Crossing the Line?

  1. Okay, I guess I gave too much info the first time...let me try this again.....

    I took care of a pt for a couple of days who became very attached to me. She was very emotional due to her diagnosis. She is a very nice, very sweet lady, and I enjoyed taking care of her, but she really got attached to me, beyond the nurse-pt relationship. She kept going on and on about how we have a "special bond" and how she loves me, and all kinds of stuff. I don't get it - I didn't do anything more for her than I do for any other pt. She was upset because I wasn't going to be there for a few days, and she wants to get in touch with me after she is discharged. I didn't tell her that I would, but I didn't tell her that I wouldn't either, because she was so upset that I wasn't going to be with her any more. There is a good chance that I will see her again due to the nature of her diagnoses, and she is a relative of someone I work with...what would you have done? I'm not going to get in contact with her outside of the hospital setting, and I really felt like she wanted something from's hard to explain. She just wanted me to be there - I didn't have to do anything. I didn't even have to talk, she was just really happy that I was around. When I was in her room, it was just nothing but her gushing about how great I am (believe me, there are MANY nurses who are better than me!!). I like her very much - as a pt. Should I have done anything differently?
    Last edit by miko014 on Apr 10, '07
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    About miko014

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 684; Likes: 552


  3. by   TazziRN
    You won't get a warning if the thread was removed for review. If the mods decide not to bring it back, you'll get a PM.
  4. by   leosrain
    Sounds like she could have borderline personality disorder.
  5. by   burn out
    I see red flags all over the know better. I would not take care of her again you are setting yourself and your employer for alot of trouble and possible law suit. If you really care about her and want to see her if and when she gets out of your workplace that is something else but stop now while you are ahead .
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    This happened to me with an elderly male patient. I just had the time one day and sat down to listen to him. He had been a horse trainer all his life and was also a writer. He shared some very interesting stories.

    I had no weird feelings at all at work about this - I've connected before with patients.

    But he started calling me at home - sending me things he had written - some of it weird.

    I would try to avoid this situation.

    Good luck.

  7. by   miko014
    Yeah, you guys are all voicing what I was thinking. See, it's weird - I mean, I NEVER give out any personal information, and I didn't this time. I have no intentions of contacting her. I think my real question is, should I have told her right when she tried to give me the phone number "I'm sorry, but I can't do that."? I don't think I should take care of her if she comes back. I was wondering though, should I just wait until that time comes (she might not come back, after all), or should I talk to my boss about it now? If so, should I go with my ANM on evenings, or should I go straight to my manager? What about my coworker (her family member)? We see each other from time to time, but she does not work on my unit - should I say anything to her about it the next time I see her? She was never there while I was taking care of the pt, so I never talked with her about the pt. And what if she (the pt) does come back? What would I say to her when she asks why I am not her nurse?

    To burn out - I do like her, she is a nice lady and she was a good pt...I DO care about her, but only as her nurse. I want everything to be okay for her, but I have no desire whatsoever to see her outside of the hospital, now or ever. I don't want to hurt her feelings or anything like that, but this is turning into a sticky situation. I wish I would have realized just how attached she was to me - I thought she just liked me is all...but I guess hindshight is 20/20. I gave her excellent care, so I don't think a law suit would succeed, even if they did try (which, God willing, they won't). I don't know why I feel guilty...I don't know what I could have done differently. I guess I just wish I had realized what was happening. What it seems like to me is when I was little and used to "look up" to the older girls. Does that make sense?
  8. by   channiek
    It will be difficult to avoid her as a patient so it will be for the best to explain to her as a patient , that this relationship will not extend to her home. Be friendly but firm.
  9. by   RNperdiem
    Things could go bad for you if this nice lady should turn on you. Do not get involved. Listen to your instincts.
    Sometimes it has nothing to do with you. Maybe you remind her of someone, or maybe she is just needy in a way you could never help.
  10. by   miko014
    Yeah, I was thinking of the same thing - maybe I remind her of someone else. She really latched on to me before I even introduced myself. The situation as it is now is fine, but I have an uneasy feeling about it. I try to always trust my gut feelings, and this time my gut is telling me to run! I think you're all right - I should back away now before anything happens!
  11. by   EarthChild1130
    I would definitely not take care of her again if she comes back, and I would let your manager know why...I would also not mention it to the relative of hers who is a co-worker, for fear of privacy violation...good luck!
  12. by   purseOnalityRN
    Firstly, I believe you should review your nursing ethics carefully. We have a professional bond with our pts that END when they are discharged. I am sure you had that initial feeling of uneasiness when YOU KNEW that the relationship was crossing therapeutic borders. I have been in many situations where I have felt this way - and you can still give the best care possible even when you have to vocalize professional boundaries. Even with the slightest gesture of a gift or food - I always establish to my pts & their families that gifts must be given to the unit as a group.
  13. by   burn out
    Make your break clean ...don't try explaining anything unless you are in an unavoidable situation and she asks you directly ..otherwise leave her alone. If she is re admitted let your manager and coworkers know that you can not take care of her for personal reasons and they will understand then. I refuse to take care of people I know all the is not good medicine. Besides you are doing her no favor by becoming a crutch to support her and then disappear...she must rely on the resources available to her that are going to be there in her life when she goes home, if there are none then she needs to learn to count on herself.
  14. by   miko014
    Quote from purseOnalityRN
    Firstly, I believe you should review your nursing ethics carefully.
    And why, exactly, is that?