Patinet and Doctor: Friends, but Not Really(Your Opinion PLZ!)

  1. 0
    Ok I am a nursing student, but in this situation I am a patient. I asked my doctor to become friends with me, after the initial appointments were over (he still continues to be my doctor too, we'll have follow-up appointments).
    He's also older, he's in his early 50-s I'm in my early 20-s
    When I asked him if he wants to be friends with me, he asked what is friend to me, and I said to me it's hanging out, talking, going somewhere together etc.. And then he agreed to be friends! BUT! we only exchange messages on his work email!! (though messages are informal).
    When I mentioned cell numbers he said "his professional cell died and he dopesn't have a personal cell just a pager for on-calls" - Is that possible?? Really? What do you think?
    When I asked about hanging out he said he's only free after his vacation so that means in more than 2 weeks! And he has one weekend right before vacation but he says he'll work Friday till 6:30 and Sat and Sund he has to get ready! Really? Two full days to get ready for vacation?
    And a couple more things like that. Ok it's only been 2 weeks or less since I offered to be friends and he accepted, but still, so many excuses already!!
    Why then is he avoiding it when I actually ask him to hang out?
    Or do you think all he said could actually be true (all of it together)??
    And in case he's avoiding me, why did he agree to be friends and still talks to me over work email then?
    What's going on with this guy??
    What do you think?
  2. 32 Comments so far...

  3. 6
    I am having difficulties with boundaries in your situation. he is still your doctor. He has professional obligations as such. There are all level of friendships and it seems like your version is much closer than he might feel comfortable. I know I would not be comfortable if a patient wanted to have any sort of one - one relationship. I have had friendships with my PCP and it is a tightrope to walk. In all cases we had to make decisions if we wished to be friends or be HCP and patient. We either stayed at acquaintance level of friendship and I kept my provider or we became closer friends and had added responsibilities to maintain professional distance either by changing providers or using many of the same type roadblocks that he is placing.

    Whole 'nutter subject but why would a 50-some want to hand out with a twenty something? or vice versa?
    sharpeimom, tewdles, dishes, and 3 others like this.
  4. 2
    or using many of the same type roadblocks that he is placing
    So if he actually doesn't want to, then why not just say "sorry, you are a nice person but I am not allowed to be friends with my patients" or something like that, and save himself all this hassle? Why waste time coming up with all these excuses over work email :/
    tewdles and herring_RN like this.
  5. 1
    Perhaps he is trying to work out for himself what kind of relationship you are seeking. Perhaps he is having second thoughts.
    -Shrugs shoulders-.
    tewdles likes this.
  6. 4
    Sometimes doctor-patient relationships get a little muddled because of the personalities and life circumstances involved.

    I have this wonderful psychiatrist who's about a decade younger than I, and perhaps one of the most awesome human beings on the planet. Our relationship has never crossed professional boundaries and never will, but we're probably as close to being friends as a doctor and patient can (or should) ever be. We like each other tremendously, and our personalities mesh perfectly---we laugh at the same things, worry about the same things, enjoy the same things. I know about his recent colonoscopy results and his wife's mission trip to El Salvador, and he wants to know how things are going here at Allnurses and on my blog. We even consult with one another on clinical situations we're dealing with, never using names of course, and generally treat each other as colleagues more than anything else.

    However......when it comes down to where to draw the line, it's right here: I already HAVE friends. What I need him to be is a port in the storm that is my life with a serious mental illness. We tease each other, tell funny stories, and "talk shop" during sessions, but in the end he is my doctor, not my pal.

    The 'friendship' described in the OP doesn't pass the smell test IMHO. It sounds like a boundary violation to me, especially since the doctor is in his 50s and the patient is in her 20s. This could be viewed as potentially exploitive, given the differences in both age and balance of power, and isn't fair to either party.

    Orlette, you would be well-advised to find a new doctor and/or form friendships with people closer to your age group. You don't want to jeopardize his license, and you definitely don't want a reputation that might make it harder to get a job after you graduate from nursing school. Please consider what has been said here, and then do the right thing and leave him alone.
    dishes, herring_RN, Spidey's mom, and 1 other like this.
  7. 2
    I imagine he's trying to figure out exactly what you want.
    You're two different generations, with different ways of looking at things.
    As someone of the MDs generation, your request puzzles me.
    dishes and VivaLasViejas like this.
  8. 0
    So you think he is afraid I might be expecting something more than friendship and just covering it up with that "friendship-request".

    There are all level of friendships and it seems like your version is much closer than he might feel comfortable. I know I would not be comfortable if a patient wanted to have any sort of one - one relationship.
    He's still replying to my emails, asking questions and stuff, so doesn't look like he is trying to reject me in a nice way, and after our regular appointments ended and before I asked to be friends I would just sometimes sent him irrelevant emails just saying or asking something and he replied and told me to let him know how things are going..

    As someone of the MDs generation, your request puzzles me
    Well we had like 10 appointments, if it was just a random 50 year old I briefly met somewhere that I asked to be friends with that would be weird...

    I kept my provider or we became closer friends and had added responsibilities to maintain professional distance either by changing providers or using many of the same type roadblocks that he is placing.
    So you mean he is okay to be "kind-of" of riends but not close friends and that's why he is doing all that?

    I just thought maybe since he is married if he gave me his cell number and if I texted him after hours it would look suspicious to his wife and family.. especially if they found out it was his 22 year old female (former) patient..
  9. 2
    flame me if you want.........I think you are playing with fire. You need to be with someone your age, not old enough to be your father. I would be leery of a man old enough to be my father wanting to be "friends". Sounds inappropriate at best.
    If you are going into nursing to find a "friend" thats a dr......I would re-think this...
    also if you expect to have this relationship with all dr's, you are sadly mistaken.
    I think you need to re-think your position and "unfriend" this guy and be an adult.
    Keep professional relationships, professional........
    This is my opinion, of course.....
    Last edit by silverbat on Jun 27, '13 : Reason: spelling
    imintrouble and tewdles like this.
  10. 4
    Quote from Orlette
    I just thought maybe since he is married if he gave me his cell number and if I texted him after hours it would look suspicious to his wife and family.. especially if they found out it was his 22 year old female (former) patient..
    He's married?????

    Walk away. Block his texts. Do not text him.
    tewdles, VivaLasViejas, dishes, and 1 other like this.
  11. 4
    Orlette are you infatuated with your doctor? It does not seem there is a basis for a friendship.
    As a nursing student it is important to comprehend the nursing code of ethics, professional boundaries and expectations in the therapeutic relationship. When nurses do not understand ethics they are more likely to cross boundaries and end up being reported to their BON.
    imintrouble, herring_RN, tewdles, and 1 other like this.


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