Thank you to the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia for permission to adapt their case study.
RN roles and responsibilities in the consent process
Susan tries to confirm with Mr. Yan that he has consented to surgery, but they are having difficulty understanding each other. When Susan asks questions in English, Mr. Yan responds in Cantonese. Susan calls a hospital interpreter and when he arrives a few minutes later, Susan learns that Mr. Yan did speak to the surgeon and agreed to the surgery, but that he remembers very little else about the conversation.
As a registered nurse, Susan knows she has professional responsibilities when verifying consent. She is aware that the practice standards expect her to follow current legislation, standards and policies relevant to her practice setting (1.2). She doesn’t remember the specifics from her employer policy so she decides to review the one pertaining to consent.
Susan knows she must do the following, regardless of whether the consent form is signed or not:
What does Susan do?
With the interpreter’s help, Susan and Mr. Yan review the consent form together. When they have finished, Mr. Yan signs the form. Susan witnesses his signature.
During their conversation, she learns Mr. Yan has additional questions about the surgery. Susan then telephones the surgeon to let him know he’ll need to speak with Mr. Yan before the procedure, and notes that an interpreter will need to be present.