Breech of Confidentiality...

Nurses General Nursing


OK. I'm going to make this as vague as possible.

Someone claiming to be a relative of mine (but did not mention their name) reported me as a breech of patient confidentiality.

I was called into the office of the big head honcho of my unit, and after some discussion, I am confident that we are both at the conclusion that this was done by someone as a vindictive measure.

However. What, is anything, is my recourse? This was a direct attack on my liscence, my livelihood. Doesn't that constitute some kind of slander?

Lots of things to ponder, I know. This just sucks.

And I can't really tell people or talk about how I feel about it because that would be breeching this person's confidentiality. Wouldn't want to do that.

I really, really, really hate nursing today. :o



3,932 Posts

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU,.

i am posting to offer you moral support and i am so sorry this has happened to you. i do wish you all the best and (((((heather))))).


475 Posts

Heather, I hate this for you. It seems that your manager is taking up for you. Will they not tell you who this person is? It's impossible to fight who you don't know. Is this a letter from the "relative" , or a phone call, or email? Did yourNM document anything? I wouldn't discuss this with anyone from your job. Hang in there, but be careful. You are up against a spineless, mean-spirited person.


1,961 Posts

Originally posted by zudy

Will they not tell you who this person is?

They claimed to be my _______, but did not specifically say their name. Just that they were my _______.

It was a message left on an answering machine. Definately spineless.

This person swears they had nothing to do with it, and is willing to say that if needed. But someone this person knows is at the root of it, and I feel is using this to get at both of us.


aahhhhhh, I think I follow you. And, yes, I would say "slander."

(((((((((Heather))))))))))))) my hero and fearless leader. This sucks. Let's corner this person and I'll PINCH him/her




835 Posts

That WITCH! I am guessing who it is, and if I am right, I think she may be a two-faced liar. How incredibly malicious this is. In fact, no, wait a minute.......




1,244 Posts

My gawd, Heather, this can't be happening!

How are you supposed to defend yourself against someone who's not identified? Does the head honcho know who it is? Is it a real person, or someone with a chip on their shoulder from over at

Isn't there some law that says you're allowed to face your accusers? Or is the law different for nurses? Even if you were taken to court by a patient for a doc's mistake, you'd know who the blinkin' patient was.

But if no one has any info on this pt, how can there be a breach of confidentiality?

In order for that to qualify as a breach, the pt has to be readily known by the average person--not just the nursing staff who cared for the patient. Otherwise, the information is only shared by caregivers, and is an appropriate use of pt. info.

How do you know you even had this person for a patient? For instance, I was accused of doing something that was utterly untrue, and I was able to prove it because I NEVER HAD THE PATIENT. Luckily, I could prove it. Otherwise, with no names, dates, etc, I'da been toast. It was a case of mistaken identity.

There should be some policy/procedure with this type of situation that covers the vindictive liar or the mentally ill person. As it is, it only seems to cover the pt. who has a legitimate gripe. Well, that's not always true.

For instance, if someone files a false police report, that person can go to jail. It certainly IS slander (at the very least!), and I would certainly pursue some action--harassment is another charge that comes to mind. If it is not true, then someone had to take the time to find you, follow you, and make up a story about you, all of which reeks of harassment, stalking, call it what you will.

If this is something that is coming out of a bad policy, then I'd get real political real quick, go over the head honcho's head to the suits, and get the policy changed. You should have a right to know who said this, and you should have the right to defend yourself. It's wrong for any employer or BON to automatically assume and assign guilt--it is as morally wrong to do that as it is for a false report to be filed.

As a nurse, I'm tired of being stalked by shadows, being made to be afraid of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. It's wrong. You know? It's just plain wrong.


1,961 Posts

someone with a chip on their shoulder from over at

No. I know (knew) the patient. I know them by name, and I remember them being a patient. (not MY patient of course)

The person that supposedly made the call, is the person that links me to the patient.

I believe the patient is angry at both of us, for lengthy reasons, and saw this as an opportunity.



1,244 Posts

Guiseppe honey, get over there and give her a hug.

((((((((Heather))))))))) :kiss

(Keepin' the chins up on this end...)

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

What a frigging twit. Hang in there Heather, this was a blow below the belt. If they won't identify themselves they are cowards.


835 Posts

Oh, ok. I was off. But you know I have no problem with having someone hold my purse so I can open up a can of whoopass!

I know it's frustrating and makes you angry, but don't let it bother you. You're a great person and a spectacular nurse - don't let one coward get you to believe anything less!


1,827 Posts

heather, i feel bad for you. this person is really a coward by not leaving name or phone number, tells you right there that it's a hoax or slander rather. if i was your nm i wouldn't take it seriously since the person chooses to remain anon. just my thoughts.


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