Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Required Capacities
  1. Self-awareness. The ability to reflect on one’s subjective thoughts, feelings and actions. Thus, the nurse may realize she is conveying an attitude that could impede the therapeutic process and tries to counteract any potential negative effects on the client.
  2. Self-knowledge. The nurse appreciate the unique perspective of the client, is able to avoid burdening the client with his/her issues, and can prevent superimposing his/her own beliefs and preferred solutions upon the client.
  3. Empathy. Empathy involves the nurse being able to attend to the subjective experience of the client and validate that his/her understanding is an accurate reflection of the client’s experience.
  4. Awareness of boundaries and limits of the professional role. Boundaries define the limits of the professional role. A nurse is obligated to place the client’s needs before his/her own needs.

Indications that boundaries may have been crossed include:

  • Having special clients
  • Spending extra time with clients
  • Keeping secrets with clients
  • Doing activities with clients that you do not share with colleagues