The nurse is at the nurses’ station charting when a physician comes up and says, “Since you are already logged into the computer, I need you to look up some labs on a client.” The client is not cared for by this nurse. Which response by the nurse is most appropriate?

  • “Let me check that for you in a moment.”
  • “Why don’t you call the lab? That will be quicker.”
  • “That is not my client, but I will get his nurse for you.”
  • “I can’t do that because of HIPAA, but I will let the charge nurse look it up.”
Number 3 is correct.
The only personnel who should access the client’s medical record are those providing direct care to the client. HIPAA guidelines do not permit nurses to look up labs on another client, even if requested by the physician. By calling the client’s nurse to the nurses’ station, the appropriate nurse can look up the labs. Also, the client’s nurse may need to speak to the physician about the client. Suggesting the physician call the lab himself is confrontational and does not expedite transmission of necessary information about the client to the physician. The charge nurse is also prohibited by HIPAA from looking up data on a client unless she is caring for that client.