A Guide to Veracity in Nursing with Examples for the NCLEX-RN

SimpleNursing Team May 11, 2022
Young nurse consults an older blond woman while taking notes on a chart nurse speaking to patient

Veracity is one of the seven principles governing nursing, along with justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, accountability, fidelity, and autonomy.

Grounded on honesty and truth-telling, the principle of veracity requires health care professionals to provide patients with the truth — even when it may lead to patient distress. Advocacy is the foundation of a trusting relationship between patient and nurse, which is critical for patient care and treatment.

The NCLEX-RN exam tests the principle of veracity, among other ethical decision directives, to verify your knowledge and gauge your ability to practice as a registered nurse. SimpleNursing is here to help you learn everything you need to know about veracity in a health care setting so you can prepare for the exam.

Understanding the importance of veracity in nursing

Veracity in nursing grants medical practitioners a moral compass to treat patients in a truthful and honest manner. From improving the quality of care to nurturing patient relationships and honoring self-determination, there are many reasons veracity is essential for patient care.

  • Veracity fosters trust between patients and health care professionals.Veracity is at the heart of patient-centered care. By prioritizing your patients’ rights, needs, and values to guide all clinical decisions, patients become active participants in their care and treatment plan. Given the importance of patient involvement in health care decision-making, patient-centered models of care are essential for enhancing the quality of care and improving patient satisfaction, adherence, and clinical outcomes.
  • Veracity promotes the right to patient autonomy.As patients and clinicians seek mutual treatment goals, medical practitioners are expected to provide truthful information regarding the patient’s condition, diagnosis, treatment options, costs, recovery time, side effects, and potential risks. With comprehensive and objective information available, patients use their autonomy to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Telling the truth can improve the quality of life for patients. Even if the truth hurts, it can often improve a patient’s quality of life. This is especially important inend-of-life care, in which decision-making requires a comprehensive patient understanding of the diagnosis and the advantages and disadvantages of the available treatment options.

Is it OK for nurses to lie for patient comfort?

If you are a healthcare professional, you know the burden of ethical dilemmas. As a nurse, you likely got into the healthcare field because of your compassion and desire to help others. Therefore, when it comes time to have a heartbreaking conversation with a patient — such as a low survival rate associated with a diagnosis or a long recovery after a procedure — it can be tempting to tell your patient that everything will be just fine.

No matter the scenario, nurses face countless moral dilemmas during their clinical practice in which they have to choose between comforting patients with white lies or remaining truthful. Although withholding information in certain circumstances might seem like the most compassionate choice, it’s important to remember that patients have the right to receive comprehensive, accurate, and objective information regarding their diagnosis and health condition. As a nurse, you’ll practice and learn ways to show compassion to your patients while still honoring their right to know the full truth.

What are some examples of veracity in nursing?

Veracity is vital to the future of health care. As a nurse, you will be faced with countless ethical dilemmas in which you will be called to demonstrate veracity.

Let’s review some examples.

  • Be honest with the patient and their family. It’s normal to want to alleviate the psychological burden of the patient and their family in difficult situations. However, you need to disclose all information, answer hard questions, and give accurate reports. That doesn’t mean you can’t express empathy, concern, and hope to the patient and their family.
  • Ensure informed consent to medical treatment.Patients have the right to receive objective and comprehensive information regarding their treatment plan. As a nurse, you’re obliged to present all relevant information accurately and sensitively and seek out the patient’s informed consent.
  • Act as a patient advocate.Remember that the patient comes first. Your decisions and actions should revolve around the patients’ needs, wants, and values. Facilitating open dialogue with patients about their symptoms, acting with kindness, and integrating patients’ preferences into nursing care are things you can do to act as a patient advocate.
  • Admit mistakes. When things go wrong, such as a medication error, it’s essential — and potentially lifesaving — to be open and honest with patients, colleagues, and relevant organizations. Give patients the information they need to know in a way they can understand. Be prepared to explain what happened, what can be done, and what will be done to prevent the incident from occurring again.
  • Give accurate reports.Accurate documentation systems enable nurses to improve the quality of patient care while also linking diagnoses and tracking outcome evaluations. For these reasons, nurses must give accurate reports at the end of their shift, marking any essential information (e.g., patient symptoms and response to medication).

What are the 7 ethical principles in nursing?

The Code of Ethics for Nurses establishes ethical principles in nursing and governs how nurses act during their practice. To prepare for your nursing exams, let’s review the nursing ethics contained in the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics.

  • Justice:Justice means being fair and impartial in all medical and nursing care regardless of the patients’ social status, religion, sexual orientation, race, and financial abilities.
  • Beneficence: Beneficence is all about acting for the welfare of others. The ANAdefines the principles of beneficence as “actions guided by compassion.” Examples of beneficence might include helping an elderly patient stand up and comforting a patient with kind words.
  • Nonmaleficence:As per the historical Hippocratic Oath, nonmaleficence means doing no harm. Nonmaleficence in nursing requires health care providers to select interventions and care that minimizes or limits risk. This principle ensures the safety and well-being of the patient.
  • Accountability:Accountability in nursing practice means acknowledging and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. Nurses must remain accountable for their practice, including any consequences resulting from their actions.
  • Fidelity: Fidelity is demonstrated by remaining true to medical promises and responsibilities, such as the provision of high-quality patient care. It also means staying supportive of patients’ decisions.
  • Autonomy:Respect for autonomy means allowing patients to make their own independent decisions even if you disagree, also known as self-determination. As a nurse, you should ensure that patients have access to all information needed to make an informed and well-educated decision.
  • Veracity: Patients have the right to know everything about their health, and nurses are required to tell the truth and show veracity in every aspect of diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Do you need more ethical principle resources? SimpleNursing can help

Understanding the seven ethical practices and learning how to address ethical issues in nursing can help you prepare for your NCLEX exam and help you be confident in your career as a registered nurse later on.

Join SimpleNursingto gain access to top-notch practice questions, video-based rationales, comprehensive assessments, and detailed analytics, so you can fully prepare for exam day.

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