Not affectionate enough???

  1. 0
    I was recently informed that I am not affectionate enough with my toddler patient. I play with him, do plenty of activities with him, give him a pat on the head when I get there...not when I leave since he's still asleep. A couple of the other nurses kiss on him often, rock him to sleep, etc. Personally, I'm not comfortable to do all of that....especially kissing on him. I have rocked him to sleep a few times, but usually he falls asleep on his own. As a mother, I don't think I would want people kissing all over my child...especially a young child on a vent...too many germs.

    I take excellent care of him and I am kind to him. Am I wrong in thinking that it is the parents job to come in and kiss on him? Wondering if I should start looking for another case.

    Scratching my head...insight please...

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 21 Comments...

  3. 3
    I personally have a problem with this also. I have heard of and see other nurses do so, I just personally think that it is unprofessional and yes, an unnecessary way to spread germs. Most of my patients have been older (teens), so I don't really have to play with them, but I do sit and talk with them, and my main patient (my older guy) I do not kiss on him but will rub his head and provide reassurance. I am there with you on that!
  4. 2
    Kissing kids is off limits for me...a hug perhaps, plenty of high fives, hand holding is ok.
    Regardless if we work with kids, there is still a duty to have boundaries...there is still a pt-nurse relationship that we must maintain.

    It seems as though a bit if a red flag to be, um "affectionate" towards pts. It's just not professional, IMHO.
    Not_A_Hat_Person and Tired_Mommy like this.
  5. 2
    I have a A&O teen client on whom I bestow a goodnight smooch on top of her head through her blanket, but that's part of our rapport and she's ok w that. I don't kiss any of my other clients. I may give a cuddle or rock a client but kissing is a good way to get a client sick. Maybe you can spook mom out of her preference for nurses to kiss and cuddle if you talk about all the germs nurses can bring into the house! Affection is a slippery slope. That's how professionals can get into trouble.
    Tired_Mommy and poppycat like this.
  6. 2
    My one client practices kissing/kiss face as part of oral motor exercises. But 'air kisses' Or 'kissy face' are what we 'practice' We save actual kisses for family.

    I'll give him a hug upon request as this is one of his few words. It cracks him up.

    I try and think like I would of a total stranger so my 'I loves' are limited to 'I love..,,your smile, laugh, happiness, cute cheeks, progress, personality, etc. I wouldn't walk up to a random child and declare love, but I might say I love your smile or I love your outfit....

    I think the issue too is when other nurses on a case overstep professional boundaries whether its extra tasks, gift giving, overly affectionate, etc and make it more difficult when the next nurse follows company policy and respects professional boundaries.
    Tired_Mommy and poppycat like this.
  7. 1
    My question to the OP is, where did you receive the feedback from? Was it from the parents, or the nurses in passing on a shift??? I'm just curious on this particular "feedback"...It is particularly head-scratching for me as well.
    Tired_Mommy likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    I think the issue too is when other nurses on a case overstep professional boundaries whether its extra tasks, gift giving, overly affectionate, etc and make it more difficult when the next nurse follows company policy and respects professional boundaries.
    That would be my impression as well. If it is coming from the child's parents it definitely should be explored further so that unverbalized expectations can be discussed as well as personal differences in how one expresses caring.

    Coming from other nurses on the case I wouldn't be concerned about it. Some nurses displays of affection to clients of all ages make me uncomfortable, but being the more reserved type has never caused me a problem.
    Tired_Mommy likes this.
  9. 3
    I was an ADON at a long term care facility geared specifically to medically fragile & DD kids. Almost all of our residents had minimal to no family contact after admission so our direct care staff were pretty affectionate with most of the children as were many of the nurses. Since most of our residents lacked any bio or adoptive or foster families to provide them with expressions of affection and attention I never fussed at my staff for giving hugs, cuddles or kisses on the cheeks or top of the head. Each of us had certain residents that sparked affectionate responses in us and each child seemed to have at least 1 person who "loved" them so the kids thrived on the extra attention. However those children who did have active family participation were the ones that I encouraged the staff to keep the "lovey-dovey" to a minimum since they had family members to give them those smoochies and hugs that all children need to thrive.

    Having said that whenever I did private duty care I was adamant about maintaining professional boundaries regarding physical expressions of affection and attention. Those patients had families to give them that necessary physical affection and my job didn't need to include that for proper mental and emotional development in the child. Personally in PD situations I am very uncomfortable observing fellow nurses violating those professional boundaries.
  10. 0
    Sorry to have taken so long to respond to your comments, I've been working some extra shifts.

    I was told this by one of the other supposedly was said to her by the Mom. I haven't addressed the issue with the parents as yet. Part of me thinks it could have actually been said by the parents because the Mom had mentioned several other nurses they have had in the past...and ALL of the things "wrong" with their care.

    I hate to rock the boat by speaking with the parents just in case they honestly did not say this. I would hate to think that my co-worker would be dishonest with me, but I try to take every thing with a grain of salt.

    On the other hand, it makes me wonder if perhaps I'm really NOT affectionate enough. I worked in LTC in the past and always noticed other staff being very "lovey" with the seniors. I was always very respectful towards them and occasion did hug them if they initiated it. I'm not cold hearted, I'm simply not a touchy feely person. I would like to think that I show that I truly care about my patients by the way I speak with them and care for them. My evaluations were always wonderful and my lack of "huggy/kissy" actions was never mentioned.

    Regarding the comment about other nurses doing more than required...this is the case with my current patient. During orientation with this company, our DON was adamant about what is NOT to be done...such as laundry, watching the other children, getting too buddy-buddy with the family outside of work, etc. Laundry baskets of the patient's clothing are left out for us to fold and put away, the siblings are often in the patient's room watching TV with him while the parents are in other areas of the home, we have been asked to help house train the new puppy and other little things that I feel are not nursing responsibilities. The other nurses buy gifts for the patient and the siblings for the holidays and birthdays. They buy crafting supplies, laundry bags, and other odds and ends with their own money. To each their, I guess but I have my own to provide for.
  11. 2
    Not to change the subject but not once but twice this happened, with two separate clients: I was asked to just keep an eye on their vacationing neighbor's house across the street overnight! Both instances were in very affluent neighborhoods. I casually said ok, but I didn't really do it, I figured people in those sorts of neighborhoods a) have burglar alarms, and b) lots of insurance.

    I don't mind doing laundry for clients, I consider light housekeeping for the CLIENT ONLY to be part of the job. One time, the mom of an A&O teen suggested that her nurses do what would otherwise her share of the household chores if she were capable, like take out the kitchen garbage. My teen knew better that that was not part of our job description, and never asked me to do anything like that.
    Tired_Mommy and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors