Visitors in Patient Rooms...Newbie advice!

Nurses General Nursing


I am a nursing student and I find on clinical rotations I am having difficulty with how to handle visitors in patient's rooms. Specifically, when I need to perform nursing cares and a spouse and/or next-door neighbor are visiting (or maybe others where I'm unsure of their status). Since I am still new, I'm not confident about how I should be handling this.

Do you ask people to wait in the hall or in the family room? I am still feeling my way around this and I'm sure I'm not as assertive as I need to be, but mainly it's because I don't know what to say and I haven't seen any experienced nurses handle this situation.

Any help from the pros is welcome!

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,540 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Nothing wrong at all with asking them to leave. Unless I'm going to be just listening to lungs or passing meds, I always ask them to leave. Most reasonable people, emphasis on most, don't mind leaving.

There are times when the family can help. If it's a patient who is going to go home to the care of the familiy member it is also appropriate to do teaching, have them help, etc.

You just have to take each situation as it arrives.

Good luck. :)


652 Posts

I always ask visitors in the room to step outside for a procedure/treatment for their privacy..if the pt wants hubby,Mom,ect. to stay, that's fine with's just respectful to offer them the option of privacy. :)


652 Posts

p.s.- a lot of times the pt wants the visitors to leave but don't know how to tell them...we get to be the 'bad guy'

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I work in an ER and always ask the patient if they would like privacy while we do whatever? That usually works.

nurseygrrl, LPN

445 Posts

Specializes in HIV/AIDS, Dementia, Psych.

I work in LTC and I always ask the visitor to wait outside. I don't feel comfortable doing what I have to do with a pair of eyes watching me. Whenever I'd let someone stay in the room, they'd end up putting their 2 cents in...'Is that dressing too tight'? Why are you doing this or that'? It's just easier with them out of the room.

On another note, if family is in visiting and something I have to do can wait, I usually wait until the visitor leaves so my patient can have a nice uninterrupted visit.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

If there is only one person and I know they are a spouse or same sex child I say "I'm going to examine your ____now. Would you like to stay or go?"

If the patient is lucid I explain that I need to do something, and say "Would you like your visitors to stay or go?"

Then I let them know about how long I will be, and make sure they know where the cafeteria or waiting area is.


754 Posts

Specializes in Everything but psych!.

I usually go in and say, "I need to do ..... now. It will take me about ____ minutes. Would you like to go to the cafeteria to get some coffee? Or would you like to go to the lounge?" If they go to the lounge, I tell them I will come to get them as soon as we're done.


132 Posts

i am nursing student too. if i do not have to hurry to do my tasks, i wait till pt will be alone after visitation. if you need to do anything just ask visitors to leave room while you do the treatment or others. it is your right to give pt privacy and to keep both of you comfortable at any situation. when it is like take BP i do it, but any more "complicated" tasks i want to feel good and the same with my pt.

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