HELP! Social question-over the line?

  1. Hi, I am a pedi nurse and was a primary RN for a patient for about a year and then they got discharged and went back home out of state. I became friends with the mom and the little patient. Now they are coming back to be readmitted and I would like for them to stay with me for a couple of nights prior to this, the mom asked me if this was okay. My question is: is this something I could get in trouble for? Could I lose me license? Could I be fired? Can I still be friends with the mom when she is in the hospital?(do dinner, etc).. I cannot find anything online on this .. help!
  2. Visit jlove1821 profile page

    About jlove1821

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 5; Likes: 1


  3. by   TheCommuter
    The boundaries of the nurse/patient relationship would definitely be crossed if you invited this mother and her child to stay with you.

    The only way that this arrangement would be acceptable is if you were to provide no care to the child while in the hospital.
  4. by   jlove1821
    I guess my question : i know its frowned upon, but can I get in trouble for it? Just mostly want to know what the repercussions could be?

    and this is a first for me.. but it is so difficult with this family. And I am on maternity leave, so I am not currently working..
  5. by   Scarlette Wings

    ouch. i understand how much you care and that you want to extend friendship and assistance; but the first thing that you possess (and other people in similar circumstances do not have) is a nursing license. that said, you are always a nurse first in the eyes of anyone outside of the healthcare field. the license can imply to those outsiders that any relationship a nurse has outside of work can be interpreted as a contractual agreement. people have different expectations from nurses and doctors than they do other professions.

    that said, licensed healthcare professionals are held to a higher standard and there are expectations placed on us, and whether it is fair or right has nothing to do with it. i used to do home health care and some of my patients would need a ride to the doctor's office or hospital and even though it may be less than 2 miles, i knew that i had better not do it. my insurance would not cover it if i were in an accident and if the person gets sick, injured, or hurt while under your care, right or wrong, you can be sued and your license threatened.

    even if they are staying in your house and you state "i am not acting in a nurse capactity doing this" if anything happens, they will expect you to intervene and you will be held to that nursing standard. people will turn on you faster than greased lightening if something went wrong. same thing can happen if a neighbor comes banging on your door to ask you to look at their child's throat or to help with dressing changes.

    it is important to establish that line of separation early and remember never to practice nursing outside of your place of employment and that you will forever have a license that can be challenged or threatened. i would suggest that you not do it. there is too much to loose for you, even with the best intentions and the most sincere heart.
  6. by   Leelee2
    Since you are on maternity leave, and not currently working I don't see an issue with having this friend stay with you for a few days. What would you be in trouble for?
  7. by   jlove1821
    Quote from Leelee2
    Since you are on maternity leave, and not currently working I don't see an issue with having this friend stay with you for a few days. What would you be in trouble for?
    thats my question .. is there anything I could get in trouble for?
  8. by   canesdukegirl
    My knee jerk reaction is to steer clear. Do you have any hesitation with calling your NM and posing this question to her? If so, then there is your answer.
  9. by   Mrs. Sparkle Pants
    Hmmm...this is tough...does your facility have a policy about giving patients personal information? Do you think they would be okay with you contacting the family? I was thinking it might be better if you could help them find a hotel room and do dinner or something instead of having them at your house. I completely understand where you are coming from though! I am a giver, and I have a hard time leaving work at work!
  10. by   mentalhealthRN
    Gotta agree here. Having them at your home seems very innappropriate. And yeah meeting somewhere for dinner before the child is admitted sounds okay but thats it. And certainly you could visit the child in the hospital.
  11. by   aerorunner80
    I am replying to this before reading the other replies.

    I would not do it. If her child were being treated at a different hospital in town where you aren't working then it would be a friend helping out a friend.

    Lines could easily be crossed which could have an effect on the care of her child. IMHO.
  12. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    You certainly *could* get in trouble though I think it's unlikely.

    Personally, though, the *could* would be enough for me to steer clear.
  13. by   merlee
    If you are on maternity leave, and will have no responsibility for the child, then I can't imagine what the problem would be.

    I think we live in a time of alarmists, and you would have no more responsibility to them than to any ordinary guest in your home. If you had a neighbor's child in your home and they fell and got hurt, you would do first aid, call the parents, call 911 if needed.

    Have a good time!

    Best wishes!
  14. by   llg
    You crossed the line of appropriateness a long time ago. You became over-involved on a personal basis with this family and are now finding out how messy these things can be. The messiness is why you shouldn't cross the line in the first place.

    Having the family stay in your home could get you in trouble at work, particularly if they have a policy about maintaining appropriate professional relationships. At the very least, it will give you a bad reputation as being "young and foolish" and "over-involved" that may hurt your career.

    I suggest nipping the problem in the bud now before anything really bad happens. Don't have them stay at your house. Maybe meet them for a snack or meal at the hospital ... and start putting the relationship back into the professional realm where it belongs. Be friendly and caring, but pull back a little and maintain appropriate boundaries.

    llg -- an old, experienced nurse who works in a children's hospital