The Nurse As Advocate

The Nurse As Advocate

The Nurse As Advocate

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Nurses are the health-care superheroes, if you think about it. 
These amazing caregivers seek justice for their patients, especially society’s most vulnerable, even if they don’t leap tall buildings in single bound or outrun speeding bullets. 
The position of the nurse as patient advocate is powerful one that is bringing health care to the next level, requiring traits such as courage, compassion, and expertise.

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In the face of our country’s growing nursing crisis, the health-care industry has finally recognized the important role nurses play in providing high-quality, efficient patient care. 
Nurses, after all, have the most direct contact with patients, placing them in the ideal position to function as liaisons between patients and their families, as well as between patients and physicians.
Furthermore, according to the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) code of ethics, “the nurse supports, argues for, and protects the patient’s rights, health, and safety.”
And, as many health-care studies have demonstrated, when nurses are given additional responsibilities in patient care management and stronger voice in workflow design, not only does public health improve, but the entire health-care system improves as well.
The size of great hero’s heart, not his strength, is what defines him.


What does it mean to be patient advocate for nurse?
An advocate, according to the definition, is person who represents another person’s interests in court. 
Advocacy in the nursing profession refers to the preservation of human dignity, the promotion of patient equity, and the provision of relief from suffering. 
It’s also about ensuring that people have the freedom to make their own health decisions.


Advocacy can take many forms, from lending sympathetic ear to providing further information to patient who is debating whether or not to accept therapy. 
However, as patient advocate, nurses must provide objective support, avoiding showing acceptance or criticism of patient’s choices.


According to RN Central, nurses confront number of obstacles when trying to effectively advocate for their patients, the most significant of which is at the institutional level. 
When it comes to patient advocacy, some nurses receive little or no support from administrators, physicians, or peers, depending on their employer.


How can nursing students be better prepared to be patient advocates?


ABSN Students at Loyola


Our 16-month ABSN program, which is framed within the context of strong Jesuit, Catholic values, does more than just prepare you for successful career in nursing, in keeping with our university’s promise to prepare people to lead extraordinary lives. 
It also gives you the ability to go out into the world and be change agent in the service of others.


You’ll learn how to treat people with integrity and compassion as an accelerated nursing student at Loyola University Chicago, as well as how to provide quality, evidence-based care to variety of patient populations.


We’ll show you how to do things like:


Encourage patients to talk openly about their symptoms and self-care behaviors.


Allow patients and their families to ask as many questions as they want.


When providing effective care to people from all walks of life, be kind.


Patients’ religious and/or cultural needs should be addressed.


Ethics and legal knowledge should be incorporated into nursing care.


Nursing care should incorporate scientific evidence as well as patient/family preferences.


Recognize the impact of institutional policies and the government on public health.


“We are committed to moving the world forward, and in order to do so, we must be ready to face views with which we disagree and have difficult conversations,” said Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola University Chicago. 
“We will only be able to successfully participate and argue for our perspective if we take the time and invest the intellectual energy to learn all sides of an issue.”


Joining the Loyola community means becoming part of something larger than yourself. 
We’ll work together to address society’s most pressing health challenges and find solutions to the inequities in health care that exist across neighborhoods and communities.


Isn’t it true that this year is Patient Advocacy Month?


Looking at the results of the annual Gallup Poll for the previous 16 years, being nurse carries certain level of clout in society. 
It’s profession that consistently receives high marks for integrity and ethics.


Nurses have the ability to transform lives and improve the world, which is why the American Nursing Association designated 2018 as the Year of Advocacy. 
The association has dedicated year to bringing attention to the idea that nurses may utilize their power to shape and transform the health-care system in our country.

Nurses play a critical in healthcare as advocates. They advocate for their patients, profession, and their organizations. Their advocacy roles aim at ensuring that the needs of the vulnerable are meet in their practice. It also aims at ensuring the recognition of the vital roles that nurses in healthcare transformation and patient care. Their advocacy roles in their organizations aim at ensuring the adoption of interventions that improve the systems and processes utilized in service delivery (Gerber, 2018). Therefore, this essay examines the drivers for advocacy from the perspectives of different nurse advocates in the US. It also examines my reflection based on the lessons learned from the advocacy roles of the selected nurses.

