Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Confidentiality

July 10, 2022

Nurses have a duty to protect information about a patient regardless of how the information is kept. Information should be accessed only on a need-to-know basis. For example, on a patient care unit only those health care personnel directly involved in an individual’s care should be able to access that patient’s information. Failure to maintain patient confidentiality risks legal liability and both civil and criminal filings may result. Employers consider violations of confidentiality an offense that justifies termination. The responsibility of maintaining confidentiality is not limited to the work shift. All matters committed to the nurse’s keeping are to be held in confidence. Securing the materials that contain confidential information is a responsibility of the nurse. These materials include not only the physical chart forms but the technological resources as well. When accessing computerized pat­ient files, the nurse must ensure the appropriate log-out information is entered to prevent others from viewing the records. Written notes and chart forms must be stored in restricted areas. Conversations discussing patients and their personal information should be held in private conference rooms. Discussions away from the patient care areas, such as the elevator or cafeteria, are problematic and should be avoided.