The nursing code of ethics dictates the behavior and the relationship that nurses have with their patients. Privacy and confidentiality are a critical component of the code of ethics. Nurses should ensure that they meet the Nursing Code of Ethics provisions to offer safe and quality care to their patients.
Provision 3 of the code of ethics states that, “The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.” Part 3.1 of the provision focuses on the privacy and confidentiality rights that the patient has. In a healthcare setting, the information regarding a patient’s health condition is confidential, and only authorized personnel or those that the patient has allowed success should use such information. The given case raises an ethical concern of confidentiality and privacy. The nurse is going against the third provision of the nursing code of ethics by going through the patient’s medical files when not authorized. That infringes the celebrity’s right to privacy and confidentiality. The patient’s social status makes the action worse as so many unethical consequences could arise from the information obtained in the medical records. Nurses need to observe the third provision as it promotes the rights of the patient. It is also a way of protecting the patient’s health and advocating for the patients well being.
The ethical principle of fidelity is also applicable to the scenario. The principle requires all nurses to honor their promises and commitments to the patients. They must be faithful to the patients they look after and ensure that they are only involved in inappropriate nursing practices. In the scenario, the nurse does not follow the principle of fidelity as she does not act to honor the promise they made when joining the nursing practice. The nurse goes against the provisions of the code of ethics and fails to maintain respect for the patient. Nurses are committed to providing care to the patients that are assigned to them. It is not the case in the scenario as the nurse neglects their patient to view a celebrity patient’s records. The time that the nurse uses to go through the medical records could be used to cater to the patient that has been assigned to them for the day. The faithfulness concept in the principle of fidelity creates trust and helps build relationships essential to providing safe and quality care.
The principle of non-maleficence is described as the duty to prevent any harm to others or inflict the least possible harm if it is unavoidable. Nurses are required to avoid harming the patients intentionally and provide care that avoids or minimizes risk. The principle is related to the medical and practice competency of the nurse. A nurse demonstrating the principle would avoid negligence to the care of a patient. The principle relates to the case study in that the nurses take the time that should be used to care for her patient to go through medical records of a patient not assigned to them. The nurse is likely to harm the patient that is left under their care, especially if the patient requires constant attention or therapy.
The nurse is also likely to harm the celebrity patient as the information gathered could be used for various malicious intents. Leaking the information she gathers on the actor’s health could lead to lifelong consequences on the patient, especially if they portray a negative aspect of the individual’s life. The outcome would affect the quality of care the patient receives, the trust they have in the facility, and also their ability to seek medical attention when the need arises. The nurse’s unethical practices are not in line with the code of ethics in nursing and will have a negative impact on all the stakeholders involved.