DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old woman. I worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital for five years. Last month, I had an affair -- a one-night stand -- with a former patient whom I met in the hospital. It was discovered, and a week later, I was fired.
Abby, I swear nothing inappropriate ever took place while the man was a patient in the hospital. We only talked. Hospital management didn't believe me and gave me no choice but to "resign." Now I hear there are terrible rumors circulating about me.
Fortunately, my husband is standing beside me as I try to get on with my life. I feel like I have committed a felony and don't know how to forgive myself. -- MADE A MISTAKE IN MARYLAND
DEAR MADE A MISTAKE: You don't need me to tell you
that you committed a serious breach of professional ethics. Doctors, nurses, social workers and other health-care professionals must not have a physical relationship with their patients. Psychiatric patients are particularly vulnerable.
You and your husband would benefit from professional marriage counseling. It's important that you find out why you took a risk that sabotaged your professional future and compromised your marriage vows, so that you can understand and be able to forgive yourself.