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Warning Signs

Boundary violations can lead nurses to sexually abuse patients.  By recognizing warning signs in yourself and colleagues, you can stop the behaviour to prevent it from escalating to sexual abuse.

Here are some warning signs you should pay attention to:

  • Giving personal contact information to a patient
  • Communicating electronically with the patient through social media for personal reasons
  • Giving gifts to patients
  • Paying special attention to a patient (for example, spending time with the patient outside your shift, or on a break)
  • Discussing personal issues with a patient
  • Changing assignments to care for a specific patient
  • Dressing differently for a particular patient
  • Frequently thinking about a particular patient
  • Feeling other members of the team do not understand a specific patient
  • Feeling defensive when someone questions interactions with a specific patient
  • Keeping secrets with the patient
  • A patient is only willing to speak to a particular nurse

 Download and print: Warning signs fact sheet

Page last reviewed March 06, 2020