August 4, 2007, 12:19 pm

HiPAA Induced Paranoia – Coming to a DSM Near You!


Wow – if I had known I could have gone into appliance presentation, I’d have specialized!

Maybe even get my CAP certification (Certified Appliance Presenter)!

How pretty and organized that med refrigerator is!

Clean, too!

Ours looks like an overstuffed turkey, with the stuffing made up of multivits vials, antibiotics (Bicillin L-A, anyone?), various and sundry paralytics, diptheria-tetanus boosters and vials of diltiazem, among other things.

At least you won’t find the staff lunches in there. Joint Commission made sure we had a different refrigerator for that.

That fridge makes the med fridge look like it was organized by an obsessive-compulsive clean freak.


Speaking of meds, sing along with me to the tune of “Sexyback”:

They’re bringin’ Compazine back – YEAH!!

Those other anti-emetics don’t know how to act – YEAH!!

They make you act real weird and that’s a fact – YEAH!!

Yep, I guess big, bad Compazine is back in favor. At least until the Zofran cartel gets ahold of them.

Now I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but as soon as Zofran became widely available for use in the ER, Phenergan began causing necrosis and was contraindicated for kids, Tigan suppositories were discontinued and Droperidol was given a bad rap.


Definitely in the things that make you go “Hmmmm…” category!


File this one under “HiPAAranoia”:

First they tell us to put the patient’s name tag on all IV bags that are hanging. Then we are to highlight the name in pink, followed by an orange med sticker with the name of the medicine circled in black.

I haven’t used that many colors since I bought crayons for kindergarten.

But after you have followed all the above instructions and the IV has been infused, you must now cross out the patient’s name with a Sharpie before you throw it in the trash!

Because nothing will ruin a person’s reputation like having a dumpster diver discover they received, (oh god I can hardly say it…) Rocephin!!!!!!

My department went so far as to place black sharpies in every room to facilitate compliance with this last of a long line of paranoid behaviors inspired by HiPAA.

I’m sure they will stay there until Joint Commission tells us that Sharpies are hazardous materials and need to be in the locked cupboard.

The next step will be patient identifiers that self-destruct ten seconds after use, ala Mission Impossible.


Will this insane obsession with privacy ever end?

I wonder if the folks behind the HiPAA regulations ever expected it would be taken this far.

They’ve made us all so paranoid that we are afraid to even look at a patient for fear of privacy intrusion.

I’m pretty sure we’ll find the defintion of HiPAA-induced paranoia in the next version of the DSM.


  • Nurse K

    August 4, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    They’ve made us all so paranoid that we are afraid to even look at a patient for fear of privacy intrusion.


    Nurse K on the PCN shots:

    “I’m going to give you this rather unpleasant shot of Elmer’s Glue, or as we medical people call it, PENICILLIN, in your buttocks….”

  • Deacon Barry

    August 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    What’s a sharpie?

  • msquoted

    August 4, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    We were told to put all the labels in the biohazard bins. That way any information will be burned and not discovered in the dumpster…by someone evil information junkie. I do enjoy a good colouring time though. Maybe I will suggest the sharpie (a permanent black marker) policy. I think that when I become a burnt out RN, I am going to join one of these policy making committees and think of the craziest, most time consuming, and practical/common sense defying procedures ever known to mankind.

  • Rita Schwab

    August 4, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    The next step will be patient identifiers that self-destruct ten seconds after use, ala Mission Impossible…
    Ah no, Nurse McBlog, your future destiny shall be much more sinister than that. Even as we speak, the HIPAAites are working feverishly in top-secret underground laboratories developing memory-erase scanners for all healthcare professionals.

    They will look like ordinary door frames, but each time you walk out of a patient’s room – Zap! All memory of that patient and their top-secret IV drugs will be instantly erased.

    Alas, development has been slow because each time the HIPAAites get close to perfecting the device someone forgets to turn it off before they go through the door at night, and well, you guessed it, they have to start from scratch again the next morning.

    Ah no, Nurse McBlog, your future destiny shall be much more sinister than that… 🙂

  • Mother Jones RN

    August 4, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I want to know who is your unit dumpster diver. I’m sure that your hospital requires that someone has to collect data and document that everyone is being compliant with the hospital’s new sharpie pen policy.

  • NPs Save Lives

    August 4, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    We had been told to mark through with sharpies or throw them into the biohazard bins as well. I understand the need for some privacy but I hardly doubt anyone who’s dumpster diving is going to even remember anyone’s names.

  • Labor Nurse

    August 4, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    And to think HIPAA was enacted to make the flow of protected health info easier.

    i think the next step will be cloaking every patient as they step onto hospital grounds in burka like apparel so as to conceal their appearance and disable anyone from even knowing they were at the hospital. The same would have to occur to any visitors, as well.

  • msquoted

    August 6, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Also, about the picture of the nurse showing off her fridge…I wouldn’t survive 5 mins of a shift with those shoes!

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

Continue reading »

Find Me On...
Twitter     Technorati

Subscribe to Emergiblog

Office of the National Nurse

Zippy Was Here

Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy