Do you form outside relationships with your patients?

  1. If you are very friendly to a patient, and have a good relationship with them during work hours and they ask you to "hang out" and visit them on their birthday special occassions is it wrong to not want to?

    I am a very nice person, and sometimes patients who are disabled and lonely and don't get out much become very attached and want to have a more intimate relationship that goes beyond just taking care of them. It's nice and all, but I like to leave my work at wo rk. I dont want to seem mean or anything, but I just don't have the time and neither do I feel comfortable
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    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 457; Likes: 115

    31 Comments

  3. by   ChristineN
    Several nurses I work with have formed relationships outside of the hospital with some of their speical patients. The one nurse gave her phone number and info to one of the adolescent patients, and the girl calls her every so often. The nurse even referrs to the girl as her "daughter." Would I do that? I'm not sure. I have a patient that I am very close too (he's like a kid brother to me), but I've never given him my phone number or e-mail adress. Would I if I came up? Maybe.
  4. by   Sarah Hay
    A couple of students in my class have brought this up to our instructor after clinicals. She was absolutely horrid they even asked this question and flat out stated it was against policy and she better not catch any of us doing such things. If I were you, I'd check the company policy about that before doing such things that may violate HIPPA etc.

    :redpinkhe Sarah Hay, SN
  5. by   Whispera
    Every place I've ever worked, it was totally and absolutely against policy to develop a friendship with a patient that continued outside work. Do check the policy where you work!
  6. by   1TachyRN
    I haven't and don't think I would have any relationships with patients outside of work. Like you said, I like to leave work at work. I've seen a few people out and about outside of the hospital and don't acknowledge them unless they say something to me first. Also, especially if one works mental health, one should be very aware of the (former) patient's intentions. A nurse may be coming from a place of compassion for someone who's lonely, but the patient may be coming from a totally different place.

    Just my thoughts.
  7. by   ohmeowzer RN
    no never .. never thought of doing it and don't want that it happen. i like my privacy and i like work to stay at work . i have had pt's ask my email and i say " we are not allowed to give out that information. " the less they know about me the better.
  8. by   Sarah Hay
    In my first nursing class, Fundamentals of Nursing, I recall reading a section in the text that talks just about this subject. I looked for it in my text but could not find it. Creating 'outside' relationships with patients, in my opinion, should be strictly against the rules. Also, if you see a friend of relative at the hospital as a client, you are not supposed to go up to them and ask them why they are here etc. unless they tell you without your asking. I believe if they are not your patient or if you are not involved in caring for them it is a violation of HIPPA.
    Just my thoughts.

    :redpinkhe Sarah Hay, SN
  9. by   sissiesmama
    I have enjoyed personalities of some of my patients before, but as a general rule, I have always left work stuff at work. Most of the places where I have worked in the past also have policies against doing this.

    I worked with another RN at one area hospital and she got close to a young man that had been found to be HIV positive. He was our age and such a pleasure to take care of that we all became attached to him and his family. The coworker after quite a few months was inited to go on a vacation with the patient and his parents. They went to the beach on more than one occasion, nothing romantic, just platonic.

    Unfortunately, this young man did not survive long, and the coworker was just devastated. We were all saddened when we found out, but this friend didn't get over this for months.

    I guess I'm trying to say that it would depend on the patient, and the policies of the hospital, but I just don't think I would.

    I didn't work with another female ER nurse but heard the news that she had become friends with a patient she treated on one of her shifts - he got a little too attached to her and by the time she realized what had happened, he was waiting on her in the parking lot. She told him to back off and he stabbed her in the parking lot. They were not able to save her.

    Just my .02 Anne, RNC
  10. by   RNperdiem
    I would be worried about forming an attachment with a patient outside work.
    What if that person is seriously needy? Too needy to make a balanced friendship work.
    What if, then, the nurse pulls away from the situation leaving the former friend/patient worse off than ever.
  11. by   oramar
    NO, never, not even once.
  12. by   systoly
    Like the song by Heart,"...some things you can never never do..".
  13. by   nerdtonurse?
    No, no, and absolutely no.

    And one of my coworkers had a 'stalker' patient who would send flowers to the unit, show up on the floor (we'd hide her in the med room), and leave flowers and notes on her car. She never did anything to lead the guy on -- married, 2 kids, not interested -- but this guy didn't give up. She got a restraining order, which didn't stop him. Finally, a couple of the security guards found him hiding behind her car in the parking lot and "discussed" the restraining order with him. Thoroughly. He then started stalking a girl at the Walmart, who he kidnapped and raped. He's now in jail.

    Never, EVER, tell any of these folks anything. Assume they are all Ted Bundy or Aileen Woros....
  14. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from RNperdiem
    I would be worried about forming an attachment with a patient outside work.
    What if that person is seriously needy? Too needy to make a balanced friendship work.
    What if, then, the nurse pulls away from the situation leaving the former friend/patient worse off than ever.
    Right - and as many patients as we care for, a psych/mental/impaired hx may not be known. I'f rather just leave them there.

    Anne, RNC

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