Have you ever been attracted to a patient?

  1. I can't believe I'm even writing this but here goes.

    Over the last few weeks I've found myself really attracted to one of our male patients. He's been on the ward for a couple months now for recurrent depression.

    Physically he's good looking and only slightly older than me. I think part of the attraction also comes from the fact that (obviously outside of our setting) he would be my type (the dark brooding musician thing). I think this attraction basically started when after a few weeks of being with us, he smiled and laughed during one of our talks and something just sparked I guess.

    That being said I'm horrified by myself. Never, ever would I act on this attraction, violate my standards or his trust. But I can't help it, I feel like I've developed a little crush on the guy. I'm not worried about my behavior as I always keep it professional, but mentally this is screwing with me.

    has this happened to any others working in a psych unit? How do you make it go away? What is wrong with me?
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    About LilaDavis

    Joined: Jan '17; Posts: 30; Likes: 6

    8 Comments

  3. by   Davey Do
    Quote from LilaDavis
    That being said I'm horrified by myself. Never, ever would I act on this attraction, violate my standards or his trust. But I can't help it, I feel like I've developed a little crush on the guy. I'm not worried about my behavior as I always keep it professional, but mentally this is screwing with me.
    I applaud your honesty and perspective, LilaDavis.

    We are free to feel any way we wish- our feelings cannot be judged. Our actions, however, can be and we will have to deal with the ramifications of those actions.

    It is good that you are bringing these feelings, pretty much anonymous, in an area where you shouldn't have to deal with any negative consequences.

    "Never, would I act on this attraction" needs to be your mantra at this time. The Forbidden Fruit appears so very sweet, but it is poisonous!

    And, yes, I have been, and continue to be in my old age, attracted to Patients. I acknowledge that attraction, remain as professional as possible, the relationship ends, and is left as two ships passing in the night.

    The best to you, LilaDavis!
  4. by   puravidaLV
    Yes I've been attracted to their fist, their spit, and most above all else endless proposals of how i can eat what rhymes with "ship"
  5. by   elkpark
    Have I ever been attracted? Yes. Have I ever acted on those feelings, or even given any indication that I was having them? No. As Davey notes, we can't control our feelings, but we can certainly control what we do about them. Tread carefully. Professional boundaries are your friends. There isn't any way I know of to "make it go away." Just ride it out; he won't be on your unit forever. If you have a more experienced colleague on the unit (nurse, social worker, psychologist) you trust, processing your feelings with that person may be helpful (I've never understood why clinical supervision, which is taken for granted in in all the other mental health professions, is so rarely utilized in psychiatric nursing).
    Last edit by elkpark on Nov 8, '17
  6. by   GeminiNurse29
    Nope. Then again, I deal with criminals and killers and everything in between who broke the law.

    How do you make it go away? Hmm for me, I would imagine losing my job, license, reputation, integrity, and everything I've worked so hard for.

    Good luck and if you can't handle it, I would ask to be transferred to another unit if possible.
  7. by   Hyacinthk
    I'm a patient,I've been in love with my psyche nurse for years,I tend to go every year to the same ward when my sleep completely stops and I have psychosis.You can read about it on my profile.Im pretty sure my nurse feels exactly the same as he's always staring at me and giving me intense glances,I just know intuitively too.He was put in another unit for awhile I think because of it,but then came back some days but he is not allowed to be my nurse, like he will be allotted to one section of the ward where I am,but will not be allowed to be my nurse.

    I think it's probably not a good idea to be this brooding guys nurse,I was so focused on him that I didn't always think through my recovery,e.g I would skip dinner and lunch if he was going to be in the dining room and I was penalised for that and delayed.But I have no doubt he is some sort of soulmate I had past life dreams about him and the like,and just feel complete utter electricity around him,very dramatic sort of love.I think it's quite unfair that nothing can happen as no one could better understand what I go through,or make a better partner.
  8. by   Meriwhen
    It's not the end of the world if you developed an attraction to a patient. You're human. You're not the first and probably not the last to have developed feelings for a patient.

    However, it's how you handle things that will determine if this turns into a disaster.

    You've already acknowledged that you have (or will have) potential boundary issues with said patient. IMO, the best thing you could do is remove yourself from this patient's care. Ask for a different assignment, preferably on another unit. How much you disclose to your charge RN/manager about why you want to drop him from your assignment is up to you. You could flat-out admit the attraction, or (and IMO a better choice) keep it to something vaguer: "I'm getting burned about about this patient," "Something about this patient gets to me," "I feel uncomfortable around him for some reason," "I have a conflict of interest, I think I might know him from [wherever]," etc. Whatever. Pick the reason you like best and tweak as needed. I'll even forgive you for stretching the truth a bit it if gets you out of this situation. Most reasonable charge RNs/managers will respect your concerns and reassign you.

    The point is, separate yourself from him. Crushes tend to die off faster if you have less contact with the object of your affections.

    If you feel yourself wavering, remind yourself of the danger of getting involved with a patient--any patient, not just psych patients). It's not illegal. However, it is a big ethical grey area, especially when the patient is a psychiatric patient. The question comes up as to whether you are taking advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable position. And employers and BONs don't like to deal with big grey ethical areas. In fact, a lot of employers have policies about employees having relationships with patients: you could face disciplinary action up to and including termination if you violate that policy. Do you want to risk your job over this?

    Or perhaps YOU are the vulnerable one, and this patient may figure that out and play you like an accordion. And people do stupid things when they're infatuated, believe me. Don't put yourself in that position.

    Stay away from him. Find another way to occupy your mind and fantasies until these feelings pass.

    Best of luck.
  9. by   FolksBtrippin
    I have felt a special affinity for certain patients that would not qualify as a crush, but maybe a sort of favoritism. I have had a few that reminded me of people I know and love. I make sure I treat everyone equally regardless of how I feel.

    I've also had some patients that I thought were really hot, but still no crushes.

    If I had a legit crush, I would ask not to be assigned to that patient.

    Awareness of your feelings is almost the whole battle. Its when you're not aware, that you get swept up in stuff and can act inappropriately.
  10. by   Orca
    You are wise to be honest with yourself about this, and to be open with colleagues about it. Physical attraction happens. There are people who we find attractive who we would never actually pursue a relationship with if given the chance. As long as it remains no more than that, you will be fine. If you feel yourself beginning to drift, remove yourself from the situation. Also bear in mind that the patient is in a controlled environment, and that he is compliant and properly medicated at this point. When he is on the outside and maybe that isn't happening, he could be a far different individual, perhaps even dangerous. He is under psychiatric care for a reason.

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