Patient student relationship Watch

Pomaranczowap
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Hello everyone. I am currently seeking some guidance. I have recently stumbled upon one of my patients on the streets. We met when I was a student on the ward and really got along although we ensured a professional boundary was maintained. I am due to start to work as an official RMN in a few months. I was wondering whether anyone knew whether I am allowed to keep in touch with said patient. The patient has moved out of the area of the ward and I will be working in a different Trust than where we met therefore they would never go back to being under the care of my ward. I realize nurses cannot keep in touch with patients (and I-m guessing students either) but I was wondering whether anyone knew who to contact in said situation because it's very hard to find an email address of someone who might shed some light on the situation. Especially that neither of us seeked to find the other. Thank you everyone
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Yahik093
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You'd surprised about that. The only thing real about medical TV shows is the affairs everyone has with everyone.
Anyways, dont sweat about it. Nobody is going to hire the CSI to know where you both come from.
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by Pomaranczowap)
Hello everyone. I am currently seeking some guidance. I have recently stumbled upon one of my patients on the streets. We met when I was a student on the ward and really got along although we ensured a professional boundary was maintained. I am due to start to work as an official RMN in a few months. I was wondering whether anyone knew whether I am allowed to keep in touch with said patient. The patient has moved out of the area of the ward and I will be working in a different Trust than where we met therefore they would never go back to being under the care of my ward. I realize nurses cannot keep in touch with patients (and I-m guessing students either) but I was wondering whether anyone knew who to contact in said situation because it's very hard to find an email address of someone who might shed some light on the situation. Especially that neither of us seeked to find the other. Thank you everyone
Generally, it's not a good idea. You met initially when the other person was in a vulnerable state and you were in a position of power. Regardless of the situation now, your relationship was founded on this.

I'm not clear what you mean by 'keep in touch' - there's a big difference between a romantic relationship and a casual friendship.

The NMC is a bit wooly with their guidance, but the GMC has some pretty clear guidance which should give you most of the information you need: https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/docum...f-58833579.pdf
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Pomaranczowap
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Thank you for replying. I'm not planning to pursue a relationship and especially not anything of sexual nature (due to religious beliefs). My only question is, if I were to start a friendship with the former patient, would I be required to inform anyone prior to anything happening? I would hate to be in a situation where an investigation would be put in place.
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by Pomaranczowap)
Thank you for replying. I'm not planning to pursue a relationship and especially not anything of sexual nature (due to religious beliefs). My only question is, if I were to start a friendship with the former patient, would I be required to inform anyone prior to anything happening? I would hate to be in a situation where an investigation would be put in place.
As described in the guidance I linked above, it's all very subjective. It depends on the vulnerability of the patient, your relationship whilst they were under your care, the amount of time that has passed etc. If you have any doubts whatsoever about any of these aspects then it is best to avoid any sort of relationship. If you are concerned, you could request to speak to someone in your trust (likely HR as a first port of call) to check that you are working within their policies too.

Personally, I would never pursue any sort of relationship with someone who had once been a patient and would never recommend that anyone does so.
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Apachecow
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
Personally, I would never pursue any sort of relationship with someone who had once been a patient and would never recommend that anyone does so.
That has to depend on many factors. Anyone working in a rural area, for example, would likely come across their doctor etc socially. It would be impossible not to be their friend and healthcare provider.

Whilst I'm not asking the OP the context of how they met (they can say if they wish) then I think that is important.

I think this sounds perfectly healthy and the spin being put on is too negative. If you go in with open and honest intentions then I think it's just. fine.
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by Apachecow)
That has to depend on many factors. Anyone working in a rural area, for example, would likely come across their doctor etc socially. It would be impossible not to be their friend and healthcare provider.

Whilst I'm not asking the OP the context of how they met (they can say if they wish) then I think that is important.

I think this sounds perfectly healthy and the spin being put on is too negative. If you go in with open and honest intentions then I think it's just. fine.
Of course it wouldn't. There's a big difference between being polite/amenable in public and being someone's friend. I see patients in public and I speak to them and am pleasant but would not consider myself to be their friend. It's all about maintaining a professional boundary.

As I mentioned, the GMC guidance states it depends on the length/nature/context of the relationship. The issue is that there are no hard and fast rules, so whether it was an issue would depend on the subjective assessment of the situation by others.

I would strongly disagree that it is 'just fine'. Any professional must take this sort of decision very seriously and consider the possible implications, unless they don't care about their professional reputation and registration. Crossing over professional boundaries can be damaging professionally and personally, and can put the patient at risk of abuse due to their vulnerability or the vulnerable state they were previously in.
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