Ask Amy: I Want To Be Friends With My Kind Nurse Practitioner

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dear Amy: I am a 54 year old happily married woman. I have an excellent primary health care provider.

“Rebecca” is a nurse practitioner in a large practice. I’ve been going to her for about four years. Rebecca is friendly, interesting, genuine and has an easy and fun sense of humor. She asks about my family, vacations, etc., and seems like a good person.

From day one, I leave every medical appointment wanting to be friends with her. We just seem to have a compatible energy and kind of a “click”. During my last preoperative appointment, she greeted me with a big smile and very enthusiastic enthusiasm: “I am SO happy that you can finally have this operation! I’m so happy for you!”

I don’t know if this is just his typical “bedside manner”, but I was very touched. I have a good group of girlfriends and deeply value friendship as one of life’s great joys. If Rebecca wasn’t my doctor, I’d take her out for coffee and be open to making a new friend or not.

But given the limits of this relationship, is there any way to tell if we could be friends, or if that’s just how she is with all her patients? And ethically, CAN a doctor and a patient become friends?

If so, it would be worth switching providers in practice, but I don’t want to make this switch for nothing.

Checked: The most “appropriate” and ethical position is that everyone stays in their box; “Rebecca” remains your excellent and caring healthcare provider, and you remain her grateful patient.

The warm personal rapport you share enhances your medical care: you feel comfortable and communicate well – she obviously listens, remembers the details of your life and cares about you.

Despite the standard of maintaining boundaries, practitioners and patients walk out of these boxes because they are human beings and sometimes human beings just click. The OB who delivers the premature baby becomes a friend of the family; the oncology nurse administering the chemo comes into contact with a survivor.

Making an offer of friendship with your health care provider is somewhat risky, as it could change the dynamic between you. If you want to try friendship outside the office, don’t ask her for coffee (it’s a bit too intimate). Contact her by email (not through the patient portal) and invite her to a group event with other friends – a fundraiser, a hike or a performance.

She can then accept or decline based on her own comfort level, and your professional relationship will be preserved.

dear Amy: My mother-in-law and I have not always agreed on everything, but we are cordial and we like each other. As the grandchildren have grown and there is less reason to communicate, I don’t know when or if I should call him.

When I’ve called in the past to chat, she seems happy to talk to me, but she never calls me. I feel like I should assume that if she never calls me, she must not want to talk to me. In fact, once when she was having a hard time, she told me that I didn’t “need” to call her.

However, she lives alone and is getting older, and I sometimes wonder how she is doing. I remind my husband to call once in a while, and he does.

We see her in person once a month or two, and she has other family and friends who live closer and see her more frequently.

Caller: I think these calls that you make are important – even if you are still the originator. As she grows, these will be essential ways to check in.

Your mother-in-law may be shy or a little intimidated. Some people have a real aversion to phone calls, it’s a kind of inertia that can be hard to overcome. From what you write, it seems that she does not call her son either. Continue like that; That’s what you should do.

dear Amy: “Concerned in suburban Chicagolandwrote that her 13-year-old daughter burst out laughing and left the room when her parents told her they were going through a divorce.

I thought I was the only teenager who laughed at the worst possible time. When my parents dramatically told me that my grandmother had died, I burst out laughing.

Shortly after, I realized that this strange response was mainly due to the fact that I was overwhelmed. I still miss Nana.

Faded away: Laughing in response to a loss seems strange, but it does happen.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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