Principles of maintaining boundaries
- You must never abuse your professional position,275 for example by pursuing a sexual or inappropriate emotional relationship with a patient or their carer. This is because it can damage public trust in the optometric profession, and the inappropriate relationship may affect decisions you can make about a patient’s care.
- You are in a position of power and trust with your patients and should maintain appropriate boundaries in how you communicate with your patients and their carers.
- You should not express personal beliefs, including political, religious and moral beliefs, to patients in ways that could exploit them if they are vulnerable or which might distress them.
- The definition of a carer in this section of guidance is a professional carer, family member, partner or friend who looks after the patient to the extent that they are part of their clinical experience, for example a parent who accompanies their child to hospital.
- If you are attracted to a patient, you must not act on these feelings. If you are not sure whether this is affecting your professional judgement, you should discuss this with a colleague or with your professional or representative body.
275 General Optical Council. (2016) Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians [Accessed 20 Nov 2020]