Nurses use professional judgment to determine the appropriate boundaries of a therapeutic relationship with each client. The nurse — not the client — is always responsible for establishing and maintaining boundaries.
Gift giving is a complex issue and can blur boundaries. Giving token gifts as a group may be acceptable. When deciding, discuss with your colleagues and consider:
Developing unit guidelines for celebrating client birthdays would provide direction.
Refer to the
Boundaries in the Nurse-Client Relationship practice standard for further guidance.
Nurses cannot benefit personally by accepting a gift that results from a professional relationship. You should discuss the situation with your employer. The best options may be to refuse the gift with an explanation or ask that it be donated to a charitable organization.
Boundaries in the Nurse-Client Relationship practice standard provides further direction for dealing with these types of situations.
It's not appropriate for you to be a client's personal Facebook friend. The reason for your relationship with the client is to provide professional nursing services. Nurse-client relationships occur within boundaries that separate professional relationships from personal ones. As the nurse, you are responsible for setting, maintaining and communicating these boundaries with your clients, both face-to-face and online.
Boundaries in the Nurse-Client Relationship practice standard sets clear expectations for nurses' relationships with clients.
If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and achiness, stay home. It may be difficult for you to work effectively and you may be contagious. Although it’s difficult knowing your absence might impact your colleagues’ work, you have a duty to protect your clients from the risk of infection. Staying home when ill is one way to do this. Washing your hands frequently and keeping your immunizations up to date are other ways to prevent infection and provide safe care to your clients.
Communicable Diseases: Preventing Nurse-to-Client Transmission Practice Standard provides more information about your responsibilities to provide safe care to clients.