Maintaining Appropriate Professional Boundaries

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Guideline.

  • It is your responsibility, not your patient's, to maintain appropriate boundaries in your professional relationship.
  • Be especially vigilant regarding any conduct that could impair your objectivity and professional judgment in serving your patient, and any conduct that carries the risk and/or the appearance of exploitation or potential harm to your patient.
  • Podiatry practice requires the hands-on interaction with patients, therefore, it is important to seek the patient's informed consent before touching the patient, particularly when conducting general histories and physicals.
  • Recognize and avoid the dangers of dual relationships when relating to patients in more than one context, whether professional, social, educational, or commercial. Dual relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively. Dual relationships include, but are not limited to:
    1. accepting as a patient anyone with whom you have had a prior sexual relationship;
    2. forming a sexual relationship with a current patient;
    3. treating patients to whom you are related by blood or legal ties;
    4. bartering with patients for the provision of services;
    5. referring patients to services in which you have a financial interest, without disclosing that relationship; and
    6. entering into financial relationships with patients other than their paying for your podiatry services.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:

Last Updated: April 9, 2014