A breach of confidentiality???

  1. Is it a breach of confidentiality to discuss a case or a work situation if names, places, or dates are not mentioned?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   micro
    I would be very very very careful about it.......on such a public forum.................even in the most general ways.......because confidentiality is a very serious subject and this is a very litigious society and field that we work in........

    check out the thread recently started by futureccrn..............it speaks to this same subject...................
  4. by   Sleepyeyes
    Precisely, Micro. Because I saw that thread, I would like a definition of what exactly constitutes a breach of confidentiality as pertains to this BB.
  5. by   futureccrn
    I guess it all depends on where you work and what they consider to be a breach of confidentiality?
  6. by   RNinICU
    I teach classes for our hospital's critical care course, and have used patient information in the form of case studies for these classes. I never reveal names, and I change a few minor details so that patients cannot be identified. So far there has never been any problem. I have kept copies of lab reports and EKGs for classes and for teaching my orientees. All identifiers are whited out for this purpose. I don't see any problem with discussing general information as long as the patient or coworker cannot be identified. I never use a coworkers name on the boards, though. You never know who might be lurking about.
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by futureccrn
    I guess it all depends on where you work and what they consider to be a breach of confidentiality?
    You're hedging. Yes or no?
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jun 28, '02
  8. by   RNinICU
    Sorry, didn't mean to hedge. I think that you can talk about general situatins as long as you are careful not to give away specific details that can be used to identify patients or coworkers.
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by RNinICU
    Sorry, didn't mean to hedge. I think that you can talk about general situatins as long as you are careful not to give away specific details that can be used to identify patients or coworkers.
    Terribly sorry, RNinICU. I meant someone else's post. I agree with you actually.
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jun 28, '02
  10. by   colleen10
    I'm a newbie and haven't worked in medicine yet but I was wondering about something...................

    I can understand a possible breach of confidentiality if you discuss a patient with a friend, family member, etc.

    But, what if you discuss a patient with a fellow nurse and co-worker? Is it a breech of confidentiality if you both work the same floor and/or same hospital?

    I guess I am asking this because of the other post related to this and few responses discuss how if you don't put down a name, DOB, SS#, etc. no one is gonna know who the patient is except for maybe the people that work there.

    So, what kinds of things can and cannot be disclosed to co-workers and is it dependent on "why" you would be discussing a particular case with a co-worker, ie. trying to figure out the best course of treatment, person has some behaviors that you may want to keep an eye out for like delusions, aggressiveness, etc.

    Any of your insights would be most welcomed.

    I also wanted to say that since I have been a member of this board I have learned and thought about so many things that as someone who is still in school I never would have had exposure to. Things like confidentiality, appropriate/innappropriate behavior, things to watch out for like what happened to Mario recently.

    Thank you for opening my eyes!! I can only hope that they will cover some of this stuff in nursing school, but I'm betting they won't.

    Colleen
  11. by   fergus51
    As far as coworkers in the same hospital, unless they need to know something it is technically a breach of confidentiality to give them info about your patient. If you need help from them or they can help the patient, like they cover for you when you go for a break, then it's fine.

    As for this board, I don't think any identifying info should ever be given about a patient, and the patient shouldn't be discussed if they are "newsworthy" and could be easily identified. I became concerned when I read a post about a 26 week old premie who had suffered a gun shot wound in utero. I discussed it with my nurse manager and she feels that it would be too easy to identify someone like this, so it would be a breach of confidentiality to discuss it.

    So I think we do need to be careful, but generalizations coming from a person who doesn't give their location are not a breach of confidentiality.
  12. by   VickyRN
    We live in a very litigious society and some hospitals, well, are just plain scared, anal, and petty to the point of being ridiculous. They'll write you up in a heartbeat over the most STOOPID stuff. Don't give them any reason to target you. Be very careful about how much information you divulge about patients and even more importantly--about yourself--over this open bulletin board. You never know who is out there lurking
  13. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Bulls**t I say. Complete and utter bulls**t.

    Heather
  14. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by fergus51
    ...As for this board, I don't think any identifying info should ever be given about a patient, and the patient shouldn't be discussed if they are "newsworthy" and could be easily identified. I became concerned when I read a post about a 26 week old premie who had suffered a gun shot wound in utero. I discussed it with my nurse manager and she feels that it would be too easy to identify someone like this, so it would be a breach of confidentiality to discuss it....
    ohhh..fergus..how kind of you to be concerned about our professionalism, enough to discuss us w/ your nurse mgr....:stone wait....i wonder if you are the narc.....ooops...did i just type & send that? dang cast keeps getting in the way....

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