Ethics and Confidentiality

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Virtue Pages: 3 (1006 words) Published: January 24, 2013
In the nursing profession, keeping patient confidentiality is of the upmost concern. It is an important feature of the nurse -patient relationship and must be maintain as basis of providing care. Confidentiality is described as respecting other people’s secret and keeping security information gathered from individuals in the privileged circumstances of a professional relationship. (Lee and Godbold , 2012). The privacy act offer nurses some flexibility in using professional opinion regarding disclosure of information; however safe guards must be utilized (McGowan 2012). In the following paragraph, implications of breach of confidentiality and application of ethical principles and theories in decision-making in an ethical dilemma with reference to article by Nathanson , (2000)entitled “ Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care? When is it Okay to Break Confidentiality?” will be addressed.

Confidentiality is fundamental in the healthcare system. When Confidentiality is breeched, it may deter patients from seeking treatment for fear of disclosure of one’s personal information (Beech 2007). Confidentiality can result in legal and professional problems, distrust, disrespect, and feelings of betrayal and or poor compliance with treatment. The question then arises, when is it okay to breech confidentiality between a patient and the healthcare provider? Confidentiality may be breeched when harm is foreseen for the patient and the society at large. Mark Gowan (2012) suggests that “Nurses should be aware of some regulations regarding confidentiality as well as situations and when to use; and disclosure of Protected Health Information are permitted. (****). When faced with an ethical dilemma, all possible options should be explored in order to protect the patient’s right of confidentiality and autonomy.

While maintaining confidentiality of patient, it is imperative to note that issues might arise that will necessitate the breach of confidentiality as seen in the case of...
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