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Definition of a "Patient"

An individual is considered to be a nurse’s “patient” for a period of one year following the end of the professional nurse-patient relationship. This means, if a nurse begins a romantic relationship with an individual to whom they provided care to a year ago, the nurse’s conduct would be sexual abuse.

In the context of sexual abuse, a professional nurse-patient relationship exists if the nurse:

  • has direct interaction with an individual for the purposes of providing care;
  • receives payment from an individual for a health care service;
  • contributes to the health record for the individual;
  • recommends a health care service the individual consents to; or
  • prescribes the individual a drug for which a prescription is needed
Page last reviewed March 06, 2020