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Humanities at the Bedside

Boundaries - Session D

Crossing Boundaries - Violation or Obligation, JAMA “A Piece of My Mind,” September 23, 2013

Boundary Crossing in Medicine: Out of the Closet http://www.gold-foundation.org/boundary-crossing-in-medicine-out-of-the-closet/

Guiding discussions:

  1. Would you have done the same for a patient as the author? Why and why not?
  2. How you had experiences when you disagreed on what counted as acceptable boundary crossing with faculty, colleagues, other members of the healthcare team? Did you discuss it?
  3. Why do you think there was such outcry about this article? Do you agree with the altruistic commentary in the accompanying article?


  • What boundaries have you crossed with patients? 
  • Were you aware of it when it was happening? 
  • How did you recognize it as such, was it by personal reflection or was it pointed out to you? 
  • Could you justify and explain your reasoning for your actions, or did it “feel” right? 
  • How did these situations work out in the short and long term? 
  • Take 5-10 minutes and write about a particular situation.


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