Romantic relationships between nurses and patients

I'm not sure how many of you know this but there are several cases in the news every year in which a female nurse is struck off from the nursing register for engaging in a sexual and romantic relationship with a mental health patient.

A few things I strongly believe in and which idealists put down in the American Constitution - arguably the greatest legal document ever written - are the freedom of association, freedom of speech and the right to pursue liberty and happiness.

I believe nurses and patients should be allowed romantic relationships. I almost got involved in one myself with a female mental health nurse who flirted with me somewhat outrageously. She would say to me during many appointments "You're looking really good" "That coat adds an air of mystery to you" and one time said to me "I'm trying to get my body bikini fit for the summer", and would flick her hair or play with it while talking with me.

One time she gave me a lift in her car (she offered to do so) and when she parked up there was an awkward moment where we looked at each other and there was palpable sexual tension. I didn't pursue it because she was married but anyhow I don't see why these sorts of relationships shouldn't be allowed.

My argument is many people who are severely mentally ill and/or Autistic - and there is a great deal of overlap there - do not have that many romantic opportunities and a mental health nurse, for example, might understand someone like me more than an average person, and dating is indeed a lot more difficult for an Autistic and/or mentally ill person.

Well, as I said every year there are several cases in the news where a female nurse is struck off and sacked for having a relationship. Sometimes they become crazily in love with a patient and can't even hide it, admitting it to their manager or getting caught because their passion is so strong. The nurse I mentioned earlier unprompted gave me her personal phone number, quite an unusual thing and I'm sure not the standard procedure. 

I won't be surprised if most of you disagree with me and the fact that I've found no one yet who agrees with me on this makes me feel people are very curious.

  • How are you feeling, Roswell? You were not in a good place a little while back?

  • Tbh it’s really not complicated in theory but in practice it’s very hard to know where the line is. If a medical professional feels they are becoming romantically/ sexually attracted to a patient they should ideally pass the patients care to a different professional. Once that’s done arguably there is no, or much less, conflict of interest if they wish to act on their feelings.

    In reality passing on the care of a patent to another party for this reason is likely to get them dirty looks from their colleagues and hurt their career (although nowhere near as much as being caught banging a patient) so doctors and nurses often just don’t.

    providing protection under law for those medical professionals that do pass patients on that they are at risk of becoming involved with might help reduce the incidence of these conflicts of interest.

  • I have a problem with this. I'm certain it is perfectly possible that, out of the blue, a health professional might develop a romantic feeling towards a patient. But, if you are a professional person operating in a professional setting then your focus should never be on matters of romance. And, like in all professional settings where the roles are clearly defined (employers and employees or health workers and patients) romantic relationships are fraught with potential problems.

    In the case of employers and employees, an employees livelihood could be at risk should the relationship sour, or for the employer, they may be open to false misconduct allegations if the relationship breaks down and there is acrimony. As for patients (or anyone receiving care) if the relationship sours, then their treatment (and trust) could be compromised. For the health care professional, they could leave themselves open to accusations of malpractice.

    I would advise against intimate relationships in these settings, or to wait until both parties are in different situations. A employee has another job, or a patient with mental health difficulties has been discharged from the service. 

    It's just my opinion and what I would feel is right for me. 

  • Mental health nurses make good partners. How you meet one is the tricky thing...