ADVICE, P.R.N.: Flirting with disaster

February 2004 
Volume 34  Number 2
Pages 12 - 12
  PDF Version Available!

 © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(2)             February 2004             p 12 Flirting with disaster [ADVICE, P.R.N.: SUGGESTIVE BEHAVIOR]

In the mental health unit where I work, one of the nurses is inclined to flirt with the younger male patients. She frequently touches or pats them during care and sometimes kids around with them in a provocative way. She doesn't seem to realize that her behavior is inappropriate, especially when it's directed at young men with emotional problems. How should I handle this?—F.H., ARIZ.

On the surface, what you describe sounds innocent enough; a gentle touch can be therapeutic, as can kidding around and other friendly behavior. But if these behaviors have sexual overtones, she's overstepping an important boundary between nurse and patient. She could also be flirting with a sexual harassment complaint.

As you say, ...

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