Can intimate relationships between health professionals be harmful to patient care?
Intimate relationships at the workplace is a complex situation at best. This is because it complicates the work environment. For your immediate colleagues, managers, and other staff. However, this does not mean that both parties cannot have successful careers in the same organization. After all, it is commonplace for people to meet and fall in love at work. If it goes well, some even proceed on to marry.
The reason why having a relationship at work is discouraged is because it can make the environment uncomfortable for other employees. For example, when the couple has a fight, it can be awkward working in a team with two people who do not want to talk to each other. It makes it uncomfortable when there is tension in the room, secret arguments and of course office gossip.
If the couple breaks up, it is even worse. They are uncomfortable around one another. They try to avoid each other, however, sometimes it is not possible. In the case of a relationship between a doctor and a nurse for example, if the nurse is allocated to her former partner’s service, she must work with him and vice versa. In such a case, the relationship may be so strained that they underperform. Making it a poor experience for their patient, who goes at a loss.
It may also lead to unexplained absences at work to deal with personal issues. It will also affect their state of mind when the relationship is on the rocks, causing absent mindedness and poor judgment. As for the other employees, working with the spouse or significant other of a direct supervisor can be cause for an accusation of favoritism. Even if the person in question has merit and the right qualifications, the staff is bound to discuss or include discrepancies surrounding a promotion, or other benefits due to their personal relationship. It becomes harmful to patient care when the involved couple neglects their duties like forget to administer medication and treatment. Perhaps schedule needed tests or update patients on their medical history and next steps for a healthy recovery.
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It is also harmful when favoritism comes into play, overlooking the person with better skills and experience, to look good in front of their significant other.
In a horrible scenario, a break up can ensure to become sexual harassment from a begrudged ex. This makes it extremely difficult to work, and after some time the harassed party may choose to leave their job, or report the case. In both cases, the patient is left hanging. Without either their favorite doctor or nurse to continue treatment. Also having a history with patients does give them comfort and helps them to feel calm in an otherwise panicky situation. Making them the one at the losing end.
Keeping it professional is also an option, and the only one when you want to continue building your career as you develop a personal relationship as well. Leaving out personal arguments when making professional life decisions (for the patient) is best. Knowing how to cope and present yourself even in the face of a personal adversity, calls for maturity and professionalism from both parties. In addition, dating someone you work with can make both parties happy who have little time to spend on social activities, seeing your partner at work can make you happier and as a result, work better.
Workplace romance often develops into marriage, as the couples who pursue workplace romance often feel they are ready for commitment. In that case, they receive a lot of support from colleagues and staff. It is more likely for colleagues to show disapproval when the two engaged are either both married, or one of them is. Making it difficult to work with people who resent your choices. It is also likely to get looks of disapproval when the person you are dating is someone whom you report to directly. Otherwise, most employees do not have a problem with developing romantic relationships at work.