Discuss the importance of confidentiality

Essay by HANLEYB-, July 2004

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Discuss the importance of confidentiality and this statement from the Nursing

Midwifery Council,

"as a Registered Nurse, Midwife or Health Visitor, you are personally

accountable for your practice. In caring for patients and clients, you must

protect confidential information", ( NMC, 2002 ).

The author of this essay is a student nurse who has recently completed their first clinical placement. The placement was a day hospital for people over the age of sixty five, who were experiencing mental health problems. The essay begins by discussing why confidentiality is important. It then goes on to discuss the reasons why a registered nurse is personally accountable and also to whom they are accountable to. Additionally the author will discuss the student nurses own experience that the author gained in placement throughout this essay and also include reference to relative, supportive literature wherever possible.

Patients and clients have the right to expect that any information that the nurse acquires during the course of them providing care will be held in confidence ( NMC, 2002 ).

Confidence is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, ( 1995 ), as "firm trust." If you relate this definition to the nurse - patient or client relationship, confidentiality is therefore central to trust. A patient or clients decision to give or withhold information will depend on whether they actually trust the nurse involved or not, so it is important that the nurse behaves in such a way as to gain their trust, in accordance with 1.2 of the Code of Professional conduct ( NMC, 2002 ). The author, whilst on placement, always tried to gain the trust from clients by not discussing anything that was spoken about during normal day to day conversations with anybody else. As agreed by Kenworthy et al ( 2002 ), "what is confidential...