Confidentiality in the Workplace

It helps if you’re able to keep secrets.

There’s a certain professional image that healthcare workers are obliged to keep, and this image is actually essential to the job we do. It takes a huge measure of trust on the part of the patients to entrust their personal information, to be subjected to invasive and uncomfortable examinations/procedures, to put their very lives in our hands. And we are in return obliged to do the very best we can and to keep the information entrusted to us in secret.

Recently in the news, there was news of One-Eye Dragon’s execution and his wish to donate his kidneys… in his own way returning something to society. Speculation was rife in the local papers that one of the recipients was the ex-CK Tangs CEO Mr Tang Wee Sung. At the same time, another patient in SGH received a deceased donor renal transplant (deceased donors have 2 kidneys, right?). Possibly from One-Eye Dragon? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never tell, not even to our families.

With the advent of Facebook, it seems that people are increasingly more comfortable with their lack of privacy, putting photographs and personal information on the web with little privacy control (though such features are in place).

Personally, I’m okay with pictures taken with colleagues in the medical offices, at events, at teachings. What I do not support, however, are pictures taken in the wards – in the inadvertent case that some patient confidentiality is compromised in the background. Furthermore, it reeks of a lack of professionalism to be taking photos in the ward. But that’s just me.

Sometimes when we’re so tired with work piling up and patients’ families demanding for updates in the background we really don’t give a rat’s ass any more… but maybe in the back of our minds we should realise that by maintaining our professionalism, it helps make everyone’s work a little better in the future.


One response to this post.

  1. Well, if only everyone thought like you. “Professionalism” as I used to know it is officially dead in today’s Singapore.


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