Confidentiality : A True Therapeutic Nurse Patient Relationship

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Confidentiality in Nursing Wayne Browning Austin Peay State University Abstract In a true therapeutic nurse-patient relationship, establishing trust is a key factor to promote quality and compassionate care. This trust can be easily jeopardized by a breach in confidentiality of the patient’s personal health information. This paper will focus on the importance of confidentiality as it relates to nursing and patient information and the vulnerabilities that can attribute to breaches of that information. Whether verbal, electronic, or written documentation, confidentiality must encompass all information obtained about a patient and exist only on a need to know basis among those healthcare professionals involved in that patient’s care. In today’s age of information technology and the use of electronic medical records, a patient’s personal health information may be vulnerable to inappropriate misuse. When confidentiality is broken then the ever important nurse-patient relationship is broken. The ethical dilemmas and legal issues that accompany confidentiality breaches can result in large fines and lawsuits against healthcare facilities and also end nursing careers. It is the patient’s right to have his or her personal medical information protected at all times and the nurse must understand the responsibility to protect that right is an important factor in maintaining the nurse-patient relationship. Keywords: confidentiality, nurse-patient relationship
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