I work an introductory job as a technician in a busy hospital. I manage equipment, conduct various tests on patients, and record information I obtain.
Because I’m directly working with the patients, communication is going to be a large part of the process; especially since I want them to be relaxed and comfortable.
Normally it just involves simple descriptions of what I’m doing or questions/answers that are isolated within a medical context. Occasionally though, I’ll receive a personal question.
Most times they’re just simple questions like:
- How did you start working here?
- Where are you from?
- Do you like it here?
Although, there’s a few extra talkative patients who like having more involved conversations. Most of the time, I actually enjoy obligingly answering and responding to what they’re saying.
However, I recently experienced a patient asking me about my relationship status. They were talking about their own child (who was my age) and mentioned how they were getting married and how I stood in that area.
I recently have undergone a pretty rough breakup and talking or thinking about it isn’t something I’m currently comfortable doing with anyone; especially a patient.
For this occasion, I politely smiled and said I’m still single and then told them I had to go check some details (which I did luckily in this case). However, there may be cases where I’m forced to stay there to finish a process. This is a question I expect to be asked more, so I want to narrow down a graceful way towards handling it for the future.
How can I let them know I’m not comfortable with talking about that part of my life?
I don’t want to leave it open to discussion or their pity; subtlety is important to me.
It’s also very important I don’t negatively impress them at all because my job depends on professionalism and keeping patients happy.