Advocacy is defined as an act of representing or defending a person. Nursing advocacy is the supporting and informing act so that one is able to make best possible decision for himself. It is a role that is normally played by health care providers, nurses and social workers. Nursing or patients advocacy is usually necessitated by a patient’s vulnerability and involves protecting patients’ rights by speaking on their behalf so that they can progress with their treatment.
Over decades, this important role has been assumed by nurses and has helped in guarding a patient’s right against violation. Nurses involved in patients advocacy face certain risks and benefits. This article discusses the risks and benefits associated with being a patient advocates (Cherry & Jacob, 2005). Risks faced by nurses during their role in advocacy. At some point when you are a patient advocate you will find yourself susceptible to some risk.
The understanding of ethics is usually confused with what ethics is not; it is usually undistinguishable from code of conduct and legal law. Nurses are therefore at risk of not preventing the moral errors from occurring in domains of health care and instead cause them to occur if they fail to distinguish ethics from others. For instance a situation whereby the client is involved in a murder case and the clients forbids the nurse to disclose what he did. The advocating nurse therefore is fixed in a situation of choosing to follow the legal or ethical issues (Nettina, 2005).
In a case where a patient who is experiencing financial breakdown and is represented by an advocate experiencing a similar condition poses a risk to the advocate of undergoing financial crisis, bearing in mind that hospitals nowadays use financial information to match the kind of treatment that you get. A feeling of insecurity that the moral attitude, moral problem and moral integrity of oneself is being interfered with is also a risk encountered by patient advocates. Non therapeutic interactions may also crop up between the nurse and the patients in situations where the nurse and the clients moral values are very incongruent.
Benefits of nurses who assume the role of client advocacy Nurses practicing patient advocacy proves to be capable of delivering the best services to deserving clients. Potential advancement in the profession is an added advantage of practicing patients’ advocacy. The experience acquired when one represents a patient help nurses to come up with possible solutions about the professional in nursing. The relationship that exists between the nurse and the client is strengthened because of the good understanding of the principles and concepts acquired during the advocacy.
Though challenging and time consuming, practicing patient advocacy adds dimension to the nursing profession offering nurses an opportunity to bring changes in the health care system and give them a sense of satisfaction in improving the healthcare services for their patients and themselves too (Mackereth, 2008). In conclusion, it can be argued that advocacy is more professional than a nurse’s responsibility. It has proved to be not only a complex but also a difficult and risky task for any nursing practice. Therefore, for nurses to become better advocates they must improve their knowledge and self esteem.
Support from their employers, colleagues and professionals association is necessary. The government must also participate by providing adequate and necessary resources (Abood, 2007).
References: Abood, S. , (2007): Influencing Health Care in the Legislative Arena. The online Journal of issues in Nursing, Vol. 12 Issue 1. Retrieved on 31st January 2009 from: http://www. nursingworld. org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume122007/No1Jan07/tpc32_216091. aspx Cherry, B & Jacob, S. R. , (2005): Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends, & Management. ISBN 032302968X, 9780323029681, Elsevier Mosby Mackereth, P. A. , (2008): HIV and homophobia: nurses as advocates. Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 22 Issue 4 Nettina, S. M. , (2005); Nurses: The Perfect Patient Advocates.
Retrieved on 31st January 2009 from: http://medgenmed. medscape. com/viewarticle/503902_print Nursing BC, (2001); RNABC policy statement: Advocacy and the registered nurse. Retrieved on 31st January 2009 from: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_qa3916/is_200102/ai_n8928941