Re: Is this really shingles or could it be something else?
I guess it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that, just as a coincidence, two people develop shingles at the same time; however, when that nurse was saying that there is shingles "going around", she was obviously mistaken because Zoster is not contagious in that way. If someone has disseminated zoster (i.e. involving a very wide area of the body) the person is likely also shedding it when they breathe out, but for someone who's already had Varicella (chicken pox), you're immune anyway.
No one on this board can make a dermatologic diagnosis of any kind because no one can actually SEE the rash. If the rash was a painful/burning blistery rash involving one side of the body in a specific "strap-like" area, then it probably IS Zoster, but you'd need a trained health professional to make a proper diagnosis.