Learning Center Articles

Boundaries in the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Boundaries in the Nurse-Patient Relationship

  • Material- Physical property
  • Social- Culture and how individuals are expected to behave in social situations
  • Personal- “physical distance boundaries” and “emotional boundaries”
  • Professional- limit and outline expectations for appropriate professional relationships with patients. Concerns associated include:-
    • Self-disclosure
    • Gift-giving
    • Types of touch- Functional-professional, Social-polite, Friendship-warmth, Love-intimacy, Sexual arousal
    • Friendship or romantic association
  • Warning signs that indicate that professional boundaries of the nurse–patient relationship may be in jeopardy
    • Favoring one patient’s care over another’s
    • Keeping secrets with a patient
    • Changing dress style when working with a particular patient
    • Swapping patient assignments to care for a particular patient
    • Giving special attention or treatment to one patient over others
    • Spending free time with a patient
    • Frequently thinking about the patient when away from work
    • Sharing personal information or work concerns with the patient
    • Receiving of gifts or continued contact and communication with the patient after discharge