When being a patient...


Ok I realize this has probably been asked before but when you as a nurse find yourself having to be a patient do you inform those taking care of you that you are indeed a nurse or do you plead ignorance? My approach is usually to plead ignorance which is kinda fun sometimes.

Or any stories about having to be a patient and disclosing yourself as a nurse?

Or any self created rules about being a patient?


18 Posts

I had surgery recently at a different hospital from where I work. My plan was to not mention being a nurse unless I was directly asked what I did for a living or where I work. Not 10 minutes after I got back to pre-op I was recognized by a surgical resident (not on my case) who called me by my first name, asked what I was doing there (really? I'm on a stretcher and wearing nothing but a hospital gown...I'll give you three guesses), and loudly in the presence of my nurse told the resident on my case "take good care of her, she's my favorite charge nurse".

He's a super sweet guy, and great doctor so I didn't get too annoyed at him for outting me. :)

Specializes in Critical Care.

The few times I was a patient I didn't bring it up. I figure I'm a patient and not a nurse then and don't want to make anyone nervous. But during one brief hospital stay an old coworker heard I was there and came to visit me. Otherwise the only one who knows I'm a nurse is my Dr because he knows me from work.

Also I prefer anonymity and have been able to go to other hospitals then where I work when I had better insurance. Now I'm limited to going to a hospital in our system unless I want to pay many thousands more for a second tier hospital. I can't tell you how much I wish we had national health care and could go to any hospital and pharmacy without being penalized.


237 Posts

Specializes in EDUCATION;HOMECARE;MATERNAL-CHILD; PSYCH. Has 25 years experience.

When I was having my last child in another hospital, I did not disclose that I am a Labor and Delivery Nurse. My Doctor was on vacation so another covering Doctor came to do the delivery. Four hours into the labor, the Doctor took a look at the fetal monitor and told me that I needed Cesarean Section STAT because the baby's heart rate was going down.

I was puzzled because I am a fetal heart rate instructor. The baby's heart rate was WNL, and there were no decelerations. I told the Doctor my interpretation of the fetal heart. He then asked me, “You got all that from the internet?" My husband got upset and curtly told the Doctor that I am a Nurse, and ordered him out of the delivery room. I refused the Cesarean Section and requested another Doctor to do the delivery. Luckily, a Midwife agreed to do the delivery.

Later on, I heard that the Doctor had a golf tournament that he was missing. Anyway, the baby came out via vaginal delivery… and healthy!


1,335 Posts

Specializes in hospice.

^^^^People for some reason think I'm lying when I tell them stuff like that happens. How I wish I were.

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JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

There is only one hospital here, and it is self insured, so I really haven't had a choice about where I go. One of my students was in the OR observing the day I had my mastectomies, people I'd worked with for 20 years were my nurses (except the newbie that stuck me twice for my IV :( ); the night nursing supervisor blocked the other bed in my room to give me a private room. Well, there are compensations!

I just tell people, no, this is NOT my area of expertise and please talk to me about what is going on! I have never worked post op floors, and its been over 20 since I was on an oncology floor. PLEASE tell me there is something new in oncology!

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

I don't come right out and say it, but I'm always outted when my proud parents come to visit and tell everyone that walks in the room that I'm a nurse or by a question I ask. Or when I restart my own IV pump when it occluded just because I bent my arm (though ALL of my oncology patients do this too). I remember one nurse finding out that I was an RN last admission and overhearing her include it in report outside my door from then on. Another nurse there sat on my bed at 0200 and asked if I could get her a job at my hospital.

Mr. Murse

403 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access. Has 12 years experience.

I've never been a patient (knock on wood) but I can almost always tell a nurse or medical professional when I have one as a patient or when a family member is one. It will inevitably slip at some point in a conversation in the terminology they use or questions they ask. So unless you intentionally play dumb, you will probably out yourself anyway.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

I don't bring it up, if I am asked I will admit to it. But even if my doctors don't outright ask, they figure it out within 5 minutes of starting to talk to me.

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VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

I used to work at the hospital where I go for care, so everybody knows me well. It's funny because they fall all over each other taking care of me. My family members get the same treatment, so it's not such a bad thing. :)

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

When I was a patient, everyone ended up knowing because how my situation occurred; more staff ended up finding out because of how I was communicating.

Some care was better than others, but they tried their best.

Now that I am starting a position within the same health system I use, it will be very interesting how my care is handled (excellent IMHO) or my how I am billed. ;)

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7,058 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.

I don't ever say anything but it seems like I give myself away describing symptoms as I slip into medical jargon without quite realizing it.

It gets the point across so very much more efficiently!

If someone who is new is doing a procedure I display a saintly patience with them. I don't want to be accused of eating my young even if they don't know I'm a nurse... :-D