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Can Nurses Have Sexual Relationships With Patients?


Men often fantasize about having a good-looking nurse take care of them — and not just their injuries and health woes. Some have sexual fantasies as well, but for the most part, these fantasies have to remain just that — a fantasy. Acting out on these feelings can result in serious repercussions for nurses.

Nurses can have only one relationship at a time with their patients. The main relationship should be the patient relationship, in which they are caring for the patient’s illness or injury. A romantic relationship can occur before or after the nurse-patient relationship (with a former patient), but it still could present some problems.

That’s because romantic relationships between a physician and a former patient may be influenced by the previous physician-patient relationship. Relationships with former patients may be considered unethical if the relationship would harm the patient or if the nurse uses knowledge, trust, or influence derived from the previous professional relationship.

It does not matter whether the sexual act was consensual or non-consensual. Consent is not a defense, so a nurse can still lose their professional license.

The state board can impose disciplinary measures on nurses who engage in immoral or unprofessional conduct. This may include failing to conform to an ethical or quality standard of the profession, which includes sexual relationships with patients. There does not need to be any actual injury to a patient.

In any case, it is in the nurse’s best interest to terminate the patient-physician relationship before initiating a romantic or sexual relationship with the patient. It is never a good idea to continue the relationship and bill the sex as a therapy. Also, nurses will not be able to absolve themselves from professional liability by stopping medical treatment while the sexual relationship continues.

Types of Sexual Misconduct

To be clear, sexual misconduct among nurses and other medical professionals includes the following:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Any sexual touching of the patient for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire in either person
  • Sexual invitations
  • Soliciting or accepting a date from a patient
  • Inappropriate nonverbal communication of a sexual or romantic nature
  • Masturbating in the presence of a patient or encouraging the patient to masturbate
  • Indecent exposure, kissing, hugging, touching, or physical contact 

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Nursing License Lawyer

Nurses need to be mindful of their behavior toward patients. Their main priority should be a professional relationship. A romantic relationship could be influenced by the nurse-patient relationship, and this is unfair to the patient.

Have questions or concerns about your behavior toward a patient? Don’t throw your professional license away over a personal relationship. A Tampa nursing license lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help you determine if the relationship is moral, ethical, or legal.  Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (813) 968-6633.