I am an RN at an ambulatory center for plastic surgery. One of my roles is to provide overnight care for post-op patients in the recovery suite. One of my patients and I got along very well during her overnight stay. After her discharge, she got my email address from our secretary and emailed me asking to keep in touch outside of my professional role. I would like to stay in contact with her, but I am not sure if this appropriate.
I looked up the NMC Code of Conduct and researched the guidelines regarding nurse and patient relationships. My relationship with this patient is platonic, but the guidelines are written for those in sexual relationships. They state that a sexual relationship with a current patient is never okay (that's a no-brainer). And in the case of former patients, sexual relationships are "often found to be unacceptable."
I feel like staying in contact with this previous patient is not inappropriate because she is a former patient, the relationship is non-sexual, and the fact that she had plastic surgery means that she is not ill, or by any means, vulnerable. The most that would come of this is a regular friendship between two women who happened to meet as nurse and patient.
What do you all think?