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Professional Boundaries - Essay Example

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The ability to maintain professional boundaries in a patient/client- nurse relationship is among the key competencies in the nursing profession. This declaration is however simple in theory, but not as straightforward in practice. By working with each other, the nurse and the client develops familiarity, trust and the urge to help each other…
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Professional Boundaries
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Download file to see previous pages This is because like everybody else, nurses too have emotions that respond to human suffering and/or acts of passion directed to them. To ensure that nurses do not suffer long term effects from their relationship with patients, these relationships are regulated by a set of professional boundaries, which has general outlines about handling clients and the general relationship that a nurse and a patient should have. Simply put, these outlines are known as "professional boundaries," further defined as the invisible but potent lines that define the territory of a nurse (Evans, Elder, & Nizette, 2004 p 6). Professional boundaries are maintained by a nurse in his or her therapeutic role to a patient
The example of Peter Stevens and his client Tom William best illustrates just how professional boundaries can be blurred in the nursing profession. Tom aged 18 years is a patient at a Psychiatric hospital where Peter is a resident nurse. When Peter first started work in the hospital, he realized that Tom was very outgoing and liked to strike conversations with everyone. His argument about politics, the economy and the social setup in his home area were quite intelligent considering that he was suffering from Psychosis. On a bad day, Tom would be delusional and could not strike up an intelligent conversation. He would be confused and delirious. It is at such times that Peter knew he had stricken a lasting bond with Tom. He would check on him regularly, sometimes spending hours trying to calm him down. It was not until a fellow nurse pointed out that Peter had been spending too much time that he realized that he was guilty as accused. Every nurse in the facility liked Tom too, but he had to admit that he had been unusually concerned about Tom than other patients who had even worse conditions.
. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, nurses flout professional boundaries by acting as if they are the only nurse who can handle a clients case well despite the presence of other nurses. In addition, if the nurse spends too much time with a specific client, trades duties with other nurses in order to be with the client or spends his off duty days with the client (ncsbn.org. 2005). Peter may not have been guilty of all this, but he was guilty of feeling protective towards Tom and spending too much time with him. Just like Peter, nurses work in situations where their actions to the client whether intentional or not may compromise their professional integrity (Peternelj-Taylor, et al. 2003).
How nurses treat acts of gratitude or gifts given to them by clients also poses a major risk to professional boundaries. According to Nursing & Midwifery code of ethics (nmc-uk.org. 2008), a nurse must "Refuse gifts, hospitality or favors which might be understood as attempts of gaining preferential treatment". Although nurses may argue that they never solicited for the gifts, the fact that such the nurse accepted the gifts is prove enough that they did not delineate and maintain the boundaries (ncsbn.org. 2005)
In child health nursing, nurses have to handle a number of people in relation to the children they attend ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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