Legal and Ethical Conduct

Legal and Ethical Conduct 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) through its code of ethics recognizes the need
for patient confidentiality by the nurses. It insists in the nurse’s responsibility for maintaining
the confidentiality of all the information about the patient regardless of it being personal or
clinical. The information should be kept a secret in the work setting or any other form of digital
communications like the social media (Olson, 2016). Confidentiality and privacy form the basic
components of human rights in our society. Safeguarding this right with concerns on the
individual’s personal information on health records is not only an ethical but also a legal
obligation required out of the health care providers. Doing so in today’s generation, however, is
very tricky. Considering the scenario of Lena, she is faced with two critical decisions that are
hard to make. After finding out that her sister’s boyfriend is HIV positive, her considerations
would be two: 1. Go against the Health Insurance Portability and Insurance Act (HIPPA) that
insists on patient confidentiality and save her sister from the situation through disclosing the
information to her or uphold the patient confidentiality and avoid disclosing the information to
her sister. Personally, the latter will take precedence (McGraw, 2013).
Upholding patient confidentiality is a sacred trust accorded to every nurse and thus
taking a hard decision like the one above is mandatory. As clearly presented in the ANA’s
Code of Ethics, the nurse should strive to advocate an environment that gives enough physical
privacy to the patient needs as well as the auditory privacy. The maintenance of the patient
confidentiality goes a long way in impacting the patients’ recovery as well as his/ her

LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONDUCT 2
perspective towards the medical complication. The connection and the relationship that will
exist between a nurse and a client will surely be dictated by whether the nurse upholds the
privacy of the patient or not. According to the ANA code of ethics, the nurse is given a role in
advocating, promoting and strive to protect the rights of the patient regardless of the situation at
hand (Lachman, 2015).
According to the College of Registered Nurses in Colombia, the nurses are provided
with an ethical obligation to safeguard the information that they receive in the context of the
client-nurse relationship. This is because the clients disclose such information with confidence
that it will not fall into the hands of wrong people. The possibility of a patient coming back for
further consultations with regard to a new or previous complication is dictated by the nurses’
ability to keep the previous conversation a secret. The nurses are required to store the patient’s
records in secure places taking great care when the information is being moved to various
places; it also requires that the during electronic transfer of information, secure measures
should be employed such as not using the client names or fax number (Bamford, 2013).
Ensuring that the computer monitor displaying sensitive patient information is not left
unattended to is also another security measure. In situations where a nurse is tempted to
disclose information, then she must first find the consent of the patient with the best alternative
being that the nurse encourages the patient to disclose the information alone. If I were Lena
therefore, I would dedicate quality time to convincing my sister’s boyfriend to disclose the
information about his HIV status in order to ensure that the life of my sister is safeguarded.

LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONDUCT 3

References

Bamford, M., Wong, C. A., & Laschinger, H. (2013). The influence of authentic leadership and
areas of worklife on work engagement of registered nurses. Journal of nursing
management, 21(3), 529-540.
Lachman, V. D., Swanson, E. O., & Winland-Brown, J. (2015). The new ‘Code of Ethics for
Nurses With Interpretive Statements’(2015): practical clinical application, part
II. MedSurg Nursing, 24(5), 363-368.
McGraw, D. (2013). Building public trust in uses of Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act de-identified data. Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association, 20(1), 29-34.
Olson, L. L., & Stokes, F. (2016). The ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive
Statements: Resource for Nursing Regulation. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 7(2), 9-
20.

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