Patient Confidentiality Essay example

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Patient Confidentiality: Ethical Implications to Nursing Practice

Patient Confidentiality: Ethical Implications to Nursing Practice
Patient confidentiality is a fundamental practice in healthcare and it is integral part of healthcare ethical standards (Purtilo & Dougherty, 2010). According to the American Nurses Association (ANA) code of ethics “the nurse has a duty to maintain confidentiality of all patient information” (Nursing world, p.6). Also, when a patient confidentiality is violated the nurse may risk their safety and welfare. There are a few exceptions to this obligation such as: an increase need to protect the patient and other parties or mandatory laws that protect public health (Nursing world,
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1). In the previously mentioned case involving the teenage patient’s right to confidentiality the ethics committee may have taken the following approach. First the committee would determine the patient’s ability to make decisions. They would then review all clinical information and facts related to the case. All of the alternatives would be examined and then valued according to the risks and benefits for the patient. Facility policies related to patient confidentiality as well as legal implications would be referenced. In this case the committee would investigate the potential for community harm related to the situation. After determining an ethical plan of action, recommendations would be made to the physician and nurse in this case (Lachman, 2010). In the end the decision would be a collaborative effort between the nurse and physician based on the recommendations. Protecting a patient’s private health information is an ethical practice that helps to maintain the trusting relationship between patient and nurse. The professional nurse is obligated to do so not only by the professional code of ethics but also by government mandates related to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There are instances when the best interests of the patient or community safety provide good cause for breaking patient confidentiality. It is important for the nurse to use an ethical decision