Professional Boundaries

As health care professionals, nurses strive to inspire confidence in their patients and their families, treat all patients and other health care providers professionally, and promote patients’ independence. Patients can expect a nurse to act in their best interests and to respect their dignity. This means that a nurse abstains from obtaining personal gain at the patient’s expense and refrains from inappropriate involvement with a patient or the patient’s family members.

Crossing professional boundaries or improper use of social media are violations of the nurse practice act and can be the cause of professional discipline and termination of employment.  

Boundary Violations

Professional Boundaries in Nursing Video

NCSBN’s video, Professional Boundaries in Nursing, explains the continuum of professional behavior and the consequences of boundary crossings, boundary violations and professional sexual misconduct. Watch now!

Social Media

The use of social media and other electronic communication is expanding exponentially. While social media is an exciting and valuable tool to nurses when used wisely, it can pose risks when used inappropriately. NCSBN has developed social media guidelines for nurses, along with a number of resources to help disseminate best practices.

Social Media Guidelines for Nurses Video

NCSBN’s video, Social Media Guidelines for Nurses, summarizes key points of the white paper, along with dramatization of potential scenarios of inappropriate social media use. Watch now

Practical Guidelines for Boards of Nursing on Sexual Misconduct Cases

This resource provides boards of nursing with practical guidelines in making decisions about sexual misconduct cases in their mission of public protection.

A Nurse's Guide to Professional Boundaries

This brochure helps nursing students, educators, health care organizations and the public understand and apply the concepts of professional boundaries between a nurse and a client.  

A Nurse's Guide to the Use of Social Media

This brochure is designed to help both new and experienced nurses understand how social media can be properly used in the profession without breaking patient privacy and confidentiality laws. It outlines:

  • Potential consequences for violating patient confidentiality by using various scenarios and situations
  • Uncovers common myths and misunderstandings about social media
  • Provides tips for how nurses can use social media appropriately while avoiding disclosing confidential patient information