Assignment Week 3 essay


An experience in nursing practice, which is an ethical issue, isdeciding on whether to tell a patient the truth versus lying abouttheir medical condition. Often when the nurse is responsible forinforming the patient and their family about the medical condition,if the illness is not serious, the nurse always has an easy role ofexplaining the condition to the patient and their relatives. However,when the medical condition in question is grave, the nurse faces anethical issue. Some relatives feel that informing a sick person thatthey are terminally ill has a higher possibility of worsening theirmedical state. Hence, they always suggest that the information shouldbe withheld from the patient. In such a scenario, the nurse isincapable of predicting whether what the relatives are saying istrue. The nurse faces an issue of deciding if the prognosis willcause harm and thus adhere to the relatives request or tell thepatient the truth.

The decision arrived at is that the patient has a right to know theirmedical condition. The outcome is that the relatives may feel unhappyabout the nurse’s decision. In addition, the patient may bedisturbed by the prognosis at first, but with time learns to acceptit and treatment commences. According to McCabe (2010), withholdingtruthful information from a patient could result in lack of trusttowards the nurse by the patient. As a result, their relationshipfails to develop positively, which affects the patient’s treatment.The authors also note that it is important to inform a patient abouttheir medical condition to ensure they are aware of the treatmentoptions available.


McCabe, M. S., Wood, W. A., Goldberg, R. M. (2010). When the familyrequests withholding the diagnosis: Who owns the truth? Journalof Oncology Practice, 6(2), 94-96.