Nurses Are Patient Advocates (True or False)?
How Does Patient Advocacy Work?
Patient advocacy helps patients stay informed about the procedures and treatments they receive and gives them a voice in their own care. All that done on the patient’s behalf is explained by patient advocates. They also walk them through potential treatment plans and answer questions. They are trusted allies who help patients navigate the ever-changing, complex healthcare industry.
A person who acts as a single point of contact for medical patients while they seek, receive, and manage healthcare services is known as a patient advocate.
Relatives play this role frequently for patients. Professional patient advocates may now be employed by hospitals, particularly in larger cities. However, nurses typically interact with patients the most.
Although the concept of patient advocacy in nursing is relatively new, its earliest manifestations date back to Florence Nightingale’s time. Due to its significance, nursing schools have written their own moral codes around it. Justice is one of the most fundamental human needs and nurses interact with patients and their issues more than anyone else. Therefore, they are in a better position to provide patients with justice. Patient advocacy is one of the nurses’ most important roles. Nurses are the first advocates for patients and serve as the link between patients and the health care system.
Nurses Are Patient Advocates
How Do Nurses Advocate For Patients
The patient or client is at risk and has been damaged to varying degrees. As a result, the nursing profession has emerged as the most trustworthy in terms of patient advocacy thanks to the abundance of opportunities for patient advocacy enforcement.
Effective advocacy enhances the nursing profession and the quality of patient care.
Generally, advocacy is defined as protecting the rights and property of others. It has been defined in nursing as being a voice for the vulnerable, defending the patient’s rights and universal rights, protecting the patient’s interests, contributing to decision-making and supporting the patient’s decisions.
Patient advocacy is a best practice in nursing. It depends on a lot of things, like human interactions and social relationships as well as moral distress and its side effects.
In nursing, empathy becomes more of a business issue than a personal one.
Nurses want to connect with others and work together. They are prepared for these kinds of situations, so they try to approach patients in different ways to protect their rights and gain a deeper understanding of the patient. Patients and nurses then develop a common concern. This increases nurses’ compassion and willingness to assist patients. As part of patient advocacy, nurses and patients develop feelings of empathy.
Empathy and its connection to patient advocacy have not been supported by previous research, but the similarities between advocacy, communication, and empathy cannot be denied. For instance, a 2015 study found that people with a higher capacity for empathy are better able to comprehend and accept other people’s points of view.
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The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines nursing practice as the protection and enhancement of health and abilities, the prevention of illness and injury, the alleviation of suffering through human response diagnosis and treatment, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. In its Code of Ethics, the ANA also discusses the significance of advocacy, specifically in Provision 3: The patient’s rights, health, and safety are promoted, advocated for, and safeguarded by the nurse. Advocacy is clearly a fundamental nursing practice principle.
Nursing advocacy is based on the following: preserving patient equality, human dignity, and freedom from suffering.
- Preserving human dignity: in a lot of medical situations, patients and their families are anxious and unsure of what to do. A patient can be assisted in communicating with their physicians and navigating an unfamiliar system by a calm, experienced nurse. Nurses may also instruct the patient about tests and procedures in some cases. While adhering to privacy regulations, they should be aware of how culture and ethnicity can affect the patient’s experience. Nurses, in general, are in a unique position to integrate all aspects of patient care, ensuring that concerns are addressed, standards are upheld, and positive outcomes continue to be the goal.
- Equality for patients: the healthcare system is undergoing organizational and technological transformations on a regular basis. Regulations governing the provision of healthcare and other services are also changing as a result of these shifts. According to the ANA Code of Ethics, nurses must, however, remain above the fray and advocate for patients with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
- Freedom from suffering: nurses go into the field because they want to help other people. A significant component of this is the core value of assisting in the management or prevention of suffering. This is one of the most crucial aspects of patient care and can be achieved on a physical, emotional, or mental level. As advocates for patients’ health, nurses are available to them and their families.
The following reasons also qualify nurses as patient advocates:
- Feeling the patient’s closeness: the feeling of belonging to other people is what this is all about. This sense is unaffected by the circumstances of others. It can occur in pleasure or pain, but it is more prevalent in pain. People feel connected to one another and see their problems as their own. They attempt to share both their happy and sad times. Nevertheless, this feeling is more pronounced toward children and members of their immediate families, and it is exacerbated when ill. Nurses who are close to their patients are more likely to defend them as they would defend themselves.
- Taking care of patients: this expression refers to general patient care. It’s being cautious around other people to keep them from getting hurt. Protecting patients from harm and potential dangers is one of the primary responsibilities of nurses. These dangers could be mental, physical, intentional, or the result of inadequate treatment or poor care. Patients need someone to shield them from these dangers because disease weakens people’s defenses. The majority of nurses have held this position as patient advocates.
- Putting patients’ health first: the nurses who work in hospitals may encounter a variety of issues. The nurses are forced to prioritize their responsibilities as a result of these issues, which may include family or professional issues, interactions with coworkers, or any other issue.
- Commitment to the care period’s completion: Nursing care is incomplete without patient follow-up. Nurses make plans to improve the health of their patients and expect to stick to them until they are completed. Nurses feel more at ease when an appropriate plan is carried out. They experience stress as a result of actions that disrupt the process. Patients are spared any harm thanks to this attitude.
- Upholding the rights of patients: what is permissible and what is not are the fundamental normative rules that define rights. This is one way to safeguard patients from harm. Every individual has a right. Nurses take care of people who can’t or don’t know what their rights are and need help defending them. In addition, nurses assist patients by promoting and educating them about their rights.
- Nurses Serve Patients’ Best Interests: nurses are often the patient’s first point of contact with the healthcare system. This helps you see your patient as a whole person rather than just as someone who has a particular illness or disease. You can advocate for the best plan of care for the patient’s wellbeing with this perspective. Patient advocacy occurs when you take steps to ensure [patients] have a safe hospital visit.
- Nurses Help Keep Their Patients Safe. When nurses receive orders from a doctor that are unclear, one way to ensure the safety of the patients as a nurse is to ask for clarification. Patient advocacy also takes place during shift changes when the nurse on duty makes sure the next nurse understands the care that’s been taken. Nurses have the training to make patients feel safe and comfortable throughout surgical period as surgery can be a frightening experience. The autonomy of their patients is supported by nurses. Patients have the right to choose their own medical treatment. Some people might decide they need a second opinion, and others might want to involve people they care about in the decision-making process. Some patients might not want any kind of treatment at all. By assisting patients in expressing their thoughts and concerns, nurses can act as an advocate on their behalf.
- Health literacy: patients are frequently not experts in healthcare or diseases when they visit a healthcare facility. They might not be aware of their diagnosis, and even if they are aware of it, they might not be aware of their prognosis or the options for treatment. Patients find it more difficult to make educated choices regarding their medical care as a result of this. Nurses are well-suited to providing patient education. Making sure the patient really understands what it is that you’ve told them to the best of their ability is patient education.
From the perspective of clinical nurses, these are what make nurses patient advocates.
- Empathy with the patient: this includes comprehending, sympathizing with, and feeling close to the patient; and protection of the patient which includes patient care, prioritizing patients’ health, commitment to the completion of the care process, and protection of patients’ rights.
Delivering high-quality care is the most important part of being a nurse.
However, high-quality care is more than just knowing about diseases so nurses advocate for patients. Nurses are ideal advocates because they are in the best position to interact with patients. The work that nurses do helps patients heal when they successfully advocate for them.