Every day, our private health care information is being collected, shared, analyzed and stored with few legal protections. Confidentiality is a central component to the foundation of the helping professions. Without confidentiality, the client/nurse relationship is in danger of losing the developed levels of trust. Nurses carry a particularly heavy burden of responsibility because they share many personal and intimate details about patients during the time they provide care. This information is volunteered by patients based on trust that a nurse or doctor will not violate a confidence. However, there are many dimensions to confidentiality, with whom not to discuss patient information with, what to watch out for when discussing confidential information, and when it can be breached.
?You don't always have to be secret about your patients. You can, of course, share pertinent information about a patient with colleagues who are directly involved in his care. But you can't tell just anyone who works at the hospital.?(http://www.nso.com/
breaches.html) Kelly and Joel (1996) state that there are many situations encountered thought the course of the day that will test you when dealing with patient confidentiality. Those that we should not discuss patient information with include the following :
one patient about another patient
relatives and friends of the patientvisitors to the hospital
representatives of news media
fellow workers, except when in conference
your own relatives and friends (p. 311-343)
When talking to other staff some things may be easily misunderstood and passed on to residents, visitors and families. This misunderstanding can then easily be passed to the outside, and a "rumor mill" can begin. Whetton-Goldstein and Nguyen believe that when discussing information you should be aware of who is around you; keep staff-staff conversations concerning problems/ concerns as private as possible. If families or patients question you...