A nurse in Kelowna, British Columbia has been suspended for accessing a patient's medical records. The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) says the nurse admitted to “practice issues” – namely, accessing the medical records of a person to whom she had no work-related connection. The nurse in question agreed to a brief, eight-day suspension of her nursing registration, a public reprimand, and remedial education on confidentiality and privacy.
While additional details about the confidentiality breach have not been made available, it's safe to assume that this nurse has learned a valuable lesson about the importance of privacy. Though the consequences for her actions may seem relatively light, she'll bear the weight of the public reprimand for the rest of her career. Any time she applies for a job, employers will likely discover her lax history with patient data. This may jeopardize her earning capacity for years to come.
Avoid Similar Outcomes
The nurse in question made an error in judgment in seeking out a patient's private information. That error led to serious, expensive ramifications. If you're a healthcare worker hoping to avoid similar consequences, familiarize yourself with your workplace's patient confidentiality policy. Keep HIPAA obligations in mind at all times. The American Nurse Association has a strict Code of Ethics for Nurses in place. By adhering to these standards, you can avoid similar outcomes to the British Columbian nurse.
Of course, the reality of these kinds of confidentiality breaches is often far more nuanced and complex than news headlines might have you believe. Accidents happen, and judgment can lapse. Good healthcare workers shouldn't have their entire careers in jeopardy for a one-off mistake. If you're facing allegations of patient privacy violations, it's important to seek the representation of professional license attorney Joseph D. Lento.
How Attorney Joseph D. Lento Can Help
If you've been notified that a complaint has been filed against you, it's important to take swift action. You'll want to find an experienced professional license attorney as soon as possible. While you might be tempted to wait until your formal hearing is scheduled, representing yourself during the investigative process is not recommended. The sooner you involve an attorney, the better chance you'll have to negotiate for the best possible resolution. In many cases, an attorney can eliminate the need for a formal hearing altogether.
When your nursing license is called into question, your entire future may be at risk. Each step you take in the process without an attorney is an unnecessary gamble with your career and reputation. Seeking legal counsel now can save you serious headaches in the long run. Given how seriously the Board of Nursing tends to take these claims, it's important you take them seriously, too.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have vast experience with professional license defense cases throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and beyond. Attorney Lento and his team have helped countless nurses protect both their reputations and their licenses. To discuss your case and options, contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today.