Hi again. Let me say that when giving my advice, I was purely giving it from a safety prospective. Many have said that we would be worried if something was taken out of context and a lawsuit ensued. I also have worked with kids - maybe not sick kids, but some were needy and would confide in me. Some would visit me when they left or graduated. However, you still have to keep your distance. I was always careful never to have my classroom door closed when I was helping a student. The world is just lawsuit crazy and sometimes it's the other adults we have to be weary of and not the students. I understand your heart is in the right place, but just tread lightly. And, I do agree with caberg that you should see what the policy is at your workplace when it comes to patient contact. Good luck! You obviously are in the correct field of work since you are such a compassionate person.
"There's a big difference in playing the victim than in causing your own personal drama." -BK
The responses from all of you was much more than I ever imagined. I am very grateful to each of you. When I saw him a few days ago and he asked how to keep in contact with me, well, I could tell right away that my heart wanted to rule and not my head. I KNOW this is a big deal, but when you are the one that is a difficult situation personally, it is hard to see the forest for the trees, (or however that saying goes). I came here because I wanted and needed the bigger picture based on the delicate situation that it is. It is so delicate because a young boy's feelings are involved, someone I care about a whole lot. And you all delivered on my request for advice!
I mentioned that he had already sent me an email. I shot him back a short maybe 3 sentences long email back to him just to acknowledge him and to tide him over until I can find out what to do. That was today and for him it was 5 days of silence from my end. I just checked my email and thankfully there is nothing from him.
I am going to do a search in my house for my handbook on the code of conduct, it's around here somewhere, and see if it can give me any info.
Regardless, I will not do anything else and ignore all emails until I talk to my manager. Like someone said, there just HAS to be some kind of rule regarding this, I'm sure I am not the first person to come across this issue.
I am more concerned about his feelings than my own, and although I felt delighted that HE wanted to keep in contact, I'm getting the feeling that it probably is not possible. I will be okay with whatever the "court" says. I feel like court has already spoken. That's not to say it won't be hard, though. And what words could I use to tell him? I would think the truth, so he would know that it wasn't my decision but someone else's? I guess we'll cross that bridge if and when it happens. Probably when it happens.
Porbably what IS happening is he goofing off with his friends and hasn't thought about this stuff once and here I am fretting and losing sleep.
This topic generated more interest that i thought it would, I was going to let my thread float to the bottom of the pile, but if anyone has anything else they would like to add, I'm all ears.
I thought I would post a little update for all those that took the time and thought to post a response.
Actually, I dont' have a ton of new news but from my researching this is what I have found out:
I read the entire code of conduct manual and found nothing stating anything about personal contact between patients and caregivers. The only thing that is forbidden it seems is accepting money or personal gifts.
So I asked one of the managers and she said there is no rule about contact between patients and caregivers or the forming of friendships outside of the facility. I made sure to ask if that included minors. I am getting the impression that it is MY "risk" and not the hospitals. I have also asked my coworkers their opinions and indeed some of them do maintain personal contact with patients.
You know, ten or more years ago I did visit some of the kids in their homes and one time I had a mom and a kid come over to my house. These were all people that I had spent a lot of time with and whom I had bonded with. The only thing I can think of going wrong is if one of the kids had a medical episode when I was present. I felt like I would really be hanging my neck out and not even the hospital could back me up if something tragically went wrong. To me that is what would be a big liabity.
Anyway, back to the 15 year old. I had sent him a little message including a hi to your mom and I got a message back that ended with mom says hi. I just sent him another message today, the second one only actually, and he still ending his messages with please keep in contact. I don't like that I can't just be me and I have to be so careful. I will admit I want to end my emails with something slightly sappy but I am not going to do that.
I have thought about calling his mom but I don't have her number and quite frankly I do think it would be an awkward conversation for us to have, as someone previously mentioned. I might just ask the boy (I don't want to use his name) for his mom's email address and contact her that way or at least ask him in an email if his mom knows we are communicating? She must if he told me that she said hi.
Anyway, I am going to send this off. Any additional thoughts are appreciated
hi alpine, I think that's a good idea to get his moms email address.
I'm glad you're still in contact, and it's good that other people you've talked to at work understand and have been in a similar situation. Continue to follow your heart, you're doing the right thing.....you're working in this field for a reason!
The Following User Says Thank You to rosequartz For This Useful Post: alpinemeadow (11-16-2010)
thanks so much for the responses. Actually, I can't help but follow my heart regardless of all the "warnings" of previous posters (whose advice I also took into consideration and was thankful for). My plan is because this boy means alot to me, and I mean alot to him (my coworkers have told me that he has voiced to them how much he likes me) is to just gently proceed with the emails, email his mom, and see what might develop, without being pushy and just letting them call all of the shots. He means too much to me to not do at least this much.