"Advocacy Roles in Professional Nursing" is a well-written example of a paper on care. In the current society, advocacy has become an essential part of the nursing profession. However, the challenge is that most people do not understand the role of advocacy in the profession. A number of research papers indicate that there is little education on the advocacy roles of nurses. This paper aims at discussing the various roles that define advocacy, factors that influence advocacy, and factors that hinder advocacy in the nursing profession. Roles that Define Advocacy Advocacy is part of the requirement for nurses to act safely when performing their normal duties.
However, there has been an ongoing debate on the issue of advocacy and this illustrates that it is important to define the term before drawing conclusions. According to the Royal College of Nursing (1990), advocacy refers to the process of taking actions on behalf of an individual who is unable to make such actions by themselves (Hanks, 2008). The other definition derived from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary is that advocacy involves pleading for another person.
The two definitions have a common idea and that is, nursing has a genuine desire to care for patients who are in a vulnerable position. This implies that nurses should always take action in the best interests of their patients. Literature information on nursing advocacy indicates that the concept traces its origin back to the 1970s when it was first introduced. The concept was later on recognized as part of the nursing profession in the 1980s. During this time, nurses were considered for the role of advocacy because they spent most of their time in direct contact with patients.
When an individual falls sick, the sickness often makes it difficult for such people to take action on their own. This creates a situation whereby they require someone to assist them in doing a number of things that they are unable to perform independently. Therefore, such sick people become dependent on other individuals. It is in this case that a nurse becomes an advocate and this requires that they get knowledge in a number of areas in order to perform their roles effectively.
Nursing has become the heart and soul of the nursing profession. The most important role that defines advocacy in the nursing profession is the role of taking care of patients. Nurses play the role of looking after the well being of patients. For instance, they remind a doctor about changes in medication or calling the attention of the doctor that a patient is not ready for discharge (Quallich, 2010). According to research studies, there are three core values that define the basis for nursing advocacy including preservation of human dignity, patient equality, and freedom from suffering.
Preservation of human dignity is what brings out the role of respect in defining advocacy. Every individual has the right to be treated with honor and respect (Mahlin, 2010). In cases of illness, most of the patients and members of their families are often in a state of confusion. This requires a caregiver that can assist them to navigate through unfamiliar parts of the healthcare system including interpretation of tests and the provision of emotional as well as physical support. Cultural and ethnic beliefs of a patient play an integral role in influencing the comfort levels of patients and therefore nurses should respect them.
The nurses should also be considerate of the privacy issues that relate to the patient. Freedom from suffering involves the nurses having the conviction for the welfare of the patient. Research studies indicate that majority of nurses pursue a career in nursing because of their desire to help others. From the patient’ s perspective, helping prevent pain or suffering is the most important aspect of care. Nurses can only achieve their goal of helping others if only they consider the welfare of patients their top priority.
Equality requires that nurses provide care for all patients with the same level of compassion and professionalism. Factors that Influence Advocacy Several factors influence advocacy roles in professional nursing including self-confidence, work environment, collaboration, and communication. Self-confidence refers to the inner feelings about an individual’ s image and research studies have identified the major facilitating factor in nursing advocacy. A confident nurse has a very likelihood of accepting advocacy roles in a healthcare setting. Most of the nurses are motivated by emotions and beliefs and end up advocating for a patient because of sympathy or empathy (Hanks, 2007).
In most cases, a nurse usually advocates for a patient that he or she feels is very vulnerable. The nurse ends up as an advocate for the patient of the feeling that it is a moral obligation to assist the weak. A nurse’ s work includes the various responsibilities that facilitate advocacy. A working environment defines the role of a nurse in a healthcare setup. For instance, roles such as medical checkups and administration of drugs facilitate advocacy roles because they involve giving assistance to those who are unable to assist themselves (Quallich, 2010).
Collaboration is also an important factor that facilitates advocacy because it involves the coordination of activities among different caregivers. Collaborations ensure that there is ream work in providing patient care and services. A nurse can identify a mistake in a diagnosis provided by a doctor. This helps in the doctor correcting the mistake and saving the life of a patient. Nurses who have created friendly relationships with physicians also find it very helpful because it enables them to share ways to solve a problem in a healthcare setup.
Communication is a facilitator because it ensures that there is sharing of information about the needs and conditions of patients. Comprehensive assessments on patients enable nurses to understand the real needs of their patients and make them become more effective in their efforts to achieve advocacy (Quallich, 2010). It ensures that patients are referred to the relevant social support systems within the healthcare organization. Consequences or Barriers Related to Advocacy There are a number of barriers that may stand in the way of a nurse acting as a patient advocate.
However, the major barrier is commonly referred to as the institutional barrier which involves a lack of support from management, fellow nurses, and even physicians. Literature information on nursing advocacy reveals that a number of nurses may perceive the consequence of advocacy as a career risk that can result in punishment or even a demotion. There is also the idea that advocacy is related to feelings of frustration, anger, and the disruption of relationships with colleagues because an advocate may be viewed as a troublemaker.
The decision to become a nursing advocate comes with a number of unavoidable risk factors and this has become a determinant factor on whether a nurse will accept or ignore an advocacy role. There are a number of questions that arise during this discussion including who legally supports advocating nurses? Who will support an advocating nurse when he or she has been sacked by the president? The response is that there is no legal support for nursing advocacy and those engaging in such roles are often silenced by reducing their time at the place of work.
These are the risks involved in nursing advocacy (Hanks, 2007). In most cases, the desire to advocate for the needs of patients is labeled as troublesome because it involves shaking the status quo. Most of the roles require a number of changes in the manner things are done and peer nurses or even management may feel uncomfortable and start making claims that advocacy roles are creating troubles for the organization. Conclusion Nursing advocacy involves taking action in the interests of patients.
The relationship between a patient and the nurse is what creates the need for advocacy. Therefore a nurse should perform his or her duties with courage, compassion, and commitment in order to achieve the goal of advocacy.
Hanks, R. G. (2007, October-December). Barriers to Nursing Advocacy: A Concept Analysis. Nursing Forum, 42, No. 4, 171-177. Retrieved from http://libproxy.eku.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.eku.edu/docview/1 9500 3596?accountid=10628
Hanks, R. G. (2008). The Lived Experience of Nursing Advocacy. Nursing Ethics, 15 (4), 468-477. doi:http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.eku.edu/10.1177/0969733008090518
Mahlin, M. (2010, March). Individual patient advocacy, collective responsibility, and activism with the professional nursing associations. Nursing Ethics, 17 (2), 247-254. doi:http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.eku.edu/10.1177/0969733009351949
Quallich, S. A. (2010, July-August). When worlds collide: advocacy. Urologic Nursing, 30 (4), 216 & 254.