Introduction In today’s society, technology plays a major role in our daily lives; technology goes forward with speed and offers people access to so many things that would not be possible if it weren’t around. The healthcare systems also are no exception; in fact, technology opens the doors to so many new ideas and job opportunities, and healthcare delivery has become a center of focus for technology. Social media is continuously growing, changing, and improving in the everyday activities with respect to health.
Devices like smartphones, computers, tablets and program systems that we use in the medical field have benefited us in so many different ways to easier managing tasks and even help the healthcare professionals to improve the healthcare delivery. But like all other things, technology also includes advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes these sources of media without knowing it break laws or compromising privacy issues even could damage the professional image and potential risks to patients. Numerous reports recommend that social media can be extremely helpful but if used in controlled and cautious manner.
As reflected in the report highlighting in the celebrity scenario, nurse damage the patient privacy and violate the legal issue might be intentionally or unintentionally (Ventola, 2014). In this paper, I will describe how it could be useful or harmful to use smartphones in the hospital, and how healthcare providers could misuse of this social media and the consequences that may follow that revolve around the scenario. Lastly, I peruse to recognize the guidelines that are set in place for us, as healthcare providers. Selected Scenario and Conclusion
In the selected scenario that happened on a busy night in the emergency department, a nurse takes pictures with her smartphone of her client, the celebrity client’s concert, and his home address, phone number, and demographic information from patient’s electronic health records without the patient’s consent without the consent of the patient or without clarifying anyone if it is okay then send some of these pictures to her best friend to make her jealous. Now, I chose the first option as the ending scenario. I suppose, I am the following nurse on the day shift and I found the night nurse’s phone on the bedside table.
When I try to figure out to whom the phone belongs, I see the patient’s personal photos and information. What should I do? This scenario shows the patient right to privacy was violated by the nurse on the night shift; Disclosing pictures and personal information from the unconscious and undressed patient by a nurse is not only unprofessional but also it is unethical and illegal even though possibly it wasn’t done intentionally. “Nurses are legally and ethically obligated to keep information about their patients confidential” (HIPAA, 2011).
So, if I were the nurse on morning duty who had found the cell phone, I would give the cell phone to the supervisor immediately and state exactly how I found it. Because I would not like to put at risk my license and my career for another nurse that breaks the law intentional or unintentional. Even though the nurse had been permitted and thought it was not important to take a few pictures or it would not hurt the patient because it’s a part of the celebrities’ life, I wouldn’t want to be accountable for any patient disclosure.
On the other hand, as a nurse I know that it is ethically wrong to see other patient’s information that I do not take care of, therefore, it does not matter to me to see anything related to that patient on the cell phone. HIPPA, Nursing Regulation and State Board of Nursing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) approved in 1996 that include two major parts: the patient section and the health care providers section. The main goal of the patient’s section is the protection of their medical privacy in both medical care and store medical records.
In the healthcare provider section, the focus is on submitting, receiving, transmitting, and maintaining information related to the care of their patients. Overall, HIPPA upholds and regulate the applicable safeguards for any health information and its disclosure, without the permission of patients. The American Nurses Association has made a Code of Ethics for all nurses to adhere by. It is a code that forms nurses and assurances that a nurse is doing the best they can do for their patients with satisfying their professional and ethical obligations. This is the guideline that needs to be followed by all the nurses.
In our scenario, the night shift nurse violates this code of ethics along with HIPPA. Provision 3 of the code explains, ”The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient” (Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015). This the provision clearly pointed the nurse is obliged to maintain the confidentiality of all patient information, personal and clinical, in any of communication, also nurses should protect patients’ rights and confidentiality from intentionally or unintentionally breaches (Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015).
Thus, this scenario obviously showed that how the nurse acts irresponsible and misuse of social media such as smartphone could rule out the law and violate the basic rights of the patient. Nevertheless, in the medical field smartphone use as an opportunities and challenges. Also, according to Power Research Center, in 2015, 62 percent of smartphone owners used their phone to look up information about a health condition (Smith, 2015).
Let’s back our scenario since the nurse has a lot of workloads and go ahead to text and send pictures to her friend instead of focusing on the patients, she will not be able to meet the needs of individual patients, given that the healthcare has a center of focus on patient care. Always nurses involve a physical interaction and use of appropriate communication with patients, therefore when they should attend to patients and keep in mind the patient is the most key person and concentration all their efforts in care delivery.
This provides a safe and friendly environment for patients and thus improve the quality of care and increase patients’ satisfaction. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that Nursing Regulation and State Board of Nursing has oversight on nursing practice in each state and control the nursing act because nursing is one of the health professions that could create a risk of harm to people if practiced by somebody who is unprepared and unprofessional. Their rules and guidelines are reliable and compatible with the Nurse Practice Act; they are not beyond the law but also they have the force and effect of law.
For example, one of the tasks of Nursing Regulation and State Board of Nursing is to provide the important regulations based on patient’s personal information that could not be available or published on social media. (Nursing Regulations and State Boards of Nursing). However, the existence of policies that reinforce the restrictions on the use of personal smartphone at the workplace is required because cell phones are a massive distraction in the workplace and they have the security risk. Advantage and Disadvantage
As I previously said, technology is constantly moving forward at a great rate, and the inventions in technology have a major impact on the progress of healthcare system. However, it could have negative consequences as much as it has the positive impact. The use of computer technology and smartphones by healthcare are more common in healthcare places. It causes to the growth of medical applications which assist healthcare professionals and helps to improve the maintenance of health record, access, and communications.
Also, computer technology has an important role in improving patient management, monitoring of patients conditions, making clinical decisions, medical education of patients, and training on self-management. These days, using the smartphones by healthcare workers at point-of-care settings are essential because they help to the faster communication of information and clinical decisions within different departments and help to improve patient outcomes. Another benefit of the Smartphones is facilitating in learning, treating, and communicating by obtaining diagnostic images and recording procedures.
All these benefits can improve the quality of care and safety of the patient in the healthcare system. Nevertheless, using of smartphones may violate the privacy or confidentiality of the patient just like that in our scenario. Other disadvantages of using the smartphones are spreading infection via cross-contamination especially when healthcare workers are performing medical tasks that this concern should solve by controlling the use of smartphones by healthcare workers in healthcare facilities.
Moreover, electromagnetic radiation from smartphones and other mobile devices could impede the functionality devices e. g. patients’ pacemakers and could interfere with some medical equipment. (Fricker, R. D. , & Schonlau, M. (2002). Recommendations and Conclusion Our scenario is an example of the nurse’s negligence that led to spread patient health information and some personal information through sending the pictures by smartphone.
This could define as unethical and unprofessional behavior that could hurt the patient. Also, it comes under the rule of violation of HIPAA privacy rule. The violation of the patient’s privacy describes as the illegal that could endanger the whole organization and damage the whole professional reputation of the Institute, so maintaining patient confidentiality and awareness of HIPAA regulations should always be at the head of our thought process.
Although this scenario showed how misusing of cell phone and social media could lead to the crucial adverse effect and could raise several legal issues, but using social media is not the big issue in the health system; the manner of using of social media is the big issue. Especially, now the social media is available everywhere, we should learn when to turn it off and when is acceptable to use in the workplace. However, strong and comprehensive guidelines, policies and regulations are required to secure patient’s privacy when healthcare workers usage of the smartphone.
In conclusion the scenario of the nurse in the emergency department that sent pictures of the famous person to her friend by cell phone, I learned that taking pictures without consent violates personal rights and it is an ethical dishonest behavior; I learned it easier to not post and always remember to be smart about what I want to post. I learned that when I am caring for a famous person like in our scenario, it is essential to take further precautions to protect their information from spread out by social media.
Also, as a nurse, I learned so much about regulations on social media and what could breach HIPPA laws because, from today, HIPAA and the ANA Code of Ethics are a part of my life.
Fricker, R. D. , & Schonlau, M. (2002). Advantages and disadvantages of Internet research surveys: Evidence from the literature. Field methods, 14(4), 347-367. HIPAA: The health insurance portability and accountability act: what RNs need to know about privacy rules and protected electronic health information. (2011). National Nurse, 107(6), 20-27 8p Ventola, C. L. (2014).
Social Media and Health Care Professionals: Benefits, Risks, and Best Practices. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(7), 491–520. (2015). Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www-r2library-com. proxy. chamberlain. edu:8443/Resource/Title/1558105999/ch0003s0016 Smith, A. (2015, April 01). U. S. Smartphone Use in 2015. Retrieved 2017, from http://www. pewinternet. org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/ Nursing Regulations and State Boards of Nursing. Retrieved 2017, from https://www. annanurse. org/advocacy/resources-and-tools/state/nursing-reg
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