Fit-For-Practice – Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries at work can keep you feeling fulfilled and productive doing what you love to do. Setting strong boundaries is difficult- but don’t fear- here are some solid tips on how to be more assertive in the workplace.
STRATEGY 1: DEFINE YOUR BOUNDARIES
• Professional: Setting limits around job responsibilities and duties
o If you don’t set professional boundaries, patients are likely to ask for help with tasks that are outside of your job responsibilities. They may ask you to help with food shopping, laundry, or even babysitting. You may also get too emotionally involved with your patients. You could lose track of what your role is and how far to get involved.
• Personal: Limiting the amount of personal information you share with patients
o When you share too many personal details about your kids, family, or personal struggles, it may be hard to draw a line between work and home. Stick to sharing information that would be useful to patients. This isn’t about you. It’s about the patient.
• Physical: limiting the amount of contact you have with patients outside of work hours
o Since you live in the same community, patients may stop you on the street to talk about heir issues- even when you are not actively working. Nicely, let people know what your boundaries are and tell them when you are available for work-related conversations
STRATEGY 2: KNOW WHEN YOUR BOUNDARIES ARE CROSSED
• Discomfort: Feeling uneasy, anxious, or embarrassed when you are around someone
• Resentment: A feeling you have when you think someone is taking advantage of you or feeling that you are being treated unfairly
• Guilt: Feeling that you are obligated or responsible to say “yes,” even though you really want to say “no.”
STRATEGY 4: SAY “NO” NICELY
The Respectful “No”
• Listen to the request and acknowledge it. Add a refusal the end but do not offer a reason why. For example, “I know you want to want to talk, but I can’t right now.”
The Reasoned “No”
• Give the person a reason for why you are saying “No.” For example, “I can’t talk right now because I am on my way to pick up my kids at school.”
The Rain Check “No”
• Tell the person you cannot help them at this time, but will be able to in the future.
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