You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our site.

Palliative Care

To tell or not to tell? Honesty and hope in cancer nursing.

19 Mar, 17 | by dibarrett

Jan Hunter, Lecturer in Nursing, University of Hull

In the rather paternalistic past of the NHS, the established wisdom was that ‘doctor knew best’. If it was deemed a patient didn’t need to know they had a poor prognosis, then they didn’t find out (unless they had the wherewithal to put two and two together, or the audacity to ask outright). Thankfully, we are moving away from the days of selectively withholding information, with candour and truth-telling now at the centre of patient care. Nurses – with their ability to forge strong bonds of trust with patients – are well-placed to act as leaders in the discussion of disease progression and prognosis. Though this cements the place of nurses as autonomous practitioners, it also requires us to face one of the key challenges in cancer care: how do we balance truth-telling with the desire to reduce distress and give hope to patients and carers?

In some patients, there may be a temptation to try and ‘soften the blow’ of bad news. For example, a measured disclosure of bad news over time may be deemed the most appropriate approach in patients we judge to be vulnerable or those we perceive to have a lower ability to cope. Superficially, holding back some information might be viewed as nothing more than a ‘white lie’ to protect patients and help prepare them for bad news. However, no matter how well intentioned, making judgements on when to offer full disclosure may serve to undermine the bond of trust between a patient and nurse.


Dementia and Advance Care Planning

19 Feb, 16 | by Gary Mitchell, Associate Editor

We are delighted to share with you our latest guest blog, in partnership with @WeEOLC, from Sarah Russell on the topic of dementia and advance care planning.

Sarah Russell is the Head of Research and Clinical Innovation at Hospice UK.  She is also the full time carer for her mother who lives well with Alzheimer’s.  Sarah tweets as @learnhospice, @WeEOLC and @swaydemfriend


Click Here to Read Sarah’s Guest Blog

Palliative care for Non-Malignant Respiratory Disease

21 Dec, 15 | by Gary Mitchell, Associate Editor

It’s week 4 of our #ebnjc December blog series and this week we celebrate the importance of research & scholarship in nursing with guest blogs from Clare McVeigh, Professor Roger Watson, Professor Jan Dewing & Professor Elizabeth Robb.

In our #ebnjc blog series we have already celebrated children’s nursing; with blogs from Jayne Pentin, Kirsten Huby & Marcus Wootton, learning disability nursing; with blogs from Professor Ruth Northway, Jonathan Beebee & Amy Wixey and midwifery; with blogs from Louise Silverton CBE , Gina Novick & Lynsey Wilgaus.

Today we are delighted to kick off this week’s blog series with Clare McVeigh, a lecturer in palliative care for Northern Ireland Hospice, on the background to her award-winning research on palliative care in non-malignant respiratory disease.


Click Here to Read Clare McVeigh’s Blog

Analysis and discussion of developments in Evidence-Based Nursing

Evidence-Based Nursing blog

Analysis and discussion of developments in Evidence-Based Nursing. Visit site

Creative Comms logo

Latest from EBN

Latest from EBN