Volunteers + HIPPA Guidelines

  1. My boss today requested that a new volunteer with zero background in the medical field sit in on an individual patient visit with me to get a better understanding of what our agency provides. I disapprove completely with this request and believe that having a volunteer sit in on a visit even if the patient agrees to it - is wrong and has no benefits for the patient. I would like to get others opinions on this matter. I looked up Hippa regulations and can't seem to pin point anything specific in regards to non medical personal observing medical visits esp. volunteers. In my opinion it makes no sense to have a person observe a visit unless they are a new employee who is in training for a similar position. I am going to discuss my unhappiness with my boss, but I was hoping to find some concrete rulings favoring my believes prior.


    Thanks for listening to me vent

    Purple_RN
    Last edit by Purple_RN on May 4, '04
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   BittyBabyGrower
    I would think that you would have to get the patient's permission. But, the volunteer my fall under "employee" and then be exempt. I would find out if they sign a confidentiality clause when they come to work with you.
  4. by   CraigB-RN
    As far as HIPAA is concerened, A volunteer is the same as an employee, and there is nothing against it. They should have signed the same confidentiality agreement that the paid staff has signed.
  5. by   Havin' A Party!
    Sounds fine to me -- with the patient's prior consent and the volunteer's confidentiality sign-off.
  6. by   Purple_RN
    I believe it isn't fair to a patient because when they arrive for the 1st visit at the clinic they are put on the spot - with out any time to really think about if they really want a volunteer to sit in on a visit with them. Having the volunteer sit in has no benefits to the client. Also most clients will say yes because they trust nurses. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth

    Purple_RN
  7. by   Dr. Gonzo
    Quote from Purple_RN
    My boss today requested that a new volunteer with zero background in the medical field sit in on an individual patient visit with me to get a better understanding of what our agency provides. I disapprove completely with this request and believe that having a volunteer sit in on a visit even if the patient agrees to it - is wrong and has no benefits for the patient. I would like to get others opinions on this matter. I looked up Hippa regulations and can't seem to pin point anything specific in regards to non medical personal observing medical visits esp. volunteers. In my opinion it makes no sense to have a person observe a visit unless they are a new employee who is in training for a similar position. I am going to discuss my unhappiness with my boss, but I was hoping to find some concrete rulings favoring my believes prior.


    Thanks for listening to me vent

    Purple_RN
    What is wrong with you? Have you ever considered that maybe the volunteer wants to become a RN like you and just wants to know what to expect to do in the future. If the patient ok's the volunteer being their which is the most important thing not what you think. Why do you care if a volunteer is their. Oh and on being put on the spot thats why you ask permission first when the volunteer is not present so you dont have to put them on the spot.
  8. by   Purple_RN
    Quote from Dr. Gonzo
    What is wrong with you? Have you ever considered that maybe the volunteer wants to become a RN like you and just wants to know what to expect to do in the future. If the patient ok's the volunteer being their which is the most important thing not what you think. Why do you care if a volunteer is their. Oh and on being put on the spot thats why you ask permission first when the volunteer is not present so you dont have to put them on the spot.
    First off the volunteer is an intern, but not for a medical postion at our facility. Secondly, I always ask a client without the observer present if the so called future RN, or new healthcare professional can sit in on the visit - I have no problem with that. There is usually never a problem once you present to the client that it is a healthcare professional - they usually like the idea of 2 healthcare professionals for the price of 1. But I think it would be harder to convince a client that Mr. Smith the intern in the computer dept. would like to sit in on a visit for example. The reason I do not want a volunteer there who has no background in healthcare and wishes to keep it that way is because it changes the visit dynamics. Clients express a lot of personal things in their visit with me and I want them to be comfortable and get the most for their money. Is that too much to ask for? Fortunately, unlike you my boss actually understood my request and I have overcome this obstacle.

    Purple_RN
  9. by   Havin' A Party!
    Purple -- Just a brief comment. To be fair to all that have responded, the question initially posted now seems a bit misleading. The focus of the objection to the participant was that he had "zero background in the medical field," and that there were "no benefits for the patient." Those, as properly pointed out by most that answered, aren't legit reasons for barring his presence.

    Now you've clarified (or, at least, the way I'm reading you) that the participant has nothing to gain from being there necessarily (because he may get what he needs from other sources).

    If this reflects the situation you're involved with, then it's an easy call in my mind. Sorta like having a maintenance man in the session to judge how much paperwork will be thrown out during the meeting.

    IOW, the heart of the objection isn't patient related, but goes to the fact that there's simply no necessity for the outsider to be present.

    If I now got what you're describing, then I totally agree with you.
  10. by   Dr. Gonzo
    Ok thanks for explaining your situation better yes if the volunteer has no desire in being in healthcare he has no business being their im a Volunteer and i do want to be a RN and do occasionaly help Rns with patients in the ER especially the Psyche patients so i do understand your problem with a Volunteer that has zero interest in Nursing.

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