Hipaa violation as a student nurse

Nurses HIPAA


I'm in need of some information. A friend of mine unknowingly violated hipaa during a clinical rotation. This is what happened. One of the patients on the floor also happened to be a client in another facility for whom they worked for. My friend overheard the physician and another nurse in the hallway saying some very derrogatory comments about the care the patient had been recieving, it was not real clear if the remarks made were directed toward the family of the patient or the facility from which the client came from. Nevertheless, my friend sent a text message to a co-worker who was also involved in the patients healthcare, and that co-worker went to the director with the information that was over heard, the director then contacted the hospital to notify them of a breach of hipaa. The student didn't do this to be malicious, and didn't know that it was a violation of hipaa at the time, they stayed within the realm of healthcare of the patient. They were reprimanded through the school and it was also turned into the the BON, so my question is, will this student be able to obtain a nursing license?

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

It's very likely that she will get kicked out of her program. She should be well aware of what constitutes a HIPAA violation. This is not a gray area. She wasn't relating pertinent healthcare information between a receiving facility. It appears that she was gossiping about something she overheard. That violation could have cost the facility. I'd be surprised if they allowed her to continue on.

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

gossiping about something you've overheard is rarely a good idea in healthcare.

Specializes in Emergency.

If your friend was in clinical, she must have been taught about expectations of HIPAA. People do have slip ups with HIPAA, but it usually is not something so simple as this which is an obvious violation.

There is a lot of communication that goes on in Nursing. One thing I have learned is there are some discussions that can only occur in person. No email, no texting. but most of those "in person only" conversations, are not for Nursing students to have.

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

If this student was really concerned about what she overheard, the proper thing to do is report it to the superiors in the hospital. Instead, she gossiped about it via text message to someone who had no business knowing anything about the recipient of the message was involved in the patient's care at the other facility because 1. The patient was not at the other facility and 2. The information was not relevant to the patient's care.

Before you started clinicals, you signed a form regarding HIPAA rules and patient confidentiality. Your signature validates that you READ and UNDERSTOOD the information agreed to abide by the rules, or face consequences. One cannot claim that they didn't know something was a HIPAA violation because they signed this form. If the student did not understand HIPAA violations, then they should not have signed the form. Another reason why you should actually READ things before you sign them.

If this student is removed from the nursing program, then she cannot sit for NCLEX and will not be able to obtain a license. If she does complete the program, than her disciplinary action will be on record with the BON and whether or not she will be able to obtain a license will be at the discretion of the BON.

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