Ethical Issues in Nursing: Patient’s Confidentiality

Ethical issues occur when one has to choose, and the available options do not perfectly suit the situation. In nursing, the decision could affect the quality of service and care given to a patient. In some cases, it could appear as the ideal thing to do, but the ethical codes do not allow it. People in authority, such as nurse managers, are responsible for making appropriate decisions and being on the lookout to avoid ethical violations (Butts & Rich, 2019). I faced an issue where a third party demanded a patient’s medical information, arguing that he is obligated to know because he pays for the medical bills. The dilemma I had on this case is whether to maintain the confidentiality of the patient or compromise it for the bill has to be paid.

Ethical principles require that a nurse commits to creating a boundary between duty, loyalty, and responsibility (Ferrell & Paice, 2019). The moral issue, in this case, is that of the patient’s privacy. It requires that the health practitioner having the medical records of a patient does not share or release information to anyone except the patient. Such confidentiality is necessary to protect the patient from harm, stigma, and any negative implication of disclosing sensitive data (Ferrell & Paice, 2019). However, if the third party has the patient’s best interest, it can justify access to the information.

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For the case, I released the medical data to a third party after consulting with the nurse managers. The reason is that because the third party was the patient’s immediate family member and was in charge of settling the bill. The justification for this decision was that the interest was not harmful to the patient but was for the general good of the patient. Conclusively, there are exemptions to which specific particular codes are compromised because they work for a patient’s best interest.

References

Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2019). Nursing ethics (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ferrell, B. R., & Paice, J. (Eds.). (2019). Oxford textbook of palliative nursing. Oxford University Press.

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