Gifts from Patients?

  1. Today was my 1st clinical at Med-Surg unit. It went out great (except those butterflies knots in my tummy). At the end of the shift, my client wanted to give me gifts (small gifts like phone card, canteen coupon, magazine...etc).

    Am I "allowed" to receive anything from patient cares?? I know I'm not supposed to take their money n' stuff, what about gifts?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   jemb
    Most facilities will allow you to accept small gits from patients, but each facility has its own rules. Your school probably also has guidelines. Your instructor would be able to tell you.

    If the school doesn't have guidelines, it should. It's not unusual for patients to offer small gifts to staff members and students to whom they have 'taken a liking'. Your instructor might appreciate your asking, so he/she could prepare the rest of your class for the possibility before someone else ends up in an awkward position not knowing how to handle it.
  4. by   nekhismom
    I was given a flower once from a pt. who was being discharged. I thought it was sweet. The instructors thought it was inappropriate. Just have to find out the policy.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    We've gotten cookies from pt.'s family several times, especially around the holidays. The NM found out that this is ok to do.
  6. by   Gompers
    When I did my psych clinical in school, a patient gave me a wooden plaque he had made. He had painted, "It takes guts to go nuts" on it.

    When I showed it to my instructor later that day, she was laughing too hard to bother with rules and regulations.

    Nowadays, in my unit we are allowed to take presents from our babies' parents. I've never seen something inappropriate given, like over $20 or so. But we take care of these kids for months sometimes, and there are no rules here about not accepting a token of appreciation. Usually it's stuffed animals or hand lotions, things like that. Most often the families bring us tons of food on the day of discharge.
  7. by   beausud
    hey all, i got $5 from an elderly pt. once. i refused ofcourse (i was a student) citing that i was simply doing my job etc... she said that she realized this and that she knew that i could've gone in there and simply do just that. the $5 was for bringing a smile to her day. she also said that her kids were all grown up and that she didnt need the money. later on i found out that w/ certain ethnic backgrounds, refusing this could be miscontrued as an insult. i enjoyed that cup of coffee..turns out SHE inturn made that clinical day that much more enjoyable.
  8. by   LydiaGreen
    Don't just check your facility's policy on this issue, check your governing body's rules and regulations on the issue as well (governing body being whatever board of nurses oversees your particular area). It is inappropriate for one nurse to accept a gift from any client here. It is also grounds for being reported to the board of nurses. Gifts of baking, etc made to the entire staff are another issue however, any gift to one single person is a big no-no. This is one area where culture is irrelevant, as far as the board is concerned. These rules and regulations are in place for a reason - to prevent patients from being taken advantage of by the professionals that they are grateful to. I know it should not happen, but has happened in the past, bringing about the creation of these rules and regulations. As students applying to and governed by the board in our area, we are bound by the same rules and regulations as registered nurses and can be kicked out of school for not following them.
  9. by   barefootlady
    I was taught, in the dark ages, gifts for the unit;i.e. cookies, candy, flowers were approiate and acceptable. No individual gifts other than a card, a rose, or gum were allowed. I have turned down some NICE gifts, but I could accept them for doing my assignment. Some places I have worked allowed a personal gift of no more than $50.00, wow, some gift. Other facilities allowed no personal gifts. I like the no personal gifts allowed policy. It seemed like we were all working for the good of the patient and not trying to see who got what from this "rich" patient .
  10. by   findingmywayRN
    Where I work accepting gifts from patients is a big no no. It is even grounds for dismissal because of the chance the gift givers will get preferential treatment by the staff. I've never heard of nurses being allowed to accept gifts, infact! If patients bring in food or something it is expected to be shared with the staff.
  11. by   CarolineRn
    Quote from C'wing
    Today was my 1st clinical at Med-Surg unit. It went out great (except those butterflies knots in my tummy). At the end of the shift, my client wanted to give me gifts (small gifts like phone card, canteen coupon, magazine...etc).

    Am I "allowed" to receive anything from patient cares?? I know I'm not supposed to take their money n' stuff, what about gifts?

    As a second semester nursing student, I was assigned to a gentleman who kept telling me how many businesses he had owned, all the countries he had traveled to, etc.. he was a veru nice man, never behaved inappropriately or even gave me the impression that he was trying to. As the morning progressed, his wife came in and she was also very nice. When it was time for me to leave, I went in to say goodbye, and the wife gave me a hug and the husband started saying, "we want you to have something." The wife handed me a fifty dollar bill!! I politely but adamnatly refused, and they persisted until I told them that it was considered unethical, and that I could get into a LOT of trouble with my nursing instructor. They relented, but insisted on giving me something. The lady took two silver dollars out of her wallet and said that it was not for me, but to give to my children. When I told my instructor and classmates in post-conference, they all said I was crazy not to take the fifty bucks!! My instructor agreed with me that it was unethical, although she was laughing at the comments of my greedy classmates! She didnt have a problem with the silver dollars either.
  12. by   Agnus
    Quote from CarolineRn
    As a second semester nursing student, I was assigned to a gentleman who kept telling me how many businesses he had owned, all the countries he had traveled to, etc.. he was a veru nice man, never behaved inappropriately or even gave me the impression that he was trying to. As the morning progressed, his wife came in and she was also very nice. When it was time for me to leave, I went in to say goodbye, and the wife gave me a hug and the husband started saying, "we want you to have something." The wife handed me a fifty dollar bill!! I politely but adamnatly refused, and they persisted until I told them that it was considered unethical, and that I could get into a LOT of trouble with my nursing instructor. They relented, but insisted on giving me something. The lady took two silver dollars out of her wallet and said that it was not for me, but to give to my children. When I told my instructor and classmates in post-conference, they all said I was crazy not to take the fifty bucks!! My instructor agreed with me that it was unethical, although she was laughing at the comments of my greedy classmates! She didnt have a problem with the silver dollars either.
    Most not for profit hospitals have a charitable foundation. It these situations where cash is involved and they insist, it is appropriate to get the appropriate paper work (for making foundation contributions) and accept it in the name of the foundation. Also it should always be made very clear to the person giving the money that is the only way we will accept gifts.
  13. by   C'wing
    Thank you Thank you for all your responses.

    Looks like I need to be more careful w/ "gifts" next time.
  14. by   purplemania
    Be careful not to cross the line of professionalism. It is easy to do when you begin to consider a patient on a personal level. That is one reason most facilities discourage gifts of significance, like money. Pizza and candy to share with co-workers is generally ok.

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