Thursday, July 10, 2008


What I want to talk about today is HIPPA, not in the staff meeting sense but in a more personal sense, maybe something that would pull at your heart strings a little. First I would like you to read an experience had by Tarah who was heading up the escalator.
I read this experience and thought what an eye opening seen for the observer, then as a nurse I had to think about what was said and where it was said. The nurse made a personal comment to the birth mother in a place that was open to the public, on an escalator. I do not feel that the nurse meant any harm, hurt feelings or anguish. Although this nurse didn't have any right to discuss her personal health issues in a public area.
I appreciate the message Tarah is relaying, bring a more compassionate view of birth mothers. Until reading of this incident I to had a picture in my mind of a birth mother, a women who was not really suffering or morning the loss of her child. Now after reading Tarah's post I tend to feel as though a birth mother is morning the loss of a child. The loss of being a mother, and all of the joys that comes with motherhood.
As a nurse I would implore you to be acutely aware of your surroundings when discussing patient information. Only do so with those who need to know, that are continuing the care of the patient. There may have been no crime or violation of HIPPA in this encounter but this birth mother deserved privacy.


AtYourCervix said...

This goes to show just how careful we must be, as nurses, about making ANY comments in a public area. ANYONE could be listening.

Geriatric Nursing said...

What an awesome story by that nurse! Adopting is a very special experience. I was fortunate enough to be given that opportunity. I pray everyday for David's birth mother and the gift she gave us.

Michell said...

I agree. I also know I have screwed up and said something in a sort of public area before that I shouldn't have. Another one for me is the hospital I'm at does bed side reporting which I think sort of sucks as I wouldn't want 2 nurses standing over me and talking about me but anyways. In semi private rooms this feels like a violation of HIPPA. We are talking about one patient in front of another and possibly family members. Also the white boards in the rooms with nurses names etc on there. I went into a room the other night and one of the "goals" on the white board was Control vaginal bleeding. Umm, first off the patient can't really "control" it by wishing it away. Second thanks for announcing to anyone who walks in that I'm on my period.