Truth-Telling essay


Summary ofWhat Is Known About the Issue

In all thetimes that the physicians communicate with their patients, honestyis among the important ways to nurture hope and show admiration forthe patient. Patients always have full trust inthe physicians or the nurses. They place their hope on the nurses andbelieve that they are the only ones to save their dear lives.However, patients may feel betrayed, by the ones they had entrustedtheir lives, whenever they discover that the nurse or the physicianlack honesty and truth in themselves (McLennonet al., 2013).However, the truth being disclosed to the patients by the nurses mayhave different impacts there are instances when such truth isdisclosed causes much pain to the patient.

A good numberof studies have identified major discovery on the needs that thepatients would want looked into when with the physicians forexample, they want to be told the truth. Undeniably, truth telling isan imminent factor as far as physicians-patients relationship isconcerned. Ethics refer to thewell-defined guiding principles in the nursing profession they arethe main rules that govern the works of the nurses and should beadhered to. With the assistance of morals, nurses are ina position to give properattention to the sickly because they come up with certain guidelines,which must be adheredto. Additionally, ethics assistnurses todifferentiate between incorrect and correct steps, and also agree onthe approach to any arising situation. Morals endorses that an illhealth person has a right to existenceand therefore, he or she must begiven all appropriate steps in treatment.This is contrary to what most of the physicians perceive theybelieve that the patients need not be told the whole truth(Bartholdson,2015).The research has indicated that the ill health person always wants toknow or be told about their results of the diagnosis, and the truthof his/her results.

It isestimated that more than 90% of the sick persons have that urge orwould want to know or be told their about their results, like thediagnosisof cancer. On the other hand, the studies on the opinions of thephysicians on the matter of truthfulness or ethics,in general, revealedthat some would want the sickpersons notbe told the truth of their diagnostic results. Most people may feelthat it is correct to inform them about (Fletcher,2015) however,in case a physician decides to disclose such results, he or sheshould do it with lot of caution.In other words, thereshould be a well-defined procedure of telling the patient the truth.

Giving patients truthful information may at times help them getinformed and also get involved in best health care decisions. This,therefore, means that, the sick persons will get to know thenature of his or her illness hence, theywill be in a position to expect any outcome and be psychologicallyprepared for it. Many outcomes are as aresult of the situation of one`s level ofillness. Patients who are well informed of their status of thedisease are always in a position to contribute in the decision makingof the alternative treatments.Alternative treatments that are sometimes not therapeuticallyindicated or suitable must not be exposed (Burkhardtet al., 2003).Evidences that are not significant to the patient’s aptitude to bea knowledgeablecontributorin decision making, such as domino effect of precise lab tests,should not be communicated to the patient. Also, comprehensive andhonest revelation should never be brutal applicable feeling to thepatient`s aptitude to digest convoluted or bad news is vital.

Disclosingtoo much information to the patient may have some harmful effectsfor instance, such a patient may develop more stress than before, andthis has a high likelihood of contributing to health deterioration.There are, also, physicians who fear totellthe truth to the ill health persons. It is advisable that beforedisclosing vital information to the patient, aphysician shouldhavejustifiable reasons that telling the patient the truth would notcreate a harmful effect otherwise, he or she should withhold thetruthful information or results of the sick person (McLennonet al., 2013).Sometimes, the family may play a vitalrolein deciding what to disclose and to keep from the patient. Thisbecause any family has a duty to always tries to make the patientless painful or prevent such factors that may cause psychologicaltrauma. &nbspInunfamiliar circumstances, family members may disclose something tothe patient that may cause real and predictable harm if disclosed byphysicians in a straight forward way (McLennonet al., 2013)these occasions, however, are rare.

EthicalDimension of Truth Telling

Nurses arealways advised to withhold the truth from the patient this is termedas collusion. However,collusionmay also cause difficulties or mistrust an easygoing person willtake the nurse or the physician as being deceitful. This makes thelife of the nurse to be in a dilemma. Withholding information fromthe patient isas a result of the request made in regard to the disclosure oflife-threateningillnesses that may include cancer or death risks. Instead, suchdisclosure may be made by the family member or an individual who isrelatedto the sick person in one way or the other.

Historically,it was a norm to exclude the patient from the truth but the trend ofthis has moved in a different direction in the recent years. Most ofthe health officials or officers are well trained and advised on theright way of communicating to the patient.However,the new dimension on truth telling in many cultures is still common.In most of the cultures, it is still a common ethic, by thoseattending to the patient, to withhold such information that may causedistress. Illness is viewed as a family concern and, therefore,recognition of autonomy may not exist in them. It is an ethicalconcern,therefore, to respect other culture’s norms. It is beneficial tounderstand and pay respect to the cultural beliefsas well as forma bit of collaboration withthe significant person while at the same time keeping the interestsof the patient at forefront. The ethical principle of doing well andnot harming the person would always apply in such situations.

