The grey area of patient contact and professionalism

  1. I had an experience with a patient who happens to have a very interesting diagnosis and requires total care. He is completely dependent on others, he is chair or bed bound and is a quadriplegic. He's been in this situation for over a year and is seeking clinical medication/treatment trials for his condition.
    He asked if he could update me on his progress and I had written my number down for him to call (he would need assistance to do so) after his next appointment. I discussed my family and husband with him (he was in the same line of work as my spouse), met his family members when they visited and I had a trusting professional relationship with him over several visits to the facility prior to giving him contact info. My instructor was confronted by the nurse on duty who insisted I apologize for giving him the info, retrieve my number and have no further contact with him. He repeatedly told the instructor that is was for follow up on his condition and he requested it, that I should have no ill consequences from this. My instructor reassured me that it didn't seem like a huge deal to her, I had consulted her on several questions he had for me previously and she was aware that I was creating my care plan on this patient. The facility asked that I not do a care plan on this patient and I was therefore left with less than an hour to compile information on another patient that I wasn't familiar with.
    Although the clinical instructor was understanding of the situation, the DON at my school is not so forgiving and we aren't on good terms. Has anyone been in a situation such as this?
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    About newtonurse

    Joined: Dec '12; Posts: 3


  3. by   DoeRN
    I never talk about my personal life with patients. I get the married and kid question almost daily and I redirect the conversation back on patient care. I see you have built a rapport with the patient and his family. Me personally I would be very uncomfortable giving out my phone number even if it is for patient disease progress. You may want to refer to your student handbook on issues like this. There maybe a policy about this listed.
  4. by   ChristineN
    I have had pts I have grown attached to over the years, but none that I have become super attached to over just a day or two (which I am assuming was all the time you had with this gentleman). However even the pts I grew attached too and got to know their families due to the pts frequent hospital stays, I never gave them my cell number or any way of personally contacting me outside of work. I have known nurse's that have done this, but IMO it isn't professional. You are lucky your clinical instructor was understanding, but I would be more cautious in the future.
  5. by   loriangel14
    Giving a patient a means of contacts you outside of work is crossing the line of professionalism.Most employers would have a problem with this.If a patient asks for personal information you have to redirect the conversation.