Nurses are primary caregivers in most medical settings, but their services don’t involve treating patients only. Besides providing high-quality care delivery, RNs also advocate by speaking on their behalf. Since nurses enjoy a close connection with patients, they can help them make informed decisions. It has become essential for RNs to improve their advocacy qualities during this pandemic to promote the remedial process. Advocacy enhances a patient’s health, alleviates their suffering, and protects the well-being of the patient’s family as well. As the nursing practice’s tenet in the 21st century, we recommend that RNs learn about their vital role as patient advocates.

Patient Advocates
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Ways Nurses Can Serve as Patient Advocates: 

  1. Helping out the Family

    A patient’s family tends to trust nurses while discussing problems they’ve experienced. So, RNs must advocate for that patient by providing proper resources for their treatment. It’ll allow patients to access the healthcare facilities they require easily. They can help the family understand the patient’s condition and the medical procedures needed to treat them.

  1. Making Informed Decisions

    The most crucial aspect of a nurse’s role as a patient advocate involves making informed decisions. Nurses can leverage their enhanced knowledge to help patients make the right decisions. Ensuring ethical decision-making and normalizing evidence-based practices can enable more nurses to fulfill their responsibilities as patient advocates effectively.

    Moreover, today RNs have access to several distance learning opportunities that allow them to acquire better education without disturbing their work-life balance. They can opt for doctor of nursing practice programs online to improve their medical know-how. This increased education will enable them to provide their patients with the information they need to make reasonable choices about their treatment.

  1. Guiding the Entire Team

    Nurses constitute integral components of a medical team. Nurses can guide the entire team with close contact with the patient and a deeper understanding of their condition. Doctors also rely on a nurse’s medical acumen before deciding on the patient’s treatment. Similarly, nurses relay the patient’s desires to other healthcare professionals. They also cater to the patient’s religious/cultural sensitivities while planning meals, wardrobes, and visitations – being primary caregivers.

  1. Ensure Safety

    Nurses can ensure a patient’s safety while that person’s being treated in a hospital. Being the primary caregivers in medical settings, they’re well-aware of the patient’s condition, requirements, and other sensitivities. RNs should speak with their case managers to ensure proper home-based medical attention when a patient is discharged. It’ll allow the patient to receive the best available healthcare services at home before being discharged from the hospital.

  1. Giving Them a Voice

    Patients consider RNs reliable enough to reveal their problems and share their concerns with them. So, nurses should become a vessel to express the patient’s thoughts. You can give them a voice when they become speechless or feel vulnerable before doctors. RNs can help patients by explaining medical procedures to them and letting them ask questions as well.

  1. Influencing the Policies

    Nurses working on upper levels can advocate for patients by influencing policymaking and backing better medical legislation. A nurse’s expertise carries significant weight, so they must advocate effectively to establish better policies in our national healthcare system. Many strategies are available to RNs who wish to bring some positive changes into the nursing practice. They can meet with elected officials and encourage them to pass better laws for patients.

  1. Resolving Mistakes

    Medical mistakes aren’t uncommon in the USA, as around 250,000 people die annually from errors made by healthcare professionals. Nurses can contribute to lessening these deaths by catching such errors beforehand. So, correcting oversights by doctors and double-checking information with other RNs can save potentially thousands of lives! Carefully studying documents and contacting doctors if something isn’t clear are practices that enable nurses to reduce the deaths caused by errors.

  1. Improving the Nursing Profession

    Patient advocacy isn’t limited to speaking on behalf of patients. You can also struggle to improve the nursing profession and bolster this practice formally. We witnessed how nurses rallied to provide better PPE to coworkers when a shortage of personal protective equipment led to the deaths of several RNs in the USA. Advocating for advancements in this profession will help them bring positive changes into the nursing profession and support their patients.

  1. Team Them Self-Advocacy

    In the end, nurses must remember that patient advocacy doesn’t stop at nurses. Instead, it would help if you taught patients to advocate for themselves if RNs aren’t around to speak for them. Empowering your patients and educating them to help people better understand medical procedures. So, you can encourage patients to acquire knowledge about healthcare and use trusted sources to choose new physicians. Also, motivate them to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers.

Conclusion

Since nurses impulsively speak on a patient’s behalf and vehemently support better healthcare facilities for them. No wonder ANA called advocacy “a pillar of nursing” as RNs can emphasize their roles as primary caregivers by advocating for their patients. What must you do to serve as a patient advocate? You can create a better work environment, improve people’s access to care, and support other nurses politically.


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