Crossing professional boundary.

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    These questions are for any nurses who would like to respond.

    Do you know of any situations in your nursing history regarding a nurse crossing professional boundaries?

    How do we maintain professional relationships? What are some warning signs that the professional relationship the becoming unprofessional? Is there anything wrong with becoming personally involved with a client?

    Nursing Student (SLU)
    Helen
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  3. 22 Comments so far...

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    My facility actually has a policy on becoming personally involved with patients.
    You can (and will) be fired for crossing that line. The policy goes so far as to state that a staff member cannot become involved with a patient unitl at least 6 months has passed from his/her discharge date.
    I recently had to say goodbye to a very good nurse who decided to ignore the policy and was fired for dating a patient before he was fully discharged.
    It seems unfair but the policy is actually there to protect the patients and the staff. If you can't decide on a personal level what the right thing to do is, check your facility's policies... it could save your job!
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    What are some warning signs that the professional relationship the becoming unprofessional? Is there anything wrong with becoming personally involved with a client?
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    Yes, I have a good story.
    I know a nurse who is married to a patient that she took care of. On his discharge he gave her his phone number and they ended up getting married. I think that is extremely unprofessional and I wonder what was happening while he was still admitted.
    Of course it's wrong to become personally involved with a client. The nurse-patient relationship is there for the health needs of the patient, nothing more.
    Warning signs would be: thinking about that particular patient on your days off, looking forward to taking care of the patient, doing things for that patient that you wouldn't typically do for other patients, sharing personal information with the patient and the list goes on.
    If a patient is asking for personal information and things that cross the line, you need to stop the patient. You have a professional obligation to do so, you shouldn't be blending social relationships with the people you care for.
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    In the LTC I used to work in, the PM shift supervisor started a romance with a CNA, caused MUCH hard feelings among the staff, due to real and percieved favoritism, quite a few employees went to the Administration,to ask them to at least seperate the two off the same unit, same shift and the only answer they recieved was, "its none of your business!" " I trust her judgement explicitly!". I agree that what goes on away from the facility is none of our business, but they made no bones about being a couple at work, "honey" this and "honey" that, etc. I guess after the PM shift supervisor's CNA boyfriend was arrested at work, the administration finally agreed to have them work differnt shifts or different floors. Can you imagine calling your supervisor "honey"? HA!
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Jan 24, '07
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    Sometimes it isn't so noticable. I think that people shouldn't get away with having a nurse-patient relationship. Sometimes it could be discriminatory to others and disrespectful. Having a certain amount of time from the patient's discharged date is a good policy in my eyes.
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    If anyone has any more stories about crossing the line in regards to nurse-patient relationships please feel free to post. I am finding it very interesting and beneficial.
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    Quote from VegRN
    Yes, I have a good story.
    I know a nurse who is married to a patient that she took care of. On his discharge he gave her his phone number and they ended up getting married. I think that is extremely unprofessional and I wonder what was happening while he was still admitted.
    Of course it's wrong to become personally involved with a client. The nurse-patient relationship is there for the health needs of the patient, nothing more.
    Warning signs would be: thinking about that particular patient on your days off, looking forward to taking care of the patient, doing things for that patient that you wouldn't typically do for other patients, sharing personal information with the patient and the list goes on.
    If a patient is asking for personal information and things that cross the line, you need to stop the patient. You have a professional obligation to do so, you shouldn't be blending social relationships with the people you care for.
    I have a relative who married a patient's son. Nothing went on until the patient was discharged, but then they started talking and one thing led to another.
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    As long as the patient is discharged before any romantic or sexual relationship starts up I have no problem with it.
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    Quote from Batman24
    As long as the patient is discharged before any romantic or sexual relationship starts up I have no problem with it.
    Same here.
    I know 3 nurses who have married men who were their patients when they met and one who dated a guy who was formerly a patient. I know that in at least 2 of those cases the guy asked for the RN's phone number on the last day they saw them as a patient. I never heard of any innappropiate behavior on eigther side of the equation. All of the relationships started after the patient had been discharged.
    ~Jen


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