Giving false reassurance

  1. i was chatting with my friends on a similar forum, and i was told that one of my friends has a renal lesion. well, i told him this(with translation):

    i'm sure everything will be fine my ci survived uterine cancer. i'm sure wala lang yan [im sure its nothing]. omg!

    di ako pwede maging nurse[i can't be a nurse]. i'm mentioning cancer. pinakaba pa kita lalo[i made you even more nervous]. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    anyway, ipacheck mo till[have it checked]. better to be safe than sorry
    and then, one of my friends, who also is a nursing student, told me that it was giving false reassurance, and that if ever i do become a rn, my license could be revoked if i did this. omg!!!!!!!!!!! :uhoh21:

    it's scary! well, i had tests before, and it was asking for the "most therapeutic" answer, and my answers were like : "im sure you'll be fine"

    i do get the rationale why it is highly not recommended, because if the patient doesn't end up fine, his relatives or something could come after your head and say "you said he'd be okay! liar!"

    but, how do i nicely say that "there's a chance your renal lesion could damage your kidneys and potentially ruin your life, literally." in a nice way that isn't misleading and isn't a form of false reassurance?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   BSNtobe2009
    I would ask yourself this, would it have been more appropriate to say, "Wow, I was ok, but statistically, the vast majority of people die."

    You can die from a piercing or a papercut, depending on what type of secondary infection gets in, so there is nothing wrong with sharing your experience and giving hope.

    You also, could not say for certainty that the petient was NOT going to be ok.

    You are a nurse, not a God, there is no cancer in existance at any stage that has not been survived by someone. You can't lose your license for that.

    There are no guarantees in healthcare.
  4. by   RGN1
    Don't fprget though, as a by the by thing, that false reassurance answers on N-CLEX are usually the wrong ones that you can cross off when eliminating!

    of course it shouldn't be a license revoking thing but as a rule you're usually better off saying supportive things rather than giving false reassurance.
  5. by   sephinroth
    Quote from RGN1
    you're usually better off saying supportive things rather than giving false reassurance.
    What's the difference?

    Hmm, give me an example so i can grasp the concept.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I try never to tell folks they will be fine or okay. What I do is phrase it a little more vague and provide reassurance that we will do everything possible.

    Also - I do not (even now as an APN) provide medical advice to anyone except my patients. This is a bad habit. Once folks find that you are a nurse, they literally come out of the woodwork to get medical advice.
  7. by   RGN1
    Quote from sephinroth
    What's the difference?

    Hmm, give me an example so i can grasp the concept.
    Typically things along the lines of "I'm sorry to hear your news if there's anything I can do please let me know" Or suggesting self help groups, web sites etc etc is more supportive. In true N-CLEX style- the "I understand that you are feeling upset right now......." type thing.

    False reassurrance is telling someone that "everything will be just fine" when it clearly might not be. For example telling a child an injection won't hurt when you know it will. False reassurance compromises the nurse-patient relationship & can lead to mistrust. It's easier, initially, to give false reassurance but 9 out of 10 times it will come back & bite you!

    Hope that helps. I'm sure someone else will come along soon & explain it even better!

    You need to be as honest as you can without scaring the hell out of them - in a nutshell
  8. by   firstyearstudent
    Just thowing some things out there that might be supportive without being falsely reassuring...

    "How are you feeling about all this?"

    "You've been healthy all your life. This must be a shock."

    "It's great that you're getting medical attention/getting this taken care of. Let's find out what's wrong and address it."

    "We're going to do everything we can to help you."

    "Let's not get ahead of ourselves and jump to any conclusions."

    "From what I understand, most people do well and make a full recovery."

    "We're here to help you get as much as you can out of the time you have left."

    Sometimes people find things encouraging that might seem sort of silly, jut something to hang onto.

    "If you've got to have cancer, this is the kind you want."
  9. by   Daytonite
    First of all, no one's RN license can be revoked for giving someone false reassurance. Where your friend came up with that is really way out there. If you want to be really hard on this person, ask them to go to the nursing law for your state and find the section in the law where it says that. Can't be done because it doesn't exist. That tells me that this person says things without having true knowledge to back it up. Maybe has a problem with rules and people following them, you think? I'm more concerned that they would be willing to make up imaginary law just to try to influence someone to act in a way they feel is right. That's scary and manipulative. I'd be afraid to put this person in charge of anything.

    Secondly, we make statements of reassurance to our family and friends all the time. That's just compassionate, caring and nurturing.

    You can't wear the nursing cap 24 hours a day. I think your nursing student friend is a bit caught up in nursing school and become a bit of a cult member to it. This person sounds kind of cold and heartless. Patients won't care for that in a nurse either. Are you sure you want this person for your friend?
    But, how do i nicely say that "THERE'S A CHANCE YOUR RENAL LESION COULD DAMAGE YOUR KIDNEYS AND POTENTIALLY RUIN YOUR LIFE, LITERALLY." in a nice way that isn't misleading and isn't a form of false reassurance?
    "I know it's hard, but all you can do is wait until you know the test results. Everybody's case is different."
  10. by   jov
    the problem with false reassurance is it cuts off further therapeutic communication.

    When you say, "I'm sure you'll be fine." what is the patient supposed to answer other than, "I suppose you're right."

    Remember nurses are interested in not only the disease process but the patient's response to it.

    When you have your psych rotation, you'll learn lots more ways of helping patients talk out their feelings and concerns.
  11. by   sephinroth
    Thanks for the reassuring and informative comments. I'll try my best. (oh god, my community service is coming up this summer. Wish me luck!)

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