Client confidentiality: Perspectives of students in a healthcare training programme
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractBackground. Confidentiality is an important ethical principle for all health professionals and also has a legal bearing on duty. One of the most difficult issues health professionals face in their daily fieldwork practice is a conflict between their professional duties, as illustrated in keeping a patientâ€™s medical information confidential, and having empathy with a family memberâ€™s need to know. This moral dilemma is difficult for students to circumvent and therefore this paper presents healthcare studentsâ€™ perspectives of confidentiality.Methods. We aimed to explore healthcare studentsâ€™ views and experiences of confidentiality as an ethical principle by adopting a qualitative explorative approach. Purposeful sampling was undertaken where specific individuals with specific experiences were identified. Data were collected by means of written responses from two open-ended questions and analysed thematically. Two themes emerged.Conclusion. Confidentiality, as with other ethical principles, is an important obligation of a good client-therapist relationship as identified by students. However, the studentsâ€™ responses illustrate that it cannot be absolute, and cognisance must be taken as to when it is acceptable, and even desirable, to override confidentiality because of conflicting, greater duties.