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'When it comes to disclosing patient information, where is the line?'

  • 1 Comment

Can you advise this student nurse?

“The other day a patient’s friend asked me for an update on her condition. I started telling her and then panicked that I was breaking confidentiality. The friend was really annoyed when I stopped part-way through my update and told her I couldn’t talk to her without the patient’s permission - she asked me if I’d been told not to tell her anything, which of course I hadn’t.

“I knew that the patient wouldn’t mind at all but we’re always told to ask every time. Should I have used common sense and broken this rule knowing that the patient would have given permission?

“The incident really shook me up and it’s got me worrying about where the line is. Obviously that particular friend saw me as being obstructive and felt that I was being ridiculous, and maybe she was right.

“Where is the line? Does anyone have a good way to explain that they need the patient’s permission before giving information out?”

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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    This ('confidentiality') can get complicated - and it can have very damaging consequences:

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