Nursing student HIPAA VIOLATION! Help

  1. I'm currently a first semester nursing student and just started clinicals. Yesterday was my first actual day of clinical and we are learning the software at the hospital. On our software it is so confusing and so much to view at one time. We were trained on the general information on HIPAA laws and I was trying to be careful not to access someone's record I wasn't supposed to but wanted to see the different features specifically in searching a patient. I don't know why it seems so stupid now but I figured if I searched mine it was more safe than trying to access a certain patient in different ways and end up seeing someones information I wasn't supposed to. After playing around with the software on my record I realized this could possibly be against hospital policy. I logged off quickly and I feel so bad and I'm so scared I'll get kicked out. Should I go ahead and bring it to my institutions attention? I know that it's tracked but it really was an honest mistake and I feel horrible! I just thought it was the safest way since I already have my records and now I'm sick to my stomach. I'm so sad I've been thinking about it since yesterday
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    About Reagan2010

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 7; Likes: 8

    25 Comments

  3. by   bjwojcik
    Personally, I would let my instructor know what happened. If you only looked at your own records I don't think that is a HIPAA violation. It seems like the hospital would have some responsibility in giving you access to patient records. No sense in worrying yourself silly about this.
  4. by   nalie2
    I don't believe it is a violation of HIPAA, but I know the hospital I work for prohibits us from looking at our own records. I doubt anything will come of it. Does the hospital you work for have a practice login you can use?
  5. by   Reagan2010
    I want to act with integrity and tell my instructor but I've read a lot of situations where the students make them aware of the situation and they get kicked out I'm just scared.
  6. by   Reagan2010
    No they don't have a practice login. We just briefly watched a video.
  7. by   bjwojcik
    Hopefully a nursing instructor will see your post and give you some guidance. I can't imagine that you would get kicked out of the program over something like this. How are you supposed to learn the computer system if you can't look at patient records, or at least a dummy record set up for learning? What I would do is approach your instructor and ask to speak to her/him in private and start by saying that something has been bugging you and that you need advice on whether you violated HIPAA.
    Good luck.
  8. by   Have Nurse
    I agree with bjwojcik.
  9. by   Reagan2010
    Yes I need to talk to one of them because it's weighing heavy on my mind. I just hope they will go easy on me because isn't that something people get fired for? Hopefully they can track how long I was on there and what I saw because it wasn't long and not in depth, was just trying to view the system without screwing up but I ended up getting it wrong anyway
  10. by   bjwojcik
    Don't worry, everything will be OK. I supervised the externship program at the pharmacy technician school I used to work at if we kicked students out for minor issues like this we wouldn't have any students. Let us know how things turn out.
    Brad
  11. by   Reagan2010
    I sure will thanks for the advice!
  12. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I would tell my instructor. It's not a HIPAA violation (as far as I know), because it's your medical record that you have legal access to. But you didn't go through the proper channels to view your record. It is an issue that would be much better coming from you rather than the hospital.

    Good luck.
  13. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Definitely not a HIPAA violation. It may be a policy violation for the facility. Tell your instructor. Im surprised they don't have "dummy" terminals that you can practice navigating on
  14. by   emmjayy
    Not a HIPAA violation per se, but at my school they told us the first day that under no circumstances were we allowed to look up our own medical records in the system. If we wanted access, we needed to go through the same procedure that any other patient would. It sounds like you didn't get that talk at all, though. I'd bring it up to an instructor, it sounds like a knowledge gap that is not your fault.

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