Hello Professor O’Neill and class,
The use of personal communication devices can have a serious negative impact on patients if nurses violate patient privacy, and there could be serious consequences for the nurse if the boards of nursing (BON) investigate. The BON could investigate on the grounds of unprofessional or unethical conduct, mismanagement of patient records, moral turpitude, revealing privileged information, or breach of confidentiality (NCSBN, 2011). Consequences could be anything from disciplinary action to permanent loss of licensure (NCSBN, 2011). I’m sure we have all worked hard for our nursing license and it would be foolish to do anything knowingly to jeopardize it.
Personal communication devices, such as smart phones and tablets, can have a positive impact as well. They can be used to look up information needed by the nurse such as drug side effects and patient education, but the nurse would need to find reliable resources. Quick and easy access to pertinent information and EBP could help nurses manage time and spend more time with their patients (Giles-Smith, Spencer, Shaw, Porter, & Lobchuk, 2017).
To address ethical issues, a nurse should understand the difference between privacy and confidentiality regarding healthcare. Privacy is a patients’ right to choose who can acquire, use, or disclose their personal health information, while confidentiality is the responsibility of the health care provider to respect those rights (Levy, 2018). Any unauthorized use of patient information, whether it be a photo, e-mail, text, or any other form of communication, is in direct conflict with patient rights and is therefore unethical.
As an observational note, I have also worked with nurses and ancillary staff who have their faces glued to their phones and are unaware of what’s going on around them, and in that respect, unsupportive of other staff. Personal communication devices can be distracting, or they can be helpful, we need to use them in a way that is efficient while maintaining patient privacy.
Giles-Smith, L., Spencer, A., Shaw, C., Porter, C., & Lobchuk, M. (2017). A study of the impact of an educational intervention on nurse attitudes and behaviours toward mobile device and application use in hospital settings. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA), 38(1), 12–29. https://doi-org.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/10.5596/c17-003 (Links to an external site.)
Levy, N. B. L. (2018). Legal Issues…Maintaining Confidentiality: an Overview. CINAHL Nursing Guide. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nup&AN=T705561&site=eds-live&scope=site (Links to an external site.)
NCSBN. (2011, August). White paper: A nurse’s guide to the use of social media. Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/Social_Media.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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