Nurses’ Role in Protecting Client Health Information

Nurses have a duty to protect and uphold the confidentiality of their clients’ health information. They should seek to protect related to the past, present, or future health information regarding a patient. Notably, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) is legislation which was enacted to ensure the protection of patient’s health information in the United States of America (U.S.) (Edemekong & Haydel, 2018). Some of nurses’ role in the protection of patients’ health information include:

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Situational Awareness

In most cases, it is necessary and essential for nurses to discuss patient care and can sometimes result in an individual’s health information being disclosed. However, nurses can ensure the protection of the information through speaking in low tones when discussing a patient’s information among themselves or to the patient’s family especially in crowded or public areas (Rainer, 2015). More so, nurses should ensure the use of privacy filters on device screens to enhance the patient’s information reflected on a screen is not seen by unwarranted persons. In this regard, situational awareness plays a huge role in ensuring nurses maintain the confidentiality of patient information.

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Document Handling

Although most healthcare facilities have integrated electronic health records, they still have to rely on paper files for storing different information regarding their clients. Nurses must ensure all files and documents which contain patient data are stored in secure drawers or file cabinet. Furthermore, nurses have to make sure storage or record rooms are only accessible by essential and authorized persons (Rainer, 2015). Additionally, nurses should properly dispose of all physical documents that are unnecessary in healthcare facilities. Subsequently, nurses have to ensure all documents which relate to patients’ information are properly handled the right way and disposed of properly.

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Access to electronic systems

In this case, nurses have to ensure that all digitalized patient information and records are protected from access by any unwarranted persons. Nurses should carefully monitor the electronic systems and devices of healthcare facilities to enhance the protection of patient health information.

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Teamwork and Collaboration

Indubitably, nurses play a significant role in protecting patients’ health information. However, all healthcare staffs need to help nurses in performing this task by committing themselves to protect confidential patient information. More so, nurses must be willing to collaborate with other stakeholders in the healthcare set-up to ensure they safeguard client health information. 

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Summarizing, protection of patients’ information is very crucial in every healthcare setup. Notably, nurses have a significant role to play as far as the task is concerned. Some of the ways in which they protect the data include document handling and situational awareness, among others. In this regard, it is the duty of nurses to ensure they perform this role diligently.

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