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‘My patient has added me on Facebook’


Do you have any advice for this student nurse?

“I’m on my first mental health placement and my mentor is named nursing a patient who doesn’t really open up to him.

“So he was really impressed when I managed to build a therapeutic relationship with her and completed a detailed mental state assessment – something she hadn’t allowed him to do.

“Then I got a friend-request on Facebook from this patient. I didn’t want to ruin the therapeutic relationship I’d worked so hard to build, so hit “accept” without really thinking.

“Now I’m receiving daily (bizarre) messages from this patient, she seems to think she and I are in cahoots against my mentor.

“I know I shouldn’t have accepted the request, but what do I do now?! Deleting her isn’t really an option because she’ll think I’ve turned against her. This is my hub placement so I’ll be coming back and she’s likely to still be there.”

- Anonymous


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Readers' comments (7)

  • You have to nip this in the bud and get it dealt with ASAP, losing the therapeutic relationship you have built with one patient is difficult, but losing your future pin would be worse. You really need to disclose what's happened to someone on the ward as the patient may well try to turn the situation around to place the blame on you. Treat this as a learning curve, set your social media settings to private and good luck with the rest of your training

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  • I'm a trained nurse of 7 years and this has happened to me twice, do not Accept the friend request, I went and spoke to the patient and just explained that as a nurse I couldn't have patients on my Facebook so I couldn't accept the request and left it at that.

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  • You need to discontinue this relationship and inform your mentor what has happened. You may find that your mentor will not allow you to continue the therapeutic relationship with this patient as it will compromise her long term care. You have done well to form a bond with this patient that your mentor wasn't able to do but it is a professional relationship and this patient remains vulnerable. Depending on why the patient is under your care there could be potential for the patient to cause you problems or blame you in some way for things which are out of your control. Use this as a learning opportunity and know that you have done well in one respect to build a trusting bond, but also be aware that many patients you encounter have the potential to be manipulative.

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  • sharon down

    Though I am not a mental health nursing student, I know how good it feels when you have a break through with a patient. You need to speak to your mentor and or your uni tutor regarding this, the NMC state you need to be able to keep to professional boundaries and it is not in your patient's best interest that you have got this close with them. On the plus side it is good that you have realised that boundaries have become blurred and that you need some help. You need to say something now before things go wrong for both you and the patient. Use this to reflect back on for future development good luck.

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  • Get help as stated by previous posts things will only get worse for you both if you dont! Good luck :-)

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  • I understand the feeling of accomplishment when you are able to succeed when others were not. It is important to keep things professional and have this patient blocked or unfriend them. This issue must be brought up to your mentor as well. Maybe next time you should make your profile unsearchable that way this will not happen again. Good luck.

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  • I would advise that you speak to the patient yourself first and reiterate professional boundaries (this is also stated within the NMC Code of Conduct) as well as informing your mentor of the matter.

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