Nursing Advocacy For Patients
Advocacy is the act of supporting or arguing for a cause, but when it comes to nursing advocacy, we’re not just talking about fighting for our patients’ rights. We are also advocating for ourselves and our profession. Nursing advocacy involves many aspects of patient care, including education and research, as well as communication with others in the healthcare community—doctors, other nurses and allied health professionals. Advocacy can take many forms; some are more powerful than others depending on the situation.
First, assess your role as the patient’s advocate.
Before you can advocate for a patient, it’s important to assess your role. Are you an employee of the hospital or medical center? A family member of the patient? Either way, it’s important to know how much power you have before making any decisions.
Are there other advocates involved in the situation? If so, are they more empowered than you are? It’s important that everyone involved in advocating for a patient is on the same page about what needs to be done and has equal access to information about the situation.
Define what you mean by “advocacy.”
- What do you mean by “advocacy?”
- Questions to ask your doctor: What are the treatment options for my condition? If a treatment is not recommended, why not? What are the risks and benefits of each option?
That’s it! Now you’re ready to advocate for yourself or others in need of care.
Recognize the challenges of advocating for patients
It’s important to be aware of some of the challenges that affect patient advocacy.
- Patients are not always aware of their rights or how they can advocate for themselves. In many cases, patients are not even aware that they have the option to speak with a doctor about treatment options and understand what is happening during their care process. This can make it hard to get patients on board with advocating for themselves, especially if you don’t feel like you’re getting through.
- Some patients may be nervous about being too aggressive when they talk with their doctors or nurses because they’re afraid of being rejected or dismissed from treatment altogether if they push back too much (this problem is especially common among people who aren’t used to speaking up). If this is something you think might happen with your own loved one or client, consider ways in which you can encourage them without making them feel pressured or attacked—for example, by explaining why it’s important that everyone take responsibility for his or her own health care decisions and asking him/her what kind of relationship he/she would prefer: one where he/she makes all the decisions? Or one where he/she has input in a team effort?
- In addition to these challenges faced by individual patients themselves (and perhaps those close friends who want the best possible outcome), there are also systemic barriers that might make it harder for someone who wants an advocate present during medical appointments but doesn’t have one available at home due to financial constraints…
Find a balance between advocating and being a friend.
You have to find a balance between advocacy and friendship. You can’t be too pushy, but you also need to make sure that the patient understands what is happening and why. It’s important for them to feel comfortable with you, so they are more likely to listen when you raise concerns.
Don’t be afraid to delegate your advocacy.
You should not be afraid to delegate your advocacy. If you have a case manager or peer support specialist who is familiar with your medical history and knows how you feel, they can help you advocate for yourself and others.
You should also be prepared to explain why certain things need to be changed in order for them to occur. You may want an interpreter at a meeting but they will expect an explanation as well as why it’s important that they are there.
It’s okay if someone has done something wrong but don’t get angry about it or blame them for the mistake (e.g., “the doctor did not do his job properly”). Instead, focus on how the situation could have been avoided and what needs changed going forward (e..g., “I would like more information about my medications so I can share this with my family”).
Being a patient advocate is challenging but rewarding.
It’s important to be aware of your rights as a patient, but it can be difficult to know which rights you have and how to advocate for yourself. As a healthcare provider, you probably have more experience navigating the health system than most patients. You may even be hesitant to advocate on behalf of others because you’re afraid that it could damage your relationship with colleagues or other individuals in the medical community. However, being an advocate for patients is both challenging and rewarding—and will give you an opportunity to make sure that all patients are treated fairly and receive high-quality care.
Being a patient advocate means standing up for your patients’ rights when those rights are violated by someone else’s actions or decisions at any level in their care process: from doctors who fail to properly diagnose conditions; nurses who don’t provide adequate pain management; hospital administrators who ignore complaints about poor quality service; pharmacists who refuse medications based on their own personal beliefs rather than evidence-based practice guidelines; insurance companies denying coverage for medications needed by seniors living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes (among many others).
Being a patient advocate can be challenging and rewarding, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many nurses have experienced the same things you have and are willing to help you along the way. We hope this article gives you some insight into what we mean when we say “advocacy” and “patient advocacy.”