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Telling employers rx's and health conditions


Has 3 years experience.

I was just offered my first nursing job in the ICU. I have been filling out all of the required paperwork to get started and then i came across the health history. I am supposed to write down all health conditions and meds. Why is our own health info not protected and we HAVE to disclose it. I realize they have to keep it confidential, but it is frustrating that we don't get a right to keep that to ourselves. I do understand liability issues and the company wanting to make sure you are safe, but have a doctor clear you not give a fully history of your past.

I have a history of epilepsy and had brain surgery for it. I then developed bacterial meningitis and a bone infection. I had to get a plate put in my head and had severe memory deficits and a personality change [id say for the better though]. The point is, I went to therapy to regain my memory and don't have seizures anymore. I still take quite a bit of medication. Why should i have to disclose any of that if it isn't an active problem? thoughts, things i am maybe not seeing?


Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

When applying for a job, you are applying to be an employee, not a patient. Therefore, HIPAA does not apply as you are providing the information instead of the employer viewing your medical record without your permission. Employers make the rules; it's either follow the rules or take a job elsewhere where your preferences can be met. Employers need to know that you are not a risk either to yourself or to patients- they need to ensure patient safety. Is being cleared by a physician or other provider an alternative? Sure, but it's not an alternative that was chosen by this particular employer.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Hmm - very sensitive area. I will share my own personal philosophy. I DO NOT provide my employer with any personal health information. I do not participate in any employer sponsored "wellness" activities or events. When I take sick time, I provide the least amount of info possible. If pressed, I just label the information as "personal".

When I experienced progression of a chronic health issue that pretty much eliminated my ability to wear respirators/masks for any extended length of time, I did inform my boss & HR. Because I was already employed in an educator position at the time, it did not have a major effect on my job. I only informed them because my health issue became a limiting factor in my job duties. If it did not, I would not have divulged anything.