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March 23, 2021 15 min

Have you ever heard of the term boundary creep or scope creep? Although not a term we are overly familiar with, it describes the common scenario where someone asks you for something, and then they ask for a little bit more, and then a little more, and before you know it, the invisible boundary line has been crossed, and you’re left wondering how it occurred in the first place. It happens to the best of us.

Let’s say that you start working with a new patient, and you obviously want to do everything you can to serve them best. As your professional relationship develops, you become very familiar with their life, their family, and their greatest concerns.

As you continue working together, the patient may have expectations that are not realistic; however, because you’re there to serve, you accommodate. Maybe they send frequent emails with questions that should be addressed during a regular appointment. Or they text concerns about their children or other family members, hoping you’ll ‘do them a favor.’ Once you’ve opened that door, it can be complicated to close it.

However, by setting clear boundaries and expectations from the very beginning, you can stop this before it becomes a problem. So today, we’re talking about the best ways to set clear rules and guidelines about your availability, what happens in the event of an emergency, and how to handle those questions from patients so that boundary creep does not become a problem for you.

Gold Nuggets

  • (1:14) Why it’s so important to set good healthy boundaries with your patients.
  • (3:26) How to set clear guidelines with your patients.
  • (5:35) Why you should never, ever give a patient your personal cell phone number - and how to text your patients using alternative options. 
  • (9:20) How to deal with repeat offenders when it comes to cancellations, chronic rescheduling, and no-shows. 
  • (10:59) Why you should never answer a patient question over email if the answer is more than two sentences long.
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