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When considering a career in nursing, consider that when patients are under the care of a nurse, they are vulnerable due to illnesses or injuries. Therefore, some nurses may sometimes be in a situation where intimate care is given, such as bathing and toileting, when the patient may be partially or fully undressed. It is the nurse's responsibility to set boundaries and respect a patient's privacy all of the time. A nurse may abuse the power given to them in these sitations to exploit the patient, which raises the question as to the nurse's ability to provide safe care to patients. It might not be very easy to find and recognize sexual misconduct in nurses. Overt actions would be kissing, fondling or openly flirting with patients. Covert actions might include, but are not limited to, exposure, touch or manipulation of genitalia that is not reasonably part of routine care, trading assignments to care for a specific patient, or performing a medically indicated procedure (ie: insertion of a Foley catheter) that is prolonged or changed to provide sexual gratification. Verbalizations and body gestures that might encourage the patient to become sexually involved are also unacceptable. It must also be added that a client's consent or encouragement of these actions is not an excuse for the nurse. It is always the responsibility of nurses to set and maintain appropriate boundaries between themselves and the patient.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|