Patient’s safety. Confidentiality

Patient’s safety is not just taking care of the patient physically but also, providing confidentiality. I would like to tell why it is important to keep personal information of the patient safe.

Confidentiality is one of the main aspects in medical work places.  If patient’s information were not protected, there would be no trust in nurse (or other medical professional) – patient relationship. Clients would try to hide sensitive information, which could affect their treatment.  Supporting a trusting environment by creating patient’s privacy encourages the client to seek help and be as open as possible during the conversation with a health care professional. “For conditions that might be stigmatizing, such as reproductive, sexual, public health, and psychiatric health concerns, confidentiality assures that private information will not be disclosed to family or employers without their consent” (De Bord, Burke, Dudzinski 2013).

All healthcare professionals are bound by the common duty law of confidence. Sharing of the confidential information is only allowed if the patient gave his permission to do so. Appropriate care often requires that information about patients be discussed among members of a health care team then all the team members should keep the information away from others who do not have access.

We all have been through situations when relatives were asking about the patient’s condition. In situations like these nurses often wonder how to respond to questions regarding a patient’s diagnoses and procedures. If there is not explicit permission from the patient to share information with family member, it is generally not ethically justifiable to do so.




Woodrow 1996. Exploring confidentiality in nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Standard, 10(32):38-42

Abbing 2014. Medical confidentiality and patient safety: reporting procedures. European Journal of Health Law, 21(3):245-59

De Bord, Burke, Dudzinski 2013. ETHICS IN MEDICINE: Confidentiality.

McGowan 2012. Patients’ Confidentiality. Critical Care Nurse, 32(5): 61-65. (5p)

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