The Importance of Patient Privacy and Following the HIPAA Privacy Rules and Regulations as a Nurse

Electronic media are any device that stores and allows the use or distribution of electronic information. On the other hand, social media are an internet based interface and software that enables people to interact with one another, and exchange personal and professional information. Individuals access social media, through electronic devices, such as computers and smartphones, among others.

A nurse based at a Michigan hospital posted a tweet saying that she wished that her patient, a police killer, whom she was assigned to take care of would die and rot in hell. In her tweet, she did not refer to the hospital, or the patient, by name. However, she afterwards received a call from the hospital management when they became aware of her tweet, because they were disturbed by her unprofessional conduct. The hospital later sacked her for ruining its reputation. On my part, I think the decision by the hospital to sack her was correct. She had failed to maintain the HIPAA privacy rules and regulations in her action.

The above example relates to another incident that took place in a clinical setting. The nurse taking care of a physically disabled child referred to him as her little handicapper on a newspaper blog. In her post, she mentioned the child’s use of a wheelchair and age. One of the blog’s readers complained that the nurse had gone against the child’s privacy rights and those of his family. However, the nursing body decided to issue her a warning instead of sacking her. The nurse was shaken by the incident and learned a valuable lesson about patient privacy (Spector & Kappel, 2012). As a registered nurse, the above experiences teach me to be considerate about patient privacy and always adhere to the HIPAA privacy rules and regulations. Furthermore, social media may be an effective communication method in the nursing profession. However, it must be regulated.

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