Ethical principles

The case is “The family of your patient does not want you to tell the truth to the patient about his medical diagnosis”

Identification of key ethical principles that apply to this situation and why they apply 

Expert Answer

The situation relates to many ethical principles that are essential in nursing. The first principle that applies is the principle of autonomy. According to the nursing code of ethics, a patient has autonomy. The nurse is supposed to accept the patient as their own person and give them the right to determine their treatment type (Suhonen et al., 2018). The patient is allowed to give their perspective and opinions towards the care they receive. The only way they do that is to have all the information concerning the healthcare conditions they are suffering from. In this case, the family does not want the patient to know about their condition. This goes against the ethical principle and puts the nurse in a dilemma (Haddad & Geiger, 2019). However, the nurse has a fiduciary responsibility to the patient and should consider telling the patient the truth about their condition which is related to the principle of veracity.

Nursing’s ethical principles also dictate that the nurse should not hold any truthful information from the patient even though it might cause them distress. The family not wanting to communicate with the patient about their condition goes against the principle as the nurse will not transfer all the necessary information to the patient. The principle of Beneficence also applies to this case. The nurse is required to work in the best interest of their patient. According to the case, it is in the patient’s best interest to know the truth about their condition (McDermott-Levy et al., 2018). Such information will allow the patient to make an informed decision about the next step in the treatment. The principle of fidelity also applies to the case. Then nurse has to be faithful to the promise they made of providing competent and quality care to patient. Such care can only be provided if the patient is given all the information relating to their condition (Epstein & Turner, 2015).

Therefore, it is the nurse’s responsibility to know what information to relay to the patient unless they are incapacitated.  In this case, the patient can make their decisions without the influence of family or power of attorney.  They, therefore, require all the necessary information to make the right judgment about the situation.

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