Advocacy in Nursing - Essay Example

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In nursing, there are situations warranting the summoning of a nurse to provide evidence regarding cases arising from their practice as required by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) code, this is advocacy in nursing. …
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Advocacy in Nