Legal / Ethical

Veracity in Nursing: Nursing Code of Ethics Breakdown

  • Continuing NCC’sNursing Ethics breakdown with Veracity. Learn the ins and outs of what honesty means as a nurse.
  • Overview the six other ethics of nursing: accountability, autonomy, justice, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and fidelity.
  • Understand the benefits of veracity in nursing, examples you can implement in your own practice, and why being truthful is so important in patient care.

Katy Luggar-Schmit


January 09, 2024
Simmons University

Nursing is a demanding and evolving field, and adherence to ethical principles is imperative in developing an environment of trust, respect, and integrity. For those embedded in the nursing profession, you understand the pivotal role veracity plays. But what is veracity?  

In nursing, veracity is an ethical principle of honesty and truthfulness. For healthcare professionals, this includes being honest about a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, and the risks and benefits of those options.  

It also includes being honest about mistakes that are made and avoiding any form of deception or manipulation. Veracity is the binding principle between patients and nurses. Veracity protects patients from harm.  

Within the context of nursing ethics, veracity is tethered to trust. For patients, trust allows open and honest dialogue with their nurses, which can lead to better outcomes. It entails an unwavering commitment to convey truthful information that fosters a transparent relationship between the patient and the nurse. Veracity demands honesty even when faced with complex and challenging scenarios. 

Nursing Code of Ethics 

The nursing code of ethics dictates the highest standards of decision-making and moral imperatives to ensure patients receive competent, compassionate, and ethical care. The code of ethics is not a legal document but a guide. But before we delve into a nurse’s ethical obligations, take time to reflect on your personal healthcare journey.  

You will realize that veracity has been a cornerstone of your practice. Your career was built on a culture of trust, respect, and dignity, minimizing the gap between provider and patient, thus enhancing the quality of the care you deliver.  

The art of nursing intertwines our ethical obligations with a framework of holistic and compassionate care. Upholding veracity is more than meeting a professional standard, but transcending to a personal level, grounding a nurse’s approach to healthcare in empathy, respect, and honesty.  

A steadfast commitment to veracity transforms a nurse into a leader, an advocate, and a symbol of integrity within the healthcare sector. Veracity is not a singular event, but a continuous journey in fostering a healthcare environment that is safe and respectful, truthful, and just. Veracity is more than an ethical obligation; it is a commitment to uphold the truth, ensuring that the dignity and autonomy of every individual is respected, delineating a path that is both righteous and honorable. 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses is a set of ethical principles that guide nurses in their practice. The Code of Ethics includes seven ethical obligations: 

  • Accountability – Being responsible for your actions and omissions, principles that foster trust and respect in patient-nurse relationships. 
  • Autonomy – Respecting the right of patients to make decisions about their healthcare based on their established values and beliefs. 
  • Beneficence – Promoting the well-being of patients and advocating for their best interests. 
  • Fidelity – Being true to one’s commitments and responsibilities, maintaining confidentiality, and agreements made to patients. 
  • Justice – The fair and impartial treatment of patients ensuring equal distribution of healthcare resources. 
  • Nonmaleficence – The obligation to do no harm, avoiding actions that can cause harm to patients. 
  • Veracity – The commitment to being honest in all communications and providing information that is accurate and complete. 

Examples of Veracity in Nursing 

As a nurse, it is imperative to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible and are fully aware of all options available.  The following are some examples to ensure that veracity is being maintained: 

  • Ensuring that patients receive comprehensive and truthful information before consenting to a procedure. By doing so, the nurse respects their autonomy and promotes a relationship built on trust. 
  • Being honest about a difficult diagnosis and helping to prepare the patient and their family to make informed decisions, while emphasizing the necessity of being truthful even in difficult circumstances. 
  • Being compelled to admit mistakes and with transparency, focusing on the corrective measures and learning from the errors to prevent future occurrences. 
  • You are caring for a patient who is dying. The patient asks you if they are going to die. You tell the truth, even though the conversation is difficult. 
  • You are caring for a patient who is allergic to a certain medication. You make sure to check the patient’s chart before administering any medication, to avoid harmful medication errors.  

The Bottom Line

Veracity is an important ethical principle that helps to build trust between patients and nurses. Veracity protects patients from harm. If you have never experienced veracity in nursing, find a professional colleague, a mentor, a leader and watch how veracity guides their ethical decision-making. Then teach others.  

Love what you read?
Share our insider knowledge and tips!

Read More