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What constitutes an inappropriate nurse/patient dating relationship?

Monday June 10, 2002
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Question:

What constitutes an inappropriate nurse/patient dating relationship? I am a per diem nurse working at an assisted living facility. The patient is highly functional physically with no intellectual or psych-related impairments.



Per Diem Nurse

Answer:

Dear Per Diem Nurse,



Any personal relationship with a patient in your care, especially one of a potentially sexual nature, is considered at least unethical. And in some cases, it is actually illegal. So tread lightly. See a very good article on this subject, "Forbidden Territory in Therapeutic Relationships," at

http://community.nursingspectrum.com/MagazineArticles/article.cfm?AID=332" target="_top" onmouseover="window.status='Nursing Spectrum- Career Fitness Online'; return true">http://community. nursingspectrum.com/MagazineArticles/article.cfm?AID=332.



Whether you work full-time or per diem is irrelevant to the situation, in my opinion. It is the erosion of, or at least the threat to, the therapeutic relationship that is the issue. Nurses have been brought up on criminal charges or had disciplinary action taken against them for crossing that line. You may want to talk this over with a trusted colleague to help clarify the situation for you.



Good luck,



Donna