You are working on a medical-surgical floor and your colleague Nancy discloses to you that her...

You are working on a medical-surgical floor and your colleague Nancy discloses to you that her neighbor, Mrs. Smith, is a patient on the floor. Nancy is concerned because the patient is not doing well; in fact, there has been a Hospice Consult. Nancy feels terrible and stated that the patient asked her not to tell anyone about her condition. The dilemma Nancy presents to you is that Nancy’s own parents are good friends with Mrs. Smith, and it was only yesterday that her Mom was asking about Mrs. Smith. In addition, Mrs. Smith is a member of the congregation in the church Nancy attends. Since it is a small church, everyone seems to know each other...she is also afraid other members of the congregation will ask where Mrs. Smith is. How will you handle the situation? Discuss the actions you would take and what part(s) of the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses help guide your actions

Next, read the case provided and decide which parts of the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses apply to the case.
Hint: There is more than one part of the code that applies in each case.
List BOTH the provision and section for your choices (For example: 1.3 is provision 1, section 3). Lastly, explain why your selection fits.

Homework Answers

Answer #1

Some of the ways to handle this situation are

  • First inform the colleague to be confident and professional and follow the guidelines to avoid di se lemma in decision making
  • Instill the knowledge that she is breaking the confidentiality of the patient, ignoring the autonomy of patient requests to not disclose to any one
  • Encourage her to inform to the church members that Mr.Smith is doing well.This statement is sufficient for others in order to maintain the dignity of the patient and thus avoiding disclosure of patient details to third persons without patient's consent or knowledge

The code of ethics which applies here are

  • Provision 1,section 5:to maintain professional relationship with the colleague by supporting and guiding them in the right directions
  • Provision 3 ,section 2 for maintaining confidentiality with patients
  • Provision 5 ,section 4 to maintai integrity with patients
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