The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of maintaining confidentiality, as well as, discussing why it is crucial in some situations to disclose or share patient information. Confidentiality is among the eight ethical elements important to nurses. Maintaining confidentiality is important because of trust. The patient must know they can trust the healthcare team, as the majority of the information provided is very personal and private. If a patient does not trust their doctor/nurse they are likely to omit certain details of their life that may be very useful in treating their illness. Confidentiality is a crucial part of the healthcare. It is a legal obligation and part of the duty to care to a patient (Beech, 2007). Nurses and healthcare providers should use their common sense, experience, and „gut‟ feelings to evaluate whether information should be shared. In obvious situations where patient or public safety is a concern or even a risk the nurse should at the very least notify their immediate supervisor and follow up on the decision that was made.
Kerri Horn is from Torrance California yet has called Lawrence Kansas home since 1997. She is the recipient of the Level III Clinical Excellence Award from the University Of Kansas School Of Nursing.
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