A new rule officially forbids Australian nurses from flirting with patients, telling off-color jokes or discussing personal problems with patients.
The rule was issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, in part due to complaints from patients. According to the NSW Nurses and Midwives Board, 17 complaints about professional boundary issues involving nurses have been made in the past year; 47 complaints have been recorded in the past five years.
The new rule also prohibits discussing feelings of sexual attraction with patients and using sexual innuendo or improper language.
While the American Nurses’ Association’s Code of Ethics for Nurses does not specifically address flirting, innuendo or improper language, it states that, “in all encounters, nurses are responsible for maintaining their professional boundaries.”
Do you think more specific guidelines are necessary? Have you witnessed improper nurse/patient behavior?