The nurse reports to work and finds that a client from the previous day has been assigned to another nurse. The nurse had a great rapport with the client and wonders how he did during the night. She decides to look at the client’s chart to read the progress notes. Which statement is correct regarding the nurse’s actions?

  1. She should go to the client’s room and see how he is doing.
  2. She has legal access to the client’s chart since she was involved in his care.
  3. The nurse is violating HIPAA regulations and should not be accessing the client’s chart.
  4. She should wait and ask the other nurse how the client is doing and not view the client’s chart.
Number 3 is correct.
Rationale: Even though the nurse cared for the client the previous day, she is no longer assigned to the client. Accessing the chart, even if she cared for the client previously, is a HIPAA violation in this instance. The nurse may not realize it, since she cared for the client previously. It is important to not become complacent about HIPAA compliance. The nurse should not go to the client’s room unless she is called in there to help turn or perform another action. She does not legally have access at this time to view the chart. The nurse should not ask the current nurse about the client’s condition, since this is still illegally sharing information that she is not privy to. HIPAA violations are not limited to viewing charts; any sharing of information about a client that the nurse is not caring for violates HIPAA regulations.