This has turned into quite a long post, so I apologise for that.

My kidneys failed a few years ago and I needed dialysis three times a week. Over that time, I grew close to several of the nurses who work on the dialysis ward/unit/whatever it's called, as in I would comfortably talk about my problems and, more than a few times, I'd like to think I helped them with their problems too and genuinely enjoyed their company. One nurse in particular I have a bit of a soft spot for, we get along really well and have great, fun conversations, and she generally cheered me up when I talked with her. There was even one night when, as can sometimes happen, my blood pressure dropped and I was in a pretty bad way and, rather than do just enough to make sure I was alright then get on with other jobs while occassionally checking in on me as is usually the case with other nurses, she stayed with me for something like 30-40 minutes, talking to me and keeping my spirits up. However, I knew that nothing could possibly happen between us romantically because there's rules against patients and nurses dating.

However, I received a kidney transplant last month which means I'm no longer a dialysis patient and, more importantly, her patient, so I'd like to ask her out. The problem is, bar randomly bumping into her around town, I'm not likely to see her again. I had always planned on getting something as a thank you gift for all of the staff (a box of chocolates and a card or something), and one of my friends suggested I get an extra card for her, thanking her, telling her I enjoy her company and that I would like to stay in touch whilst adding my phone number at the end. I don't think it's a bad idea really, but I've been thinking about it and there's a lot I'd like to say and wondered if a letter might be a better option? I'd like her to know how grateful I am to her whether she'd be interested in me in that way or not (but obviously I'd much prefer if she were) and that might get hard to get across in a card?

I'm a decent writer and could probably write quite a sweet card/letter, and I think that this is kind of romantic, which seems like something she'd appreciate, but I'm notoriously bad with women so some feedback/opinions would be good and greatly appreciated.

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First keep in mind that you were not her only patient. Second keep in mind that most patients feel the same way about a particular nurse while under their care. Third keep in mind that what you're feeling is natural for someone who'se received care, we tend to fixate on those who are giving us that care. If she's been a nurse for very long you won't be her first 'I love you' patient and you won't be her last.

I'd avoid sending her a letter in which you ask her out if I were you. If you want to leave your contact information at the end, go for it, but don't try to ask her out or declare your interest in the card. That would be bad form.

Medical professionals appreciate food gifts. A gift basket might be better appreciated than a box of chocolates, though medical professionals are getting less chocolate these days. A gift basket can be divided up among staff and brought home instead of sitting in the break room forever. And I personally hate the female "Oh, I shouldn't have another, or even one" "What?! No, you can have as many as you like. I'm the one who should stay away" dance. Of course, you won't have to witness it.

Letters are so rare, they're almost creepy these days. [Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. This is AoM. Bring back the romance. Sorry. Some ships have sailed.] A typed letter to all the staff thanking them for their care and specifically calling out this particular nurse will be VERY appreciated however. Best to address it to the boss and ask that it be posted in the break room. (This way, there's a professional, not just emotional, boost.)

As for the particular nurse and romance, I agree with the others that this has probably happened before, but that probably means she knows how to deal with it. She is free to date you in terms of professional ethics, but she may have other personal standards. Or she may not be interested for any of the usual reasons. I'd say wait awhile after sending the gift/letter, then call her (at work, but you can't reach her otherwise) and ask her out. If you just add your number to a card, that's too subtle.

I hope the transplant works out for you, and I'm impressed to see that you are in high enough spirits to think thoughts of romance.

I understand how you might have gotten close to your healthcare providers because of the circumstances. But as Rick Shelton pointed out, the situation was not symmetric.

I agree with your other respondents that asking her out would not be appropriate. A modest, non-personal gift, perhaps a box of goodies to eat she could share with her colleagues, and perhaps a letter of thanks and appreciation would be right. That would be tasteful and considerate. That means WITHOUT anything that fishes for "whether she is interested in me in that way or not". Yes, you could DISCRETELY include contact information if she wanted to contact you, in which case you would be letting her make the choice without being pushy. But appreciate the patient-caregiver relationship for what it was, without unrealistic expectations.

If you pressured her, and she succumbed to pressure but did not have any personal feelings for you, that could lead to heartache for both of you.

Good health to you and great success in matters of love.

Thanks guys, you've given me something to think about.

I'd never planned to ask her out via the letter/card. I'd just say I'd like to stay in touch, because I do genuinely enjoy her company in general. That way, if it is to be, maybe it'll be at some point or maybe I'll have a new friend in my life.

I also feel I should also point out that this is most likely her first job as a nurse and, given the small size of the unit and rarity of the illness in our age range (I'm 25, she must be slightly younger), I assume that she won't have encountered a similar situation before. The last thing I want to do is pressure her into a relationship (romantic or otherwise), or cause some kind of awkward situation for her to deal with. If that's the most likely scenario, I'll hold my hands up and leave her to her life.

As for my high spirits, they come and go but I feel I've been given a new lease of life now that the kidney is starting to work as it should. I've got more energy and motivation than I have had for several years, which is a blessing and a curse given the tole the operation has had on me physically. Obviously, getting back to life will come in time but, as a fairly active person, it's frustrating for the time being.

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