Drivers for Each Individual’s Advocate

The drivers for advocacy differ in individuals. As seen from the provided readings, the drivers for advocacy amongst the nurses differed significantly. The need to help others in the community drove Hall-Long into being a nurse advocate. Accordingly, Hall-Hong notes that she developed desire to help others by volunteering in the church at her tender age. Her experience from working with the underserved populations when studying for her master’s also drove her into advocacy roles, as she aimed at ensuring equity for all. It can also be seen from the narrative that her drive for self-development as an advocate drove her into engaging in policy initiatives as a volunteer.

Alicia’s engagement in community projects as an urban planner drove her into advocacy. Alicia learned from her experience that decisions made during board meeting were mainly based on bested interests of the political parties. Communities did not play any role in decisions made on issues affecting them. As a result, the experience challenged her to play a proactive role in policy issues affecting communities.

For Rita’s case, her passion to leadership drove her to becoming an advocate. The passion for advocacy can be seen from the different roles she has played as a nurse educator, bedside nurse, nurse entrepreneur and nurse executive. Linda’s drive to become an advocate is attributed to her family role. Linda is the firstborn in a family of nine and was tasked with the responsibility of leading her siblings by listening, being kind and generous, and showing concerns for them. The early childhood experiences led her into advocacy roles as seen by volunteering and working as an advocate in different boards.

Factors that Led to the Individuals becoming Advocates

Different factors led the individuals in the provided readings becoming advocates. Accordingly, volunteering roles during tender age and as a nurse led to Hall-Long being an advocate. Her experience with underserved residents as a student also stimulated her to be involved in politics to influence decisions made to improve the livelihoods of such populations. The other factor that led to Hall-Long’s advocacy includes her volunteering for civic and non-profit organizations and campaign involvement as the analyst for the Secretary’s Commission on Nursing. The roles she played in campaigning and volunteering exposed her to issues related to national policies and politics. Hall-Long’s desire to contribute to public health also led her to becoming an advocate. As a result, she assigned students public health as well as policy assignments and her participation in Delaware legislature where she lost in 2000 and won in 2002.

As noted earlier, Alicia’s experience during community engagement projects as an urban planner led her into advocacy. Her discovery that communities did not contribute to issues affecting them motivated her to become an advocate. Her desire to influence policies and issues using data also influenced her advocacy roles and decisions. Her interaction with community groups, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and policymakers also broadened her understanding of her role in policy, hence, her advocacy positions. Rita attributed her experience as a nurse to be a factor that contributed to her being an advocate. She also notes that her passion to lead and bring change contributed to her advocacy, as she strives to promote collective success to those she serves. Linda’s childhood experiences influenced her to become an advocate. The experiences helped her develop effective leadership and advocacy skills that have been effective in her professional roles in different organizations.

Challenges Each Identified

The writings by the nurse advocates reveal a number of challenges. Hall-Long identifies that she experienced the challenge of failing in her strive to become an advocate. Accordingly, she ran for the office of Delaware legislature in 2000 where she was defeated by 1%. The failure shows that despite the successes in her advocacy role as a nurse, she also encounters challenges that strengthen her. Linda’s journey shows that she has had to sacrifice her time and finances to support the organizations that she serves. She notes that part of being an advocate entails giving to others (Callahan, 2017). Linda’s accounts show that being an advocate also brings the challenge of having to sacrifice one’s resources to meet the needs of others and their organizations.

