Friday, November 16, 2007

What Do Nurse Practitioners Have To Keep Confidential

I took a peek at my sitemeter and saw that a question about confidentiality brought someone to my site. I thought that it might be a good topic. So here goes...

In the medical field, any practitioner (MD, NP, nurse, CNA etc) must keep all information about a patient confidential. We all know about HIPAA and it's restrictions regarding release of information in office and hospitals. Sometimes it can be a nuisance, but for the most part, it's there to protect patient's medical information.

The part of confidentiality that interests me the most is the fact that patients sometimes worry that we "blabber to everyone" their personal business. I tell my patients that ANYTHING said between me and them is strictly confidential. There are few exceptions such as homicidal threats or threats to self that I take seriously and would make sure that the MD is aware of.

I always want patients to understand that they can talk to me about any subject without being embarrased. This is sometimes an issue with men regarding erectile dysfunction issues and such, as it is for females speaking to a male MD. If someone is uncomfortable speaking with me, I never feel bad about sending them to whomever they feel comfortable with. Most do stay and talk once I explain that "I've pretty much heard it all and there's no way to embarrass me."

Sometimes, it's important to have separate visits for spouses to make sure that if there are any issues that need to be addressed can happen. This is especially true for spousal abuse potential. This goes for husbands and wives. Abuse is an equal opportunity problem.

Just remember, make your patients comfortable and they will tell you the really imporant things about their health and you may save a life!

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I was once a regular patient in a hospital so I can relate to this very much. And right now, I'm working as a nurse at the same hospital, :)