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Implications Of Hippa Violations In Nursing

1168 words - 5 pages

Employees within healthcare and anyone who has been a mature patient in recent years have been duly informed of the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA), but even more people are more intimately familiar with the social networking site Facebook. Prior to researching the legal and ethical boundaries at it pertains to patient confidentiality in nursing school, many of us thought little of the HIPPA concept and how it applies to each of us as individuals. We can announce to the world on Facebook that I have a lump, please go get a mammogram! We can whine on for ages about our children’s medical problems. We make announcements and call for prayers for our spouses and parents who are ill. We share with our friends and family, sometimes things we should not share. This is not about Facebook; its essence is respecting others privacy and refusing to participate in activity that may divulge private medical information about anyone. Crossing that line, making clear the intent to become a part of the health care sector, changes your responsibility toward identifying information regarding a person other than yourself, and that information dies with you or there can be harsh consequences.
Some of the stories easily searched on the Internet are seemingly harmless, absent any intent – probably just a momentary lapse in sound judgment, or simple ignorance. A nursing student going to a nursing blog site and asking the question: my patient died during clinicals today. Any advice on how I handle this emotionally? Unless that student nurse’s blog identification is known to fellow students or professors, and no one could trace the identity of the patient and harm that person or their family in any way, this would be innocent advice seeking; but as one who identified herself as an RN related, just don’t get into this bad habit, talk to your professor, don’t post anything on line.
Other stories are horrifying displays of lack of good judgment. A man presented to the emergency room at St. Mary Medical Center in California with multiple stab wounds received from a fellow nursing facility patient. The medical professionals who were supposed to be caring for this dying patient failed to concentrate on his thoughtful care, and instead took a few photos of this gentleman and posted them on Facebook. Several of the staff lost their job and others disciplined for this cruel lack of integrity. In another incident in California at Tri-City Medical Center, nurses discussed patients on Facebook. While no job losses were reported, those involved were reported. Five nurses lost their employment by simply taking digital photos on their phones of a suicidal person and even snapping images of patient x-rays. Several reports have been made of nurse’s curiosity getting them in trouble by looking up records of celebrities. A contract nurse wound up seeking new employment for looking into records on patients not assigned to them at the University Medical Center in Tucson,...

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