A client has signed the consent form for a right radical mastectomy. Shortly before the client is to be taken to surgery, she tells the nurse, “I’m not really sure that this is what I want to do. Everything was so sudden.” Which response by the nurse is most appropriate?

  • “You will be glad you did it once it’s over.”
  • “What are your thoughts right now on this procedure?”
  • “I will notify the surgeon and let her know you have concerns about having the surgery.”
  • “The OR has been prepared for you, and the doctor will be mad if you mess up the surgery schedule.”
Number 3 is correct.
The nurse should notify the surgeon and ask her to come talk to the client and address her concerns, even if it means the client withdraws consent and decides not to have surgery. The client may withdraw consent at any time. Telling the client she will be glad she had the surgery fails to acknowledge the client’s feelings and assumes that she will proceed with surgery. Asking the client what her thoughts are will only delay the discussion with the surgeon; the client has already expressed sufficient doubt about the procedure. Telling the client that the doctor will be mad because the OR has been prepared may make the client feel guilty and possibly coerce her into having surgery she does not want. If the surgery is performed anyway, the client has a case for a lawsuit.