Maintaining Professional Boundaries

The nurse-client relationship is one of immense trust and responsibility and must always focus on the needs of the client. As well as the rules regarding dignity, consent, confidentiality and clinical ethics, the area of professional boundaries is an essential consideration for solo practitioners.

 

 

 As regulated professionals, you will recall from your training that healthcare providers are bound by rules and ethical guidelines surrounding patient care.  Consideration must be given at all times regarding putting these into practice.  The nurse-client relationship is one of immense trust and responsibility and must always focus on the needs of the client.  As well as the rules regarding dignity, consent, confidentiality and clinical ethics, the area of professional boundaries is an essential consideration for self-employed nurses.

It is important to set and follow appropriate boundaries with your clients.  A nurse who even accidentally violates a boundary can create damage to the nurse-client relationship and harm to the client.  It is essential not to abuse power in any way and that the client is always treated ethically in a therapeutic way and with transparency.  

At the forefront of this is to be friendly, but not friends and to exercise and if required, clarify the subtle differences.  Always remember that the responsibility lies with you as the nurse and not the client to establish and maintain clear boundaries.

Often the boundaries are clear-cut.  At times they are less so and require professional judgment. It is essential that you recognize whenever your professional relationships are moving towards a non-professional situation and to take immediate action.  You must continuously exercise professional judgement and caution when involved in self-employed nursing.  Transparency is essential and continual assessment and reassessment regarding your relationship with clients is an integral part of professional practice. 

Remember that the client is vulnerable and that you hold a position of power and potential influence that must not be abused.  These boundaries may be especially hard to identify in small communities where you may also be involved in other areas of the community, perhaps in a personal capacity.  

If you are ever in any doubt talk it over with a trusted colleague and/or contact your regulator for further guidance.

At CompanyOn, we’re committed to supporting our audience, no matter if they are just thinking in pursuing professional independence, or they are already well established solo practitioners. If there are topics you would like to learn more about, please let us know by connecting with us via our social media channels.

Related Resources:

British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives

College of Nurse of Ontario

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta

College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba

Canadian Nurses Association

Canadian Nurses Protective Society

Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses

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