Nurse suspended for breaching patient privacy

A nurse who accessed health records about a patient's pregnancy termination and texted another person about it has been suspended for three months.

Rayleene Jeannette Park, a non-practising enrolled nurse formerly of Dunedin, appeared before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal on six separate privacy breach charges brought by the Nursing Council.

The breaches occurred when Ms Park was employed at a booking administrator for Southern District Health Board between January 26, 2011 and March 8, 2011.

The tribunal decision said that on January 27, 2011, she typed in the wrong date while accessing a day surgery list, and accidently brought up the next day's termination of pregnancy list.

When she saw a particular patient on the list, she texted a third person about it.

That person then replied that she had breached the patient's privacy, and would tell Ms Park's boss.

On March 15 Ms Park admitted what she had done to a charge nurse manager, but said she had only accessed the information once and it was accidental.

However an IT search found she had accessed the file six times in total, including viewing a patient discharge summary, lab results and outpatient history.

The tribunal said while Ms Park was not a practicing nurse at the time, she was still an enrolled nurse and the same standards applied.

The offending was serious, with aggravating factors including the number of breaches and the length of time between the initial breach and informing her supervisor.

Ms Park was censured, suspended from practice as a nurse for three months from the date of the decision, and ordered to complete a Nursing Council-approved programme on privacy and confidentiality if she returned to nursing.

 

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