Scared ill be kicked out of school :(

  1. 0
    I am a nursing student and have been in my program 6 months. Over the weekend, a good friend of mine was in a car accident and in the ICU. I went to visit him, and he was telling me what happened but he wasn't sure what exactly had happened and what was all fractured. Of course me being a student I was so thrilled to be in the ICU and was trying to apply what I know so far to what I was seeing go on in his room. Today at clinical at the same hospital, I figured I'd stop by and see him, but then I was thinking maybe he would be moved to a regular med surg unit by now. Without even thinking, I clicked on his unit in ICU and checked to see if any new notes were added and his vitals for today to see howhe was doing. Simultaneously, it suddenly dawned on me this was a HIPAA violation, and I quickly signed out, realizing what I'd done. We have had very little info about what specifically constitutes a violation, but I obviously knew enough to know about a minute in to realize I had made a huge error in judgment. I haven't been able to eat or calm myself down I am beyond petrified this will be found out and I'll be kicked out of my program. I can't say I accessed it unintentionally because that is a lie, but I just wasn't thinking about it as being a violation. I'm embarrassed and ashamed and scared most of all. Can anyone tell me if this is likely to cause me to be thrown out of school?
  2. 10 Comments so far...

  3. 6
    Momentary lapse of judgement immediately corrected when it dawned on you when that came up on the computer screen. I would keep mum about this in the hopes that nothing is said. While it might seem that you should confess, that will most likely have devastating repercussions that you would regret. I think you have already learned your lesson here. Now that I have said this, it is my opinion only, as we are not allowed to provide legal advice. You would do well to seek the advice of an attorney should you get hauled into an office over this. Best wishes.
    GrnTea, DizzyLizzyNurse, llg, and 3 others like this.
  4. 2
    I would think there is little likelihood anyone will notice. The angst you are feeling will help drive this lesson home. If the patient was a celebrity, the chart was being audited, or you were being investigated it would come to light. But that probably won't happen. You now realize that to find out how they are doing you should just go visit them and let them tell you about their progress.
    DizzyLizzyNurse and Merced like this.
  5. 1
    Most likely no, but if they run an audit and they see people who aren't involved in care you could be called. They run random audits on each unit every few months where I work. Lesson learned.
    GrnTea likes this.
  6. 1
    Yes, you did violate HIPAA. People HAVE been fired/dismissed for browsing in friends/family members charts.

    Fortunately, you had the sense to stop yourself.

    Given you immediately realized it was a mistake, I agree with caliotter: probably not much good would come from telling your instructor. And while it's not likely that it'd ever come up in an audit, should it come up, I agree with you: do not intentionally lie. Should it come up, seek a lawyer's advice ASAP.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Jul 17, '12
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
  7. 1
    I also agree that since you self-corrected, and learned an important lesson, you should not self-report. That sets in motion a chain of events which in not in proportion to this non-event.
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
  8. 2
    This hopefully will just be an important lesson for you. This is clearly a HIPAA violation, and one of the thing i hope you learn is how easy it is to get into hot water...that momentary lapse of judgement...got you!

    Most likely it will not be noted. If every person was called for clicking into a chart that they should not have accessed, we would all be in trouble....as sometimes people simply open the wrong chart- have no desire to be in that chart and are looking at say the orders, thinking, "Gee this doesn;t look like my patient, Ooooh because it isn't"

    Be careful. Learn from it, and clearly don't do it again!
    GrnTea and Meriwhen like this.
  9. 0
    If someone were to pursue it, then yes I think it's something that could potentially get you kicked out of the program. That said, I think they likelihood of anyone pursuing it is very, very slim. When I did one of my clinical rotations, the head nurse told our group that student nurses are always clicking on things they shouldn't, not because they are trying to find protected information but because they aren't 100% sure what they are doing. I don't imagine they look at your random clicks (even though this one wasn't really random) as much as they do they actual charting and work you do.
  10. 0
    Quote from missa8182
    I am a nursing student and have been in my program 6 months. Over the weekend, a good friend of mine was in a car accident and in the ICU. I went to visit him, and he was telling me what happened but he wasn't sure what exactly had happened and what was all fractured. Of course me being a student I was so thrilled to be in the ICU and was trying to apply what I know so far to what I was seeing go on in his room. Today at clinical at the same hospital, I figured I'd stop by and see him, but then I was thinking maybe he would be moved to a regular med surg unit by now. Without even thinking, I clicked on his unit in ICU and checked to see if any new notes were added and his vitals for today to see howhe was doing. Simultaneously, it suddenly dawned on me this was a HIPAA violation, and I quickly signed out, realizing what I'd done. We have had very little info about what specifically constitutes a violation, but I obviously knew enough to know about a minute in to realize I had made a huge error in judgment. I haven't been able to eat or calm myself down I am beyond petrified this will be found out and I'll be kicked out of my program. I can't say I accessed it unintentionally because that is a lie, but I just wasn't thinking about it as being a violation. I'm embarrassed and ashamed and scared most of all. Can anyone tell me if this is likely to cause me to be thrown out of school?
    Regardless if it was a HIPAA violation or not, looking up someone else's information is wrong.
  11. 2
    I understand your perspective, but you also may not want to use the word "thrilled" to describe visiting your friend in the ICU after a car accident.
    sapphire18 and VictoriaGayle like this.


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