South African Family Practice

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Student nurses’ views regarding disclosure of patients’ confidential information

MC Matlakala, JD Mokoena


Background: Nurses have a moral duty to maintain the confidentiality of patients’ information. Challenges to maintaining confidentiality often arise because of competing moral claims of the patient, his/her family members and doctors.
Methods: A qualitative, descriptive and contextual study was conducted to explore and describe the views of student nurses regarding the disclosure of patients’ information. Sampling to select 17 student nurses in their final year of nursing training was adopted purposefully. Data were collected by means of focus group and individual interviews, and then analysed using the Tesch descriptive analysis method.
Results: Two themes emerged from analysis of the data, reflecting the participants’ views regarding the disclosure of confidential patient information. The themes were: maintaining the confidentiality of patients’ information, and factors influencing the disclosure of information.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that student nurses are aware of the challenges inherent in practice, where patients’ confidentiality might sometimes be compromised.
AJOL African Journals Online