Nurses often fall in love with the patients they care for.
They do not have to communicate with them or even have extended contact with them outside of the structure of their basic care.
In some cases, the only contact they may have with the patient involves passing medication or simple wound care. The bond of love often develops through repeated touches. Whether or not the feelings are returned may not be known by the nurse.
When a nurse falls in love with a patient, it is known as the Florence Nightingale Effect. Nurses often become attached to a patient simply by caring for them.
This does not have to turn into a romantic relationship.
It can help to foster a bond between the two that results in a long-term friendship or other types of relationship with the patient and their families.
How far the nurse takes their love for the patient will depend on several factors.
The nurse and the patient do not need to communicate for a bond to develop between them.
Patients may be unable to speak due to tubes or physical damage to their bodies.
Some may be in a medically induced coma or have significant trauma to the head that makes it impossible to speak or communicate verbally.
Patients do, however, have the ability to communicate through hand gestures, touch, and eye movements.
The touch of a hand or a simple smile may be all the communication that is needed to build a solid foundation for friendship or a romantic relationship.
Therapeutic touch can be as simple as touching a person’s arm. Everyone needs physical touch.
When a nurse touches a patient, it can relay a variety of emotions. Nurses will often use touch to soothe a patient and calm them down during stressful situations.
Physical touch is comforting and will let the patient know they are not alone.
It is important that a nurse is able to touch a patient so they can perform their duties and provide the necessary care. Providing medical is only part of their job.
They must also be able to offer comfort as well. A nurse cannot do their job without physically touching the patient.
Therapeutic touch is any type of physical touch that elicits a healing response. Massage therapy is one form of therapeutic touch.
Nurses who must move patients, care for wounds, or perform other types of care that involve physical touch are often thought to use therapeutic touch as part of their regular duties.
This type of touch is known to put patients at ease and allow them to rest comfortably during the healing process.
Nurses who are compassionate and caring may often be accused of falling in love with their patients when in actuality, they are only trying to show the patient as much compassion as possible.
Nurses enter the profession so they can care for others. This tendency to nurture does not come without a sincere expression of emotion.
Those who choose to nurture and care for others have a deep and unyielding ability to love others.
This, in and of itself, can cause a bond to develop that will last long after the patient has left the care of the nurse.
The foundation for this type of bond is based on the love for others as a whole, not just the love of a nurse for a patient.
If a nurse falls in romantic love with a patient, it may not be within the guidelines of their employment.
Depending on the situation, the nurse may be asked to stay away from the patient, especially if any inappropriate touching or activity has taken place.
The family of the patient may request that the nurse be moved to another area so they can no longer have any type of contact with their loved one.
Every situation is unique and must be looked at closely.
If no inappropriate touching or communication has taken place, the nurse may be asked to keep their feelings to themselves or risk a reprimand of some kind.
If a nurse falls in love with a patient, it may turn out to be extremely harmful to one or both parties.
If the patient is married or involved with someone, it can put a strain on that relationship.
If the patient is a child, the relationship would be considered inappropriate especially if the nurse has developed feelings of romantic love.
If the nurse shows a genuine love for their patient that is based on the caring and nurturing of another human being with no expectations of a romantic or long-term relationship, then little harm will be done.
It is important to closely monitor these types of relationships to determine that they remain neutral and without any type of forced interaction.
If a patient is married and a nurse begins to have feelings for them, it is in their best interest to avoid contact with the patient.
If the patient’s spouse or significant other found out about the nurses’ feelings, they could file malpractice charges against the nurse or complain to the Director of Nursing.
This could result in various types of punishment that may eventually end in the termination of the nurse’s employment.
The nurse/patient relationship must be based on compassion and trust.
If a nurse begins to have feelings for them or falls in love with them, that can jeopardize the nurse/patient relationship and may actually cause harm to the patient’s recovery.
If a nurse falls in love with a patient and the patient eventually passes away while under their care, it can be a devastating loss.
A nurse may begin to feel as if they are responsible for the patient’s death. This can lead to depression and survivor’s guilt.
Even if they are not responsible and did everything in their power to save the patient, the death may cause years of feeling as if they were somehow at fault.
Nurses must learn to separate their feelings from their obligations to their patients. If they don’t, they may end up causing themselves severe emotional distress.
A nurse is obligated to follow a strict code of ethics while they are on the job.
This includes checking their emotions and doing everything they possibly can to care for their patients.
Depending on the situation at hand, it may be against the nurse’s Code of Ethics to fall in love with one of their patients.
Although they may not be able to control their feelings, it is up to them to ensure that they do not allow them to affect the quality of care they provide for their patients.
They must be fully responsible for their own actions at all times.