I'm currently working on pre-reqs for nursing school, but have a degree in Psychology...when I was working on my undergrad, I had to take a course in experimental psychology and this very subject was pounded into our brains regarding ethics in testing and reporting.
You have two issues: Hospital policy and patient-caregiver confidentiality.
We were taught, as a general privacy rule, that you can mention any situation about any patient as long as identifying factors are not used.
For example, you never use a name, first or last, if you have to do something in writing you can make up a name or use initials. Age is not considered identifying factors. General profession is ok, but exact job title or place of employment should not be used. Marital status is ok, number of children is ok, but the children should never be mentioned as being male or female. Sexual orientation is ok (this could be a significant factor), but the place where someone is from is never relevant (but in nursing it might if someone has a disease that is highly contagious), and other identifying information about their hometown is usually not relevant.
Imagine, if you couldn't discuss anything, how this would limit care? Nurses couldn't compare stories and learn from each other. Situations could never be reviewed in a hospital staff meeting in order to improve care, or to educate inexperienced nurses, which is very valuable.
The hospital may have a policy (and you should check with that), but as far as what is considered general ethics? What I have described above is not a privacy violation.
Quote from Elisheva
First, let me say that I love this forum, even when it's a bit sticky or controversial. I think healthy disagreement can be a good thing.
I do have a question about patient confidentiality. I've been out of nursing but plan to return soon. Maybe a lot has changed since I left, but I do remember that we were strictly taught to not discuss patients, their diagnoses, etc. In fact, we were told that there were liability issues even if we discussed patients without naming names if they could be recognized from our conversations.
I am surprised, then, to see patients and their cases and outcomes discussed so openly on the forum. If I were a patient, I think I could recognize myself from some of the content. Mind you, I enjoy it and learn from it, but it is a concern?