Before You Swipe: Online Dating For Nurses
Did you know 53% of Americans admit to lying on their dating profile? What are they lying about? It could be their age, height, income, or worse.
Nurses use critical thinking skills every day. It shouldn’t be different when it comes to online dating. Unfortunately, there are real dangers when it comes to online dating for nurses. Here is the most important information to consider before swiping.
Online Dating Dangers
Looking for your dream doctor, lawyer, stockbroker, or model? The internet may seem like a safe and easy way to find a lot of options at once. But beware of online dating dangers.
According to E-harmony, more than 40% of men lie about their jobs to sound more successful. And while lying may not be a crime, that’s not the worst online dating risk.
- 10% of free dating app users are scammers
- One in ten sex offenders use dating sites to meet people
- Since 2016, sexual assaults linked to online dating have increased six-fold
In addition to being hurt physically or mentally, a third potential hazard is being harmed financially. It’s something called “romance fraud.” In 2019, it was the 7th most reported crime. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) explained that romance scams occur when an online defrauder uses a fake identity to gain a victim’s trust. Next, they steal from them. These are just a few good reasons that nurses must be cautious when meeting people online.
More Online Dating Dangers for Nurses
Nurses have to be careful of online dating for another reason: professional boundaries.
Posting personal private information online can be risky for anyone. But nurses know that posting information online can have professional consequences also.
One of the American Nurses Association (ANA) principles reminds nurses that “patients, colleagues, organizations, and employers may view postings.”
Dating a patient is a harmful and dangerous professional boundary violation. Nurses who are contacted by patients (former or current) find themselves in a precarious situation. It is the healthcare provider’s responsibility to set and maintain professional boundaries.
An intimate relationship is considered sexual misconduct for a healthcare professional. It is an abuse of the nurse-patient relationship that puts the nurse’s needs first.
Healthcare professionals who choose to date online should avoid any relationship that could compromise their career, and another’s wellbeing.
Staying Safe Online
Nurses who think online dating is still the way to go can stay safe online with these tips.
The Dating Profile
Do not use photos on your dating profile that predators can find on other social media sites. Using pictures that aren’t on your other accounts makes it more difficult to get information about you. Anyone can reverse search your photos to find other sites that tell where you live and work or who your friends and family are.
And do we even have to say it? Beware of catfish. If your online match has no profile, bio, or just created their profile today, it could be a fake profile to catch you. Google them first, for goodness sake.
Sharing Isn’t Necessarily Caring
Take your time when it comes to sharing personal information.
Don’t be in a hurry to share details that scammers could use against you later. Some experts suggest keeping your phone number private until the person has gained your trust. Use Google Voice, WhatsApp, or another alternate number to communicate.
If someone online starts to overshare with you or sounds like a scammer, it might be time to run. Here are some common red flags that con-artists reveal when trying to take advantage of caring people [nurses]:
- Experiencing a sudden personal crisis and could use financial assistance
- From the US but living/working abroad
- Claims to be well-educated but use bad grammar or confusing language
- Recently widowed with children
- Vague answers to simple questions
- Overly romantic early on
- Wants personal details about home or work to send gifts
- Tries to sell services or products
- Grandiose stories
Video Chat before you meet. There is no reason not to chat before you meet In Real Life (IRL) with so many platforms out there. If your match insists that they don’t want to be seen, something could be up.
When it’s time for the first date, here are more tips to avoid dangerous situations.
Make sure a close friend knows where you will be. Screenshot your date’s information and send it out in case they take it down later. Have a “bail-out plan” so someone can rescue you if things take a wrong turn.
As courteous as it may sound, resist the temptation to have your date pick you up at 8. When meeting a stranger, please dO NOT rely on them for transportation. It puts you in an awkward, unpleasant, or even dangerous situation. They could be a bad driver, a drunk driver, or just smell really bad.
And this last tip is pretty obvious, probably. DO NOT meet a stranger at their home/apartment for the first date. Meet somewhere public. If the date becomes uncomfortable, ask a waiter, bartender, or hostess to help plan the escape, get a ride, or create a distraction so you can bail.
In short, there is nothing wrong with dating online but nurses must be careful. These safety tips for first dates and sharing information, along with sound critical thinking, make it possible to avoid a nightmare dating story. And possibly even find a happily-ever-after ending.
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