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Providing care to a sexual partner

Q: I work in the emergency department in a small rural community.  Recently, I was part of the emergency team providing care to an individual I am in a romantic relationship with. Can I provide nursing care in this situation? What should I consider?

A: In some instances, nurses, especially those working in small communities, may be required to care for a family member, friend or acquaintance. If a nurse‚Äôs current or previous sexual partner is admitted to an agency where the nurse is providing care or services, the nurse must make every effort to ensure that alternative care arrangements are made. Until alternative arrangements are made, however, the nurse may provide care.

It is important to note that the above would not apply in this scenario if the patient is receiving professional health care services in an emergency situation and there is no reasonable opportunity to transfer care to another qualified health care professional.

You can read more about this on page 17 of the Therapeutic Nurse-Client Relationship practice standard. 

Page last reviewed February 28, 2020