Applying Ethical Frameworks in Nursing Practice

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Applying Ethical Frameworks in Nursing Practice

Disclosing patient information to a third party, without a patient’s consent or a court order is considered a breach of confidentiality. Legal liability for a breach of confidentiality covers a broader spectrum than ethical guidelines, which lend to doing what is morally right. Confidentiality in nursing comes with an ethical need for creating rapport with patients. Trust established facilitates increased communication and comfort for discussing personal information. There are some exceptions in terms of patient confidentiality; they are ethically and legally justified as a result of social considerations that are overriding. For example, exceptions are made upon reasonable doubt that patients are a danger to themselves or to another. Similarly, professionals are obligated to report suspected child abuse to authorities (Maradiegue, 2003). There are some laws in the United States where it is required to report particular infectious diseases, in efforts to protect community health. (Nathanson, 2000).

“When you have confidential information from patients, they have a right to expect that you will honor your professional promise of confidentiality” (Purtilo, 2012). The main goals of protecting privacy and confidentiality are sharing information with intent to help the client, without sharing sensitive information to those unauthorized. A health professional must also decide what information is necessary to share. Keeping information that is shared in secret is not appreciated as an end, but serves as an instrument of trust. Ultimately the value of maintaining both confidences, subsequently creating trust shapes human dignity (Purtilo, 2012).

In an article based on an episode of NBC’s ER, issues are raised regarding confidentiality in health care and the possible exceptions for breaching confidentiality. The nurse promises two female minors the right to privacy for STD and Pap tests...
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