Medical Confidentiality and Ethical Standards

The targeted case presents a critical issue that should be addressed using both legal and ethical standards (Allender, Rector, & Warner, 2014). To begin with, Lena has been working with patients infected with HIV/Aids. In the course of her reviews, Lena learns that her sister is dating someone who has HIV. Lena’s biggest dilemma is how to ensure that her sister is informed about the issue.

Possible Actions: Justifications

The first action should be guided by the country’s confidentiality law. The law in the United States stipulates that medical information should be confidential. However, there are exceptions whereby healthcare professionals can disclose a client’s HIV status to individuals who have increased chances of being infected. Lena can go ahead to inform her sister about her boyfriend’s condition. The reason why this decision is acceptable under the law is because the confidentiality breach will prevent or minimize chances of harming another person (Gupta, 2015). The decision will go further to support the welfare of Lena’s sister while at the same time promoting her well-being. The action can also be supported by the principles of beneficence and non-malfeasance. Beneficence is a principle that guides Lena to consider the option because it supports her sister’s welfare.

The second possible action for Lena is to collaborate with her sister throughout the process. This kind of collaboration will encourage her to get tested together with her boyfriend. This kind of approach fulfills the scope and standards of practice as a nurse. Community health care nurses must promote their clients’ autonomy. By so doing, the nurse will support her sister as a client who can benefit from the provided human services. The approach will definitely support the unique principles of nursing. As an ethical nurse, it is appropriate to promote beneficence, non-malfeasance, and justice (Allender et al., 2014). Lena’s sister will find it easier to get tested together with her boyfriend. The approach is acceptable because it does not contradict the existing laws and professional guidelines. The professional requirement is that nurses working with community members should uphold the highest level of integrity, promote confidentiality, and safeguard patients’ information. By so doing, Lena will have supported the needs and well-being of her sister. The move will ensure Lena’s sister gets tested together with her boyfriend and eventually find out about the condition.

How the ANA’s Standards and the Law Support the Actions

It is agreeable that the existing law and the ANA’s standards of practice support the above two actions. Nurses are guided by ethical standards in order to support the welfare and autonomy of their clients. The first action is legally permissible because it seeks to prevent harm (Gupta, 2015). This move satisfies the non-malfeasance principle because it will ensure Lena’s sister is not infected by HIV/Aids. Another argument is that the nurse should uphold her sister’s right to quality health and well-being. The principle of justice supports the approach because it maximizes the health of Lena’s sister.

Lena’s decision to liaise with her sister will result in a client-nurse relationship. The strategy will be in accordance with the ANA scope and standards. The practice will protect the client’s rights, autonomy, and values. The client will then be empowered to make an informed decision (Allender et al., 2014). These evidence-based actions are capable of protecting the rights of the two individuals. The initiatives will result in health promotion and support the well-being of the clients.


Allender, J., Rector, C., & Warner, K. (2014). Community & public health nursing: Promoting the public’s health. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Gupta, B. (2015). Medico-legal aspects of AIDS. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 3(1), 228-237. Web.

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NursingBird. "Medical Confidentiality and Ethical Standards." April 17, 2021.