Can an RN or an LPN give negative results over the phone or in person to a patient?

By | 2022-02-18T14:31:11-05:00 August 28th, 2012|1 Comment


Dear Donna,

Can an RN or an LPN give negative diagnostic results over the phone or in person to a patient?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wondering,

I’m assuming that by “negative,” you mean normal or no pathology found. Although there are no “laws” (other than HIPPA regulations related to confidentiality) about something like this, it is understood that the primary care provider, physician or advanced practice nurse, (whoever ordered the tests) should see the results first — they usually sign off on them to indicate he or she saw the report and may agree or request that the patient be notified by someone other than himself or herself.

The test results rarely “stand alone.” They need to be interpreted by the PCP in the context of the patient’s entire case. Regardless of the results, there are sometimes implications, treatment plans, next steps and possibly a diagnosis that need to be discussed.

This might be governed by your employer’s policies and procedures, written or otherwise, and/or the preferences of the primary care provider, if applicable.

Best wishes,


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One Comment

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    An Av March 22, 2019 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    A nurse gave a wrong diagnosis over the phone to a family member, he was told he had cancer by a nurse over the phone without even getting labs done first or an actual biopsy for accurate results. What can I do to report this nurse?

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