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boundary violation


Is it a boundary violation to buy something from a patient's family member, e.g. Mary Kay, Avon, etc?

I personally wouldn't do it. When I am at work, I am there to work, not buy makeup and jewelry. You might want to check your company policy. Many places don't allow soliciting of any kind. That includes buying, and not just selling. I always try to maintain a respectful and professional distance from my patients and their families.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

It depends. I would think anyone could be potentially be your patient, especially in a hospital. I just wouldn't order while working. Do it outside of work. You can't tell people they can't do things like that. I get the whole personal relationship thing especially if you work in a Psych ward, but this is a common everyday occurance. This is just one way that people meet and become friendly. I don't see something like this as an ethical issue.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

If it occurs during the course of employment (such as Mr. B's wife is visiting and telling everyone and anyone about the current (choose company name) promotion, handing out samples and catalogs, or even being subtle) then yes it's a boundary violation.

If you are seeking to buy Tupperware and go online to find a consultant and it turns out the only one who responds is Mr Smith's daughter it's a gray area.

Three months after Mrs X is discharged you go to your friends home product sale and the consultant happens to be Mrs X...not so much.

I find that requests to buy the client's wares are usually made early on in the relationship. I find these requests to be awkward, especially when I didn't even have enough money to put a full tank of gas in my car in order to get to work for that shift. I used to buy something the first time out of courtesy, but decided I would no longer give in to the subtle arm twisting. Not only can't I afford to buy things I don't need, but it seems to put the boundary violation firmly in place from the get go. Not a good thing long term.


Specializes in LTC.

'Never a buyer nor a seller be' to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin.

The general posit among quite a few nurses is that they would all REFRAIN from making any financial deals with pt family/friends, and most esp, from pts themselves. Whenever money is involved, things can get messy. And NASTY. All kinds of ugly complaints can be made. And it might also be against your facility policy to do so. So you'd be screwed if something blew up.

Many of us COBs can relate horror stories, so just take some advice, and DON'T DO IT.


Has 3 years experience.

I agree with the COB. :roflmao: