Hi Alpin, I think in our fields that bonding with those that you take care of is a special thing and if like you said,his mother seemed to be warm twards you then i think you should go thru her and tell her how you feel and see if yall can spend some time together( im not sure if that goes against the code of ethecs does it?) Lol You never know,you can be his unrelated auntie if it all works out rite lol. I do also think there should be more people like you in our nursing field! Good luck and keep me updated hun
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Romantic? Uh, no. And again...no. That notion sickens me to my core.
Never thought about passing judgment on mom, either. Actually, I and the mother have always been warm toward one another. She is a good mother. She is the best and only one to take care of him because he is her son. I would never ever think of displacing her or diminishing her in his eyes. Part of the reason she was not around much was because she actually lived quite far away and also had other children to take care of. I did mention there might have been difficulties at home but she was and still is a good mom. She knows what is best for him. Actually when I talked to him the other day he told me of some of his plans for his future and I asked him "what does your mom think of that?" I would never try to diminish her or replace her.
I know I also said that I wanted to be available for him to reach out to if he wanted to. Again, I only want the role of auntie for him and nothing else. It didn't even enter my mind that I would replace mom in that way. I'm not his mother and I don't want to be his mother. The big brother/ big sister program always kind of interested me. I never did it, but my time with him might have been something along those lines. I know I said I wanted to adopt him but that was not serious.
As for working in a hospital with sick people, especially kids, who sometimes spend weeks or months with us, you cannot help but develop attachments to the patients and also the families. A whole lot of caregivers experience this. If we didn't, we might as well be robots. They think of you as family and you think of them as family. You think of them even when they are not presently admitted to the hospital. You hope they are doing well at home.
About a week ago I lost a patient that I had been caring for on a routine basis for many years. I am very sad that she passed away. I feel just terrible for her mother and her family. I have many many attachments just like this. It is just impossible not to. There really aren't any "favorites".
Also, it was HE, and NOT me that asked for my email to be able to contact me. He initiated the whole thing. So I gave him my email and then it was HE, and not ME, that asked for my phone number in the email he sent. I did not initiate this, HE DID. I couldn't just say "due to ethical reasons, I can't have any contact with you, sorry....."
thank you all very much. I was talking with a friend about the situation today and got even more perspective. Because of his age I think it might be wise to leave the situation alone. I think I will limit my contact with him to short emails that will only be if he emails me first. I don't want to hurt him now by ignoring his emails and saying nothing. He will be leaving the area soon to go to a special school for his last two years of high school so he will probably get busy with that and forget about me anyway.
Thanks again, everyone
Last edited by Administrator; 11-02-2010 at 11:45 PM.
Reason: removed details
The following user gives a hug of support to alpinemeadow: RANDOL (11-04-2010)
I can relate to your emotional bond to your patient. I worked for 20 years in the Pediatric ward of a hospital. Like you, we got to care for our regulars, and who couldn't help but get attached to both the children and the parents, even grandparents. Often times when I would go to the mall or grocery store, I would bump into a parent or previous patient. They would hug me and let me know how they were doing.
As health care professionals, we are there for them when they are at their worst. We care for them like only we know how. And, we cry with them when things don't work out like they planned. A group of us would go to their funeral. I saw a mother of a previous patient just the other day. She said that she remembered me as the one who saved her son's life. How special is that? It gave me great satisfaction because most of the time we would see them so sick, bond with them, and then see them go and never hear from them- not knowing how well that surgery worked, etc.
The NICU at the hospital I worked at used to have a yearly reunion around Halloween time. The kids (previous patients) would get a special invitation from the hospital and would attend wearing costumes. There would be bounce houses, clowns, and various activities. It was held on the hospital grounds and all the medical personnel were invited, too. It was a wonderful opportunity to keep in touch and everyone looked forward to it every year.
This might be a more appropriate setting to keep in touch. You might approach the administration about something like this. They are always looking for community outreach opportunities.
Hope this helps,
alpinemeadow, don't get discouraged by some of the responses.....
I think the cynicism is a reflection of the society that we live in.....
luckily some can see past that. I understand your intentions and your motivations are genuine. I like sunsetnans idea about the yearly reunion type event.....maybe you could mention that to your boss?
I don't think you should cut contact with this young man. He initiated the contact, and if it's ok with his mom, don't let the naysayers steer you wrong.
You obviously mean a lot to this person and he would probably be confused if you just disappeared from his life!
Last edited by rosequartz; 11-03-2010 at 06:54 AM.
Because of his age I think it might be wise to leave the situation alone. I think I will limit my contact with him to short emails that will only be if he emails me first.
That's probably wise. You sound like an extremely caring person, and this must be difficult. It is, however, part of the job, I would think. There are a lot of people who would not do your job because of how difficult it can be to draw the line between professional care and personal emotions. Just like in my field, which is law, there are many who will not practice in a certain area, say cases involving child abuse or child custody, because of the difficult and complex emotional aspects of the case.
I also don't think it's unreasonable to consider whether your profession or your hospital has rules on this. I would not be surprised if the hospital's compliance department maintains a rule against such patient contact. Hospitals (unfortunately) get sued left and right for any number of reasons, so its in their best interests to avoid any situation that could potentially lead to a lawsuit.
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.