In the era of the #metoo movement, questions regarding behaviors related to sexual misconduct have been afforded a spotlight not seen before. In the health care arena, violations of sexual boundaries are particularly egregious given the type of relationship between patient and clinician.
All health care professions address the issue of relationships between clinicians and patients. The strict limits of the doctor-patient relationship are enumerated beginning when students are in school and continuing to those in clinical practice. It is critical that both students and clinicians understand these tenets.
In health care, violations of these boundaries erode public trust and they directly violate the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. Such violations can even have long-lasting physical and/or mental consequences for patients.
Two recent news stories involving chiropractors taking advantage of the doctor-patient relationship via sexual improprieties have come to our attention. Texas Chiropractic College finds such behaviors wholly unacceptable and in direct-violation of the inherent trust within that relationship and we condemn them in no uncertain terms.
We are committed to doing everything that we can to teach our students and interns about these boundaries and their effect on clinical practice. They are exposed to in-depth discussions regarding state laws regarding the practice of chiropractic including the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, we utilize live standardized patients who present boundary issues to our interns that insure that interns handle such situations properly. The proper relationship between clinician and patient is further reinforced during the intern’s clinical experience.