Quote from rookieLPN88
I am an LPN in Canada working at a mental health facility. I met a patient nearly a year ago whom I had a totally unexpected connection with.
A significant amount of time has passed and their is no element of vulnerability.
Nearly a year is nowhere close to a significant
amount of time. It just isn't. In my opinion you can't
possibly rule out an element of vulnerability after such a short time period, nor can I
rule out the possibility that you are being manipulated/used by your former patient, based on your account of how the two of you came to be a couple.
We have been talking and spending time together (initiated by him) and it is obvious that after all this time we would like to be with each other and are meant to be, regardless of the circumstances of how we initially came into contact, so we are now officially in a relationship.
I'm afraid my co-workers will judge me if they find out I'm dating an ex "mental patient" and that I will be the topic of gossip in the work place.
As far as I can tell, I am doing nothing wrong.
It's quite likely that your coworkers will question your judgment and professionalism if they find out about your relationship with your ex-patient. In all honesty it concerns me that you don't see any potential problems with your relationship. My advice to you is to tread very carefully and understand that the choices you make now may well impact your career, your emotional wellbeing as well as your former patient's/now boyfriend's emotional health.
How do I deal with this situation in a professional manner?
Frankly, the professional thing in my opinion would have been to stick with what you originally told your patient; that it was inappropriate and crossing an ethical boundary.
Granted, I don't know the details of your patient's psychiatric history, but I don't see myself ever getting involved with a patient in the scenario you've described. Apart from possibly negatively affecting my job and ultimately the public's trust in healthcare professionals, there's also emotional risk involved for both parties. I suspect this isn't the advice that you were hoping for but I can only call it as I see it.
Take care OP!