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Confidentiality as a Nurse - Essay Example

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Confidentiality as a Nurse

However, these cannot be considered as separate entities as confidentiality is interlinked with privacy and trust and most of the time means that the information should be kept a secret from others (Butts & Rich, 2005). Breach of confidentiality in the nursing practice leads to an encounter with ethical dilemmas, however, different circumstances call for unique decisions. The code of ethics includes confidentiality as an important and significant part of the nursing practice to ensure a trustworthy and open relationship between the clinician and the patient. The ANA Code for the Nurses states: “Associated with the right to privacy, the nurses have a duty to maintain confidentiality of all patient information.” The ANA Code for Nurses also states: “The patient’s well-being could be jeopardized and the fundamental trust between patient and nurse destroyed by unnecessary access to data or by the inappropriate disclosure of identifiable patient information” (Benjamin & Curtis, 2010). These principles of confidentially and respect to other people’s information establish the confidential nature of the communication between the patient and the nurse and the duty of the nurse to maintain the trust and privacy. If a nurse shares information about the patient during her nursing practice, she not only creates breach in confidentiality but also fails to respect the patient. Nevertheless, the nurses are encountered with a plethora of circumstances which place them in a dilemma about whether to preserve the confidential relationship or disclose the information for the patient’s benefit. An ethical case presented by Pamela G. Nathanson discusses the case of nurse Carol Hathaway where she promises her two young patients to keep their information a secret and will not disclose the patient’s information to the parent’s or any other person. The sole reason of her act was because the adolescents were reluctant to enter into care thus she ensured them of privacy and secrecy. The two girls were suspecting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and one of the girls is diagnosed with human papillomavirus and later she also tests positive for cervical cancer. The girls had been a part of various “sex parties” with multiple partners which led to the current circumstances and, therefore, are reluctant in telling their parents. This is an ethical dilemma for the nurse Hathaway as she is obligated to keep the information a secret. However, she is advised by the physician to report the parents as the treatment for the cancer requires parental consent as well as their support for the adolescent girl. Moreover, the physician also advised the nurse that the school authorities should be informed of the girl’s condition so that action could be taken about the sexual activities prevalent among the students (Nathanson, 2000). The case represents a complicated situation faced by the nurse where ethics of confidentiality have to be questioned or compromised for a better good. Confidentiality specifically in cases of adolescent or young patients is an important subject as most of them are hesitant or reluctant to share their information, fearing disclosure of their condition to friends, family or social circle. In such circumstances, the nurses have to gain the trust of the patients and show ...Show more

Summary

Confidentiality as a Nurse Name University Confidentiality as a Nurse Nursing ethics is considered as a domain of bioethics and there are several controversies about whether nursing owns its separate and unique professional practice-based problems or not. However, it is established that the nursing ethics similar to the healthcare ethics initiates usually with practice-based issues or problems…
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Confidentiality as a Nurse essay example
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