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Professional Boundaries: Communication After Patient Discharge

Petraits, Laura R. BSN, RNC-LRN

Section Editor(s): Catlin, Anita

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3182a2a81d
Ethical Issues in Newborn Care

The blurring of professional boundaries commonly takes place when a nurse cares for a patient for an extended period of time. This article focuses on the aspects of professional boundaries in neonatal nursing, particularly in regard to communication after patient discharge. Modes of caring are investigated to understand the nature of the therapeutic relationship between nurse and patient and how this can present an ethical dilemma at the end of a patient's hospital stay. A discussion of how a patient reunion is organized is discussed at the end of this article as a possible solution to reconnecting patient-nurse ties in a professional manner.

School of Nursing, Division of Graduate Studies, Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana; and St Vincent Women's Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Correspondence: Laura R. Petraits, BSN, RNC-LRN, St Vincent Women's Hosptial, Continuing Care Nursery, 3rd Floor, 8111 Township Line Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46260 (

The author thanks Dr Karen Iseminger and Susan Dochtermann for their assistance with this article.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2013 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses