professional boundary

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professional boundary2016-12-12T02:19:15+00:00

professional boundary


An ill-defined psychosocial and sexual boundary which should be maintained between a professional and a patient or client.

Sexual contact is the most extreme form of boundary violation. Other actions by physicians may exploit the patient’s dependent position and the inherent differences in power. These behaviours include dual relationship, receiving certain types of gifts, duration of appointments, certain uses of language, self-disclosure and other behaviours that may be viewed as part of a “slippery slope” continuum. Professional boundaries in medicine refer to limits of a fiduciary relationship, in which patients entrust their welfare to a physician to whom a fee is paid for providing a service. These boundaries imply professional distance, respect and restraint from sexual involvement with patients. 

Reference JAMA1995; 273:1445 

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