of a patient, we found that we had common roots in the same town. I told them that I had attended a church there, and they said, "well, you must know so and so", and went on to list folks I did know who were their relatives and friends. I tried to be vague, and said something like, "it's a small world," but acknowledged at least one of their references. And then I turned the conversation back to their ill loved one and their experience. Was this an OK personal disclosure? I feel as if I'll keep my personal "stuff" private next time...

allnurses Guide

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,778 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 21 years experience.

Perfectly fine and appropriate.

RNperdiem, RN

4,591 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

This barely counts as personal disclosure to acknowledge that you know someone in common. You are fine, especially when you realized the conversation was heading into territory you wanted to avoid, so you turned things back to patient needs. 

When your thread listed "personal info" I imagined a tell-all about your health problems, your family drama, etc.

It is an individual thing where you draw the line on personal information. In healthcare, less is more. But there are some people with certain personalities who can get away with what I would consider oversharing. 


Specializes in orthopedic/trauma, Informatics, diabetes. Has 11 years experience.

I share things that I have in common with pts. For example, if a pt tells me their grandson plays in marching band, I share that both of mine did. We compare instruments. 

I just know to stay away from religion and politics. 

Michelle D-J, BSN, RN

1 Article; 40 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg and Travel Nursing.

I think you were absolutely appropriate. I have run into the same situation many times, and it does take some "dancing" to steer some patients back to themselves and the situation at hand... LOL