Due to the highly personal nature of work that takes place in any medical facility, confidentiality is always one of the highest priorities for the certified nursing assistant and in fact all staff. Not only will your CNA programs have covered the area of confidentiality but the specific facility you are employed by will have their own very strict policies in this area.
Every patient in care has a right to their individual privacy and this is often very closely connected to preserving their dignity.
Requiring assistance in one’s daily living routines is difficult by itself but if the fear of others learning about your personal circumstances is present the emotional and psychological health of the patient will be compromised. Discussing a patient’s condition with other staff in the facility is a necessary part of any CNA’s job but should be limited to those who have a medical interest in their care.
There are also other issues of confidentiality beside those of patients. All medical facilities have policies in place for instances such as an outbreak of a communicable disease and they must be strictly adhered to. These occurrences must not be discussed with patients, their families or anyone outside of established protocol. Confidentiality also refers to anything that might be discussed among staff even if it is not work related. This usually falls under the category of gossip and can significantly affect working relationships and the atmosphere of staff in general. It can create a stressful environment and is detrimental to the emotional wellbeing of all employees.
Although your CNA training will have covered the importance of confidentiality, it is the responsibility of all who work in the health care field to read and fully understand the specific policies of the facility you will be working for. Failure to comply with these regulations can be cause not only for dismissal but can also result in losing one’s CNA certification.
This does not mean that talking among co-workers should be discouraged as healthy working relationships depend on open and friendly communication. It does however mean that each worker is responsible for what they choose to talk about both in and away from work. Also keep in mind that as a professional health care worker you have a responsibility to report any abuse in confidentiality that you may observe.