Why are nurses the only profession that cannot accept gifts?

  1. So, the other day, I had a family member who gave me a card as a thank you from the patient, as a sign of appreciation, especially since they knew it would likely be my last time working with her. They left it with me before I could refuse to accept it. Later, I realized that I probably shouldn't have accepted it.

    But I can't help by wondering why is nursing the only profession that is not allowed to accept gifts? When you look at teachers, for example, they are flooded with gifts around the holidays and end of the year, and no one says this is unethical. There are many other professions where no one says a word when a gift is given.

    I understand that receiving gifts could possibly release protected patient information if the gift receiver is not discreet or cause resentment among coworkers. I also know that we are already being paid to perform a service for them. At the same time, though, teachers are also being paid, but no one objects to them receiving fits. My thought is, if it's the last time working with a patient, and the gift receiver does not identify who gave them the gift, why is this an issue?
  2. Visit RockinNurse2018 profile page

    About RockinNurse2018, ADN, BSN, CNA, RN

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 136; Likes: 227
    Registered Nurse; from MN , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in Geriatrics w/rehab, LTC, hospice patient

    67 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    I don't know any children who feel bad or guilty about their teachers having to teach them. For vulnerable adults, guilt seems to be quite common. That's reason enough, for me.
  4. by   Oh'Ello
    I didn't know this was a thing? Our patients and family members buy us gifts all the time.
  5. by   RockinNurse2018
    Quote from Oh'Ello
    I didn't know this was a thing? Our patients and family members buy us gifts all the time.
    I'm pretty sure we're not technically supposed to accept gifts for our services. But, as I mentioned, if someone wants to show gratitude, why not? There are many thankless days in nursing, so it's nice to be appreciated. It's not like I ask for gifts or hint at things I would like (I remember some of my teachers hinting at things they would like for Christmas). In fact, my patients really don't know any of my likes or dislikes so buying a gift for me would be difficult.

    Also I'm not picking on teachers. They have hard work, and I considered becoming one. I'm just curious why such the difference between gift giving of teachers and nurses.
  6. by   Nurseinprocess
    Whre I work we are allowed to accept gift cards and food gifts, well, pretty much a lot of stuff from patients and their families. No cash, of course.
  7. by   Davey Do
    Quote from RockinNurse2018
    But I can't help by wondering why is nursing the only profession that is not allowed to accept gifts?
    crossed-fingers-jpg
  8. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Why would you not be able to accept a card?
  9. by   Davey Do
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I don't know any children who feel bad or guilty about their teachers having to teach them. For vulnerable adults, guilt seems to be quite common. That's reason enough, for me.
    Your posts, Sour Lemon, are consistently... oh, for lack of a better word, I'll say "good".

    Maybe it's because my synapses aren't firing, or I'm sleep-deprived, or just plain stupid, but I don't understand this one.

    Would you care to expand on it for developmentally delayed Davey Do?
  10. by   brownbook
    In an acute care hospital too many different nurses, CNA's, etc., are caring for a patient. I doubt that's the main reason.
  11. by   LovingLife123
    Why can't you accept a card?? I'm confused by that.

    Our families buy us food all of the time. Wealso get cards and flowers.

    I don't see how a card is a gift. It has no monetary value.
  12. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Davey Do
    Your posts, Sour Lemon, are consistently... oh, for lack of a better word, I'll say "good".

    Maybe it's because my synapses aren't firing, or I'm sleep-deprived, or just plain stupid, but I don't understand this one.

    Would you care to expand on it for developmentally delayed Davey Do?
    I only make sense to myself most of the time, but I'll try!
    Patients who want to give personal gifts seem to feel guilty and/or embarrassed about needing help and being a "bother". They're in a vulnerable position.
    Kids typically don't care bout being an inconvenience to their teachers.
  13. by   Davey Do
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    Patients who want to give personal gifts seem to feel guilty and/or embarrassed about needing help and being a "bother". They're in a vulnerable position.
    Kids typically don't care bout being an inconvenience to their teachers.
    Oooooooh! "Now I see!" said the blind man!

    I hear you saying that patients want to give gifts to nurses to make up for being a pain but kids know they're a pain and are okay with that!

    Thanks, Sour Lemon!
  14. by   elkpark
    Who said we are the "only" group that doesn't accept gifts? None of the professionals I know, from a wide variety of healthcare disciplines, would accept gifts from clients. That's a basic professional boundary, in any number of disciplines.

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