Hello everyone- I need some insight on what to do on this event that occurred 3-4 weeks ago.Currently a RN student in my last semester; there is a friend ( X) in my program whom also works at one of the local hospitals which I do as well. During one of her shifts, X sent me a message stating that one of the patients in her floor was the husband of one of our past professors and whom we were supposed to have as a professor this last semester again. She told me in this message that the patient had been admitted a day before with X Diagnosis and also suffering from X and Y. I felt weird because even though she is a friend, I felt that its not right for her to be sharing that kind of information with me so I told her that she should be careful and respect patient confidentiality.1 week later school started and we find out that this professor will not be teaching our class for a personal issue.. While walking to class on campus, Y, another friend from the program tells me that this professor is probably not going to teach the class because her husband is sick, maybe pretty sick.. As not knowing, I asked Y how did she know, which she replied.. Oh, X told me... That made me feel even more uncomfortable because to be honest I really care for this professor, we have built a great relationship. A few hrs later I find out that X had not only told me, but also to Y and to Z.. Not sure if she mentioned it to more people or not..She violated HIPAA, Hospital Policy and Patient's rights... Should I mention this to my professor? That X told several of our class about her husband's condition? Should I contact the nurse manager of her floor and mention what X mentioned to me and several others? If I dont do it because she is a friend, I will be failing one of my duties as a healthcare provider and preventing this from happening in the future.. I would be very ****** off and upset if someone was leaking information from a family member..If I do say it and she gets fired from her work I will feel guilty, and what if she gets kicked off the program? She has done certain things in the program that I was not happy about in the past, like cheating while on an exam with another student and the professor had a serious talk with them..I just don't know what to do?? What would you do?Tell the professor? Tell her Nurse Manager? Thanks in advance.
Agree with Roser. This is an egregious violation of HIPAA. It is gossip, malicious, and it indicates a complete lack of respect for patients, their families, and the facility in which that person is working.
The other issue is that if the facility finds out that your friend has been gossiping, your school could very likely be given the boot and would no longer be able to do clinical rotations at the facility.
If that happens, this will get extremely ugly, there will be an investigation, and a student who has no qualms about gossiping about patients will have no qualms about identifying who she gossiped to.
My suggestion is that you speak to your school directors first to give them the opportunity to address this issue appropriately before it blows up at the clinical site.
They will have to tell them what happened, but if they can say that they have terminated the student from the program, they might have a chance of salvaging the relationship with the facility -- and any other clinical training facilities that they work with.
After that, if it isn't addressed, the next option is to go to the compliance line at the facility where your classmate is working. In a lot of facilities, those departments allow people to anonymously identify compliance violations.
Last edit by mazy on Sep 2, '12
: Reason: edited to add
HIPAA is not taken seriously enough, & you already tried directly addressing her about the issue. In my opinion, the next appropriate step is to bring it to the attention of the nursing school. Cheating & violating HIPAA - red flags that this person lacks the character/ethics needed to move forward into nursing.
Last edit by mariebailey on Sep 2, '12