Encouraging peds parents to call/text the nurse during off-hours? Common occurrence?

  1. 2
    In my job, I work closely with the NICU. It's not uncommon for there to be patients who are there for months at a time, and so there will often be a nurse who is a "primary" - she will take care of a particular baby every time she works. As a result, she gets to know the parents well. Apparently, some of these nurses develop, what I would consider, perhaps unhealthy blurring of nurse/patient boundaries. The nurse will encourage these parents to text or call her when she's not working if they have questions about the baby's care or wellbeing (rather than directing their questions to the nurse or physician who IS working). It seems that these nurses are encouraging the fostering of an unhealthy codependent relationship with the parents, wherein they're getting the parents to rely on her to the exclusion of the other care providers. It just seems inappropriate to me.

    What are your thoughts on this practice?
    maelstrom143 and MattNurse like this.
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 5
    It's wrong, I agree with you. And it undermines the other nursing staff if the nurse taking care of that patient on that shift also has the parents checking with another nurse not at bedside.
    maelstrom143, KimberlyRN89, wooh, and 2 others like this.
  4. 4
    It is obviously inappropriate.
    KimberlyRN89, Jessy_RN, canoehead, and 1 other like this.
  5. 1
    Not a good idea. I can understand building a very strong relationship, and even becoming very attached to a family, HOWEVER you have to have limits. This exceeds all of them.
    wooh likes this.
  6. 3
    Totally inappropriate. Where I work, that sort of thing can get you in trouble -- and if it continues after the employee gets some counseling, the nurse could even lose her job.
    Lynstat1, Gold_SJ, and Purple_Scrubs like this.
  7. 4
    Agree with all of the above. It is potentially very divisive and fraught with conflict. Leadership should formally discourage this practice.
    KimberlyRN89, wooh, Gold_SJ, and 1 other like this.
  8. 3
    Not only professionally inappropriate, but potentially dangerous. These relationships can sometimes go south when a baby suffers a setback or fails to progress as hoped. Parents can become irrational and take their frustrations out on the nurse(s) who were once their "best friends."
    wooh, Gold_SJ, and Spidey's mom like this.
  9. 1
    Agree with everyone else, inappropriate also risky. If a parent is ringing to check on her baby and the nurse isn't even with the neonate, what if she gives false reassurace? The babe could of crashed in the next shift and the nurse mightn't be aware.

    Blurring these sort of boundaries can also foster distrust between the babe's family and other nursing staff, which is counterproductive. It'd be frustrating for the team if a mother only wants X nurse to care for her child, or only shares info with X nurse etc. Not good for the unit's morale.
    wooh likes this.
  10. 1
    Yes, they are blurring boundries and fostering co-dependent relationships. Questions and concerns should be directed to the nurse taking care of the patient at the time, not the "primary" nurse who is not working. Here's my question--what happens when parents calls/texts the "primary" with a complaint or question regarding care--does the primary nurse then call the care nurse to question? Unfortunetely, this practice will probably stop when a primary nurse puts in for OT due to too many texts. This does seem to be something to bring up to your NM for clarification. Either these "primary" nurses are glorifying themselves as the only nurse capable of taking care of the baby, which in itself fosters a huge mistrust in the care of another nurse, or there is some sort of policy in place that the primary nurse needs to be "on call" for this......but I think that is what the doctor is for.....
    maelstrom143 likes this.
  11. 0
    Moved to Pediatric Nursing to get input from more of our pediatric nurses and to see how common this practice is.


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