Leadership / Delegation Question #5


A client just signed informed consent and asks the nurse why it must be signed prior to the procedure. Which response by the nurse provides the most accurate reason for informed consent?


  1. Consent must be obtained within 5 minutes of the pre-operative medication.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct since the client must understand the procedure they are consenting to. Giving preoperative medications prior to signing may impair client judgment and clear understanding of the procedure.

  2. Consent confirms approval, which cannot be undone once signed.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because a client has a right to refuse and consent may be revoked at any time. Even if the form does not contain this in writing, legally, the client still has the right to revoke consent.

  3. Consent confirms the staff nurse has explained all risks and benefits of the procedure.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the health provider or surgeon provides the client with information about the procedure, its risks, benefits, who will perform the procedure, and possible alternatives to the treatment. While a staff nurse may witness and verify the client or legal representative has signed the consent, the nurse should not take the role of health provider in explaining the procedure.

  4. Consent is required by law to protect the client’s rights
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because informed consent is required by law to protect the client’s rights. Informed consent indicates the client’s choice for a treatment or procedure, and understanding of benefits, risks, and alternatives to the particular treatment or procedure. All clients have the legal right to autonomy and self-determination to accept or reject treatments and interventions.


Consent is required by law to protect the client’s rights. Medical care cannot be given unless a client gives their consent after being informed about their condition, the proposed intervention and possible risks and benefits and outcome. Only adults 18 and older in sound mind can provide informed consent.


Learning Outcomes

Informed consent is a collaborative effort between the client and their doctor. It is required by law to protect the client’s rights. The client’s role in decision-making on their own behalf is of utmost importance. Informed consent is granted by the client to the doctor with knowledge of the potential risks and benefits. “Informed” means that the client has all the information needed to make a decision. An informed consent can be revoked at any time. The physician is responsible for explaining all the risks and benefits of the procedure. The components of an informed consent include the description of the diagnosis and prognosis after the procedure, risks of the procedure, benefits of the procedure, and alternative treatments. The informed consent is confidential.

Test Taking Tip

In general, the nurse should defer any legal documents to the healthcare provider to explain and sign. The nurse can witness that the one signing the document is the client, but does not give the informed consent.

Video Rationale