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by Parannor Parannor (New) New

Hi I need some advise I'm new to all of this I have only been a nurse for 2 years and it has all been in detox. Recently I have felt the need to contact a very few number of clients after they leave my rehab unit. I have contacted them and even met with them a few times. No knows about this. One of them I am meeting with on more of a social scale I feel that they needs some sober suport on the out side and they is laking it. I'm am currntly hiding this from everyone even my Husband not knowing if this is kosher or how much trouble I could get into. I'm really just stuck right now.

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

Explore why you feel this "need"-what is it doing for you? You have no professional boundaries and the fact that you are hiding this behavior proves you know it's wrong.You are jeopardizing your job,marriage and nursing career.Of course your former clients like the attention,they are enjoying manipulating and using you.They have plenty of support they just have to get out and look for it,it does not just fall into their laps.

Bottom line-it's big trouble and you just need to stop.

Why would you do that? I'm sorry, but it sounds very dangerous.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Stop doing this before you truly mess up your life!

Was there not any discussion of professional boundaries in your nursing program? This is wayyyy out of line and a really bad idea. A general "quick & dirty" rule for deciding about questionable professional situations/activities is that, if you wouldn't do it in front of your boss and coworkers, you shouldn't do it at all. Your feeling that you should keep this secret from everyone, including your husband, should be all the indication you need that you shouldn't be doing this.

It is the responsibility of your clients to figure out a social and sobriety support network on the "outside" once they leave your program. Presumably (in my experience working in chemical dependency treatment), that is something that was discussed with them while they were in the program. Your relationship with them ends (should end) when they complete your program and move on. You are not "helping" any of these clients; you are keeping them from taking the steps they need to take to move forward and continue working on their sobriety.

I really encourage you to stop this practice immediately; end the relationships you have already formed, and do not start this with any new clients going forward. If your employer finds out about this, there is a good chance you would be fired.

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Exactly. When they leave the hospital they move on to other support systems. What you are doing is detrimental to their recovery.


Has 3 years experience.

Not kosher at all.

I can understand how you feel. We are discharging a patient who I have so much hope for and care so much for and when I had to say bye to him, I was so damn sad. I want to maintain contact with him just to make sure he's doing alright but I know I can't. We are supposed to "terminate" our relationship with a patient once they are discharged which translates to "he/she's not our problem anymore". That rule is to protect us as nurses. It prevents us from being sucked into their problems and making it ours. It prevents us from crossing a line that should not be crossed. Its one of those rules that actually makes sense.

I want so badly to make sure that this particular patient is doing well and is staying on track. But I can't. I can only hope.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

Wherever I've worked has had a P&P in place that prohibits us from having outside contact with patients for a set period of time, usually a year or so. This doesn't mean we can't say Hello and briefly chat with a patient who approaches us (note the italics) in the community, but as far as us initiating contact outside of work and/or getting involved in their lives, that's a no-no.

You're not horrible in wanting to see that the patient is doing well. However, your actions are ethically questionable and you are crossing a nurse/patient boundary...and doing that can lead to a lot of problems. Forget about the fact that you are not really aiding them in their recovery. Forget about the fact that you are risking your marriage. If something happens to this patient--say they relapse and OD--and your relationship with them is discovered, you may be considered liable in some fashion (and we are a litigation-happy country). You will become a hot topic of gossip. You could lose your credibility at work, and possibly even lose your job. You could be reported to the BON. Or all of the above.

You need to question why you feel compelled to do this. IMO, I'd make an appointment with a therapist or other professional to help you figure that out. And I'd stop doing this IMMEDIATELY.