Curb your curiosity: Don't snoop health records

A famous person shows up at a hospital. A colleague has a serious accident. A friend of the family attempts suicide.

If you’re a nurse working in the care facility in which any of these people are being treated, you may be concerned, curious or think the case has some educational value to you. However, unless you’re part of the client’s circle of care, it’s illegal for you to access their records.

Privacy is an essential element of client care, and privacy breaches often lead to emotional distress for clients. Clients need to feel confident and comfortable that the information they share with their health care team will be kept confidential.

A serious offence
On May 6, 2016, two health workers became the first in Ontario to be convicted under the Personal Health Information Protection Act for snooping into former Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s electronic health record. They were each fined $2,505.

Since then, the Act has been amended to include new measures that protect clients' health information and impose tougher penalties for privacy breaches.

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How are nurses using the Medication standard?

It’s been more than a year since we released the new Medication practice standard - the first practice standard of its kind developed by the College.  

The principle-based Medication practice standard encourages nurses to use professional judgment in making practice decisions instead of giving clinically-detailed and prescriptive information. We also tried a new approach by releasing an advance copy to nurses and employers to give them time to prepare to implement it.

So, how are nurses using the new Medication standard in their practice?

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Working with physician assistants

We often get questions from nurses seeking to understand their accountabilities when working with physician assistants (PAs). The following are answers to the most common questions we get.

Who are PAs? PAs work in a range of health care settings, under the direction of a physician. The role depends on the PA’s competencies, the supervising physician’s area of practice and the duties the supervising physician assigns. Examples include...

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