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Section 3 - Setting boundaries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2015

Thomasine K. Kushner
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
David C. Thomasma
Affiliation:
Neiswanger Institute of Bioethics and Health Policy, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
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Summary

Defining professional parameters can be especially complex and confusing for doctors in training. What counts as too close so that professionalism is lost? What counts as so removed as to lose the special connection that defines the physician–patient relationship? The blurry state of boundaries is underlined in our time by shifting role expectations and the importance of patient autonomy. Physicians owe patients clarity as to what they will or will not do, and patients must be clear with their physicians about their own values and limits.

In this section we stress three of the most difficult boundaries to establish in the physician–patient relationship. They define boundaries of professional parameters. Might sexual relations initiated by patients be justified? What are appropriate responses to sexual innuendoes? How to handle the common complaint about investing emotional energy in difficult patients? Is losing compassion inevitable?

Type
Chapter
Information
Ward Ethics
Dilemmas for Medical Students and Doctors in Training
, pp. 97
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2001

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