Professional boundaries are important in all healthcare settings, but they are even more important in home care nursing! One of the biggest issues today is client/nurse relationship in social media. Given the federal requirements for client confidentiality, it is dangerous for a nurse to befriend a client on social media. Indicating on social media that you are a client’s nurse by using the client’s name, the client’s page, or a picture, violates the client’s confidential health information. Our advice to nurses is to not befriend clients on social media. However, if a nurse and client are connected on social media, the nurse must take great precautions to be sure that they never indicate being the client’s caregiver; that relationship is confidential. Even posting pictures is tricky if observers can tell that the nurse is in scrubs, has a stethoscope, or is around medical equipment together with a client. If they already have a social media connection, we recommend that they never post pictures together or indicate the professional relationship with the client in any way. Watch this video for more information.
One of the other issues that we see often in home care what we call Role Reversal, which is that the nurse shares his/her problem with the client. Because the client depends on the nurse so much, the client often wants to help the nurse solve the problem – the client is taking care of the nurse! Clients typically discuss their health, emotional, and social problems with their nurses, and that is appropriate. It is not appropriate, however, if the nurse shares her/his problems with the client.
As part of our commitment to professionalism, we have specific training for our nurses at hire and annually during their competencies. We want to give our nurses all the training and support they need to succeed as home care professionals!