In instanceswhere there is a dilemma of sharing information, the roles of thenurse become somewhat challenging. The moral integrity of the nurseshould be present in such instances as it helps save the situation,and find an amicable solution. Many of the patients will realize thetruth and may easily detect what is hidden from them (McLennonet al., 2013)while other will not want to know their diagnosis and final results.The relationship between the nurse and the patients will alwaysdeteriorate if at any point the patients come to realize that thetruth was being hidden from them.

Relevanceof truthfulness in health professions

In asituation where the patient in a doctor-patientrelationship is not told the truth, that relationship will requirespecial attention. This is becausepatients are always experiencing serious hurt or harm if they are nottold the truth. In fact, this always breaks the relationship andleads to mistrust between the two parties. The inconvenience ofcommunication may come in for example, the patient may no longerexpress themselveswell or be open to the health professional, and this may result inprolonged healing.

Points ofConsensus and Difference concerning truthfulness

Argumentsabout truth telling are always based on autonomy, psychological,physical benefit, and the uncertainty principle. It is always commonat times in the issue of autonomy that the patient may request forthe news, the procedure, or results of his or her diagnosis. Further,they may want to know the bad or good news with regard to theirhealth status (Huang et al., 2014). Many scholars recommend thatphysicians should withhold the information from the patient due tothe fact of having cognition or any other behavior that may compelthe health profession to do so. This is, however, dictated by thosewho believe that few people affected with dementia will always beable to get the information shared clearly. They will have opinionabout it or just a comment. In terms of psychological benefits,preventing harm by others through avoidance of such bad news mayhaunt the patient. Another issue, which raises an argument againsttruthfulness as one of the ethics in health professionals, is theuncertainty principle that states that there is always uncertainty inthe decision making or decree to truthfulness.

RelevantEthical Analysis

There can bea way of looking at the case of truthfulness from the perspective ofdifferent ethical theories. One of the theories is utilitarianismthat majorly focuses on the consequences of the actions taken by anindividual. This action may include that decision to tell the sickindividualthe truth about the results or his or her condition after diagnosis.This theory seeks the quantitative value of patients. On the ethicallaws, the natural law theory has an objective background in thestructure of the human’s nature. There is the assumption that lyingmay at times violates or totally violates the objective standards ofmorality (McLennonet al., 2013).In the past, the catholic and the cantina tradition’s principle waskey in truth telling. In fact truth telling is necessary so that onemay become a decent person and have time to know oneself.

Thetruthis a must morality and good at all times however, it raises someconcern when it conflicts with other important moralities,likerespect and freedom of mind, in life. Is it really justifiable tosave a life through lying? It has been for a long time argued thatlying may sometimes be more beneficial and essential thanthe truth itself. This is always in instances when the patient’slife is in danger but is assured that he or she will recover soon.Phony arguments always define the choice to take in medical contextstelling the truth in the clinical context is cause minimal or noconflict hence, should be embraced.

PersonalNursing Professional Response to the truth and ethics

It is clearthat most of the nurses have different views and stand on the issueof truthfulness or truth telling in the clinical context. Some maybelieve that the patientsneedto be told the truth instead of being deceived. Any patient is alwaysexpectant of good news concerning their health, and the only personthey see as their savior is the health professionals (Grace, 2013).Telling the patients lies may sometimes cause mistrust therefore, itis good to tell them what they deserve to know. Most of the healthprofessionals too on the other side may support the useof lies to save the life of the patient especially, when he or sheis having chronic illness.


Undeniably,it is well understood that any sick person is defined or has thementality of truth from the doctor. They believe that the healthprofessionals will always tell them the truth. However, thisnurse-patient relationship sometimes get broken completely when thepatient discover that the physicians lied to them concerning theirdiagnosis and results of their health conditions.


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Burkhardt,M., &amp Nathaniel, A. (2013).&nbspEthicsand issues in contemporary nursing.Cengage Learning.

Fletcher, J.F. (2015).&nbspMoralsand Medicine: the moral problems of the patient`s right to know thetruth, contraception, artificial insemination, sterilization,euthanasia.Princeton University Press.

Grace, P. J.(2013).&nbspNursingethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice.Jones&amp Bartlett Publishers.

Huang, S. H.,Tang, F. I., Liu, C. Y., Chen, M. B., Liang, T. H., &amp Sheu, S. J.(2014). Truth-telling to patients` terminal illness: What makesoncology nurses act individually?&nbspEuropeanJournal of Oncology Nursing,&nbsp18(5),492-498.

McLennon, S.M., Uhrich, M., Lasiter, S., Chamness, A. R., &amp Helft, P. R.(2013). Oncology nurses’ narratives about ethical dilemmas andprognosis-related communication in advanced cancer patients.&nbspCancernursing,&nbsp36(2),114-121.