Okay, I know many are about to jump on here and say, "NO!!!! DON'T DO IT!!!!" but first, hear me out.
First, let me be clear that I have NOT acted unprofessionally in any way in this situation. Now, let me give you the scenario:
I'm a 24 yo single male staff nurse in my third year. For the last 4 days, I've been caring for a 20 yo female patient with viral pneumonia. She expressed to me that she was feeling very alone because she's a college student and her parents live more than 1000 miles away and she has no family in the area.
So, naturally, I made a point as part of her care plan to visit her whenever possible so that she might not feel so alone. Well, she clearly likes to talk. I would pretty much simply say hello and ask how she's feeling and she just talks and talks, even with the pneumonia! I actually haven't disclosed a whole lot about myself, certainly no more than I would to any other patient, but in my conversations with her, it is absolutely amazing how much she and I have in common. She has the most infectious smile.
In the last two days, it's becoming apparent that she may have a similar interest in me. A couple other nurses on my wing have told me that she's been asking when I'll be around. Also yesterday she felt the need to tell me about her past relationships with guys and how they never seemed to care much about anything but themselves and how she hasn't dated anyone since last winter.... you know, the typical "Hey, I'm available, hint, hint" discussion. I'm about 80% sure that she's hoping I'll ask her out just by the hints she's dropping.
Now before I go further, let me make it known that yes, I've had several other young female patients before, a couple of whom I must admit were probably more attractive than this young lady. And yes, I know about the concept of transference. And I'm experienced enough to understand and feel the typical nurse/patient connection that develops. This isn't that.
Now, back on track. I have NEVER expressed these feelings toward her in any overt way, or even to my co-workers. I have not given her undue time that I wouldn't give to another patient. She doesn't even know for sure that I'm single, unless another nurse has told her that, which I doubt.
I've decided that if all possible, I'd like to ask this girl out AFTER she is discharged either Friday or Saturday, but I'm not sure what my options are. I could either say in my last visit with her, that it would be nice to talk to her again some time, but I don't think that's the right approach. Should I talk it over with our ethics adviser? She's very busy and that just doesn't seem like the right way to go either. Writing down her phone number from her records and calling her after discharge certainly wouldn't be ethical.
Another possibility is that I am most likely to be the one to wheel her to the exit on her discharge. Perhaps that might be the right time to speak to her briefly about possibly getting together for coffee or something, because as soon as she gets out of that chair, she's technically not my patient anymore. The last possibility is to not say anything and instead look her up at her school some time next week. That might be the best option.
I just don't want to be thinking back saying "what-if" 20 years from now. You just don't get a lot of chances at happiness and after dating plenty of girls, I just have a strong feeling she might be the one for me. Either way, I've got to find out. Thanks for reading.
Oct 8, '08
You sound like a really nice guy, good luck to you! I'm not sure the ethical answer to your problem, you probably should wait for a while. Maybe you can just 'happen' to run into her at a coffee bar that you both 'happen' to frequent.
Last edit by FireStarterRN on Oct 8, '08
Oct 8, '08
by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
I'm not going to say, "No, don't!!!", but I will be a bit of a rain cloud:
Right now, you may be looking good to her because she's in the hospital with a lot of time on her hands and not a whole lot to do with it, and you just happen to be there frequently interacting with her. Plus as you said, she's far away from home and lonely. Perhaps there's a spark that she really feels...or perhaps she's just amusing herself with some flirtation to pass the time.
And she may be looking good to you because she's showing (or you think she's showing) this interest, and because you get to spend several hours a day with her, getting pretty much her exclusive attention. Perhaps there's a real spark you're feeling too...or perhaps it's just a feeling of excitement because she's livening up what would be an otherwise dull work week.
Once she's discharged and you're not around each other all shift, she--and you--might feel differently about things. So unless she asks you out first, definitely wait a week or so after she is discharged to do anything. Then, if she's still on your mind, do the "bump into her" bit.
If a relationship was meant to be, it will happen regardless of whether you ask her out now or at the Y in a week/month/whenever. If it wasn't meant to be, you'll either have forgotten about bumping into her, or will probably get the message in the first bump or two.
Sorry to be that rain cloud, but better you consider the possibility now before you go any further and risk embarassment on either/both parties
Last edit by Meriwhen on Oct 8, '08