Are You Familiar With Patient Rights?

Nurses take on many roles; however, one of the most important parts of being a nurse involves helping patients navigate and understand their course of care. As a nurse, being familiar with the latest ethical guidelines and regulations related to patient rights, including HIPPA compliance, informed consent, and end-of-life care, is essential. Patient rights are comprised of many protocols and practices established by the healthcare industry, including the following:


1)  HIPPA compliance

There are many facets of HIPPA compliance when protecting patients’ privacy. HIPPA regulations involve keeping patients’ medical records secure, utilizing electronic devices properly, and ensuring not to disclose information without a patient’s permission. Nurses who are vigilant about following HIPPA guidelines – and making their patients’ privacy a top priority – will avoid violations and maintain good standing in the nursing field.


2) Informed consent

All nurses must recognize that patients have the right to make an informed, voluntary decision about their care. Once a patient is made aware of the risks and benefits of their medical condition and recommended medical care, they have the right to choose how they’d like to proceed, including accepting or declining treatment. Nurses can support informed consent by communicating closely with a patient’s other providers to ensure they have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their care. From diagnosis and prognosis to various treatment choices, nurses can play a critical role in helping patients feel empowered in decision-making.


3) End-of-life care

Regarding end-of-life care (commonly referred to as palliative care), nurses are expected to provide comprehensive and compassionate comfort and guidance to patients and their families. In addition to supporting their patients, nurses must collaborate with other members of a patient’s health team to ensure proper symptom management. The work of nurses goes well beyond the scope of physical care, as they often provide critical psychological and emotional support to patients and their families during the most difficult time of their lives.


Nurses who take patients’ rights seriously and are committed to delivering care that meets their needs most ethically will best serve the interests of their patients and their families.


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