Alicia’s journey of being an advocate also reveals a number of challenges that she encountered. One of the challenges was gaining access to the community board meetings in her community. She experienced considerable resistance in her desire to attend community meetings and participate in decision-making. Alicia also noted the challenge of policies being made to serve the interests of the political parties rather than communities. As a result, the views of the community were often not considered in making decisions that affected them. The aspect of volunteering also resonates in the majority of the narratives by the advocates. While volunteering provides individuals the opportunities to network and develop the desired competencies, it may also be associated with minimal benefits when compared in working as an employee. As a result, most of the nurse advocates, including Alicia and Hall-Song had to endure the challenges of volunteering in their respective roles, as they sought to develop their desired competencies.


The drivers and challenges experienced by the above nurse advocates share some similarities with my experience as an advocate. My advocacy desire stems from my social experiences. Accordingly, issues such as high cost of healthcare, healthcare inequality, and barriers to access to care drive the need for policy changes in healthcare (Erickson, 2017). Nurses are well-placed in their societies to influence the policies that are made to ensure the optimum health and wellbeing of their populations. They can utilize their knowledge and skills in nursing to influence the decisions made to enhance equity in healthcare. Nurses can also use their power in influencing communities by educating them about the ways in which they can address their challenges (Erickson, 2017). Therefore, such roles in nursing have driven my advocacy roles and interests.

The challenges experienced by the nurse advocates also relate to those that I have encountered in my advocacy journey. First, I have encountered the challenge of gain entry into communities and participating in issues affecting them. Often, nurse advocates experience challenge of resistance from communities in their bid to engage in activities contributing to their overall health. Factors such as difference in cultural values, norms, and practices may make it difficult for nurse advocates to assimilate easy with the communities (Gerber, 2018). As a result, it reduces one’s role in advocating the needs of the communities. The other challenge is the influence of politics on advocacy roles by nurses. In most cases, political affiliations influence the decisions made in issues related to health (Gerber, 2018). The influence of politics may therefore hinder the implementation of community-appropriate interventions to address prioritized needs.

Expanding my Advocacy Skills

I believe I significantly advance my advocacy skills in the next five years. I believe that I can become an expert in nursing advocacy by the end of five years. I will engage in a wide range of activities to achieve this goal. One of them is engaging in active advocacy roles in addressing health issues affecting the population (Downs & Fiore-Lopez, 2021). I intend to participate in policy activities in my region that aim at addressing issues such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, access to care, and creation of safe communities. I intend to provide inputs on the decisions made using data and evidence-based information. I also intend to engage actively in other activities such as reinforcing community policies to enhance my understanding of the ways in which I can influence community health.

I also intend to volunteer in governmental and non-governmental agencies, as a way of broadening my understanding of the ways in which I can influence public policies. Volunteering will provide me the opportunity to learn from others and network with other advocates in public health (Callahan, 2017). I also intend to use volunteering opportunities to identify projects that can be implemented in the state to enhance health outcomes for the diverse populations. The last way in which I intend to become an expert in advocacy in the next five years is through engaging in activities that contribute to my personal and professional growth (Callahan, 2017). I intend to enroll in part time classes and training opportunities that will enhance my understanding and skills in public policy and ways in which I can drive change in the communities that I serve.

The Nurse As Advocate Conclusion

In summary, advocacy in nursing practice is important. Nurses have immense advocacy opportunities to explore in their practice. They can utilize their knowledge and skills in patient-care, nursing education, leadership, and management to advocate for change in their practice and communities. Nurses can also advance their advocacy roles by serving in board of different organizations to ensure the needs of their organizations and stakeholders are met. Advocacy in nursing faces challenges that may affect the realization of the desired goals and objectives. Therefore, nurses should be ready to implement responsive interventions to address any potential challenges or barriers experienced in their advocacy journey.


The Nurse As Advocate References

Callahan, D. (2017). The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Downs, S., & Fiore-Lopez, N. (2021). Getting Comfortable With the Uncomfortable: Nurse Leader as Advocate—One Leader’s Story. Nurse Leader, 0(0).

Erickson, J. I. (2017). Travel Bans: Nurse Leaders Must Advocate to Support International Collaboration and Patient Care. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(4), 189.

Gerber, L. (2018). Understanding the nurse’s role as a patient advocate. Nursing2021, 48(4), 55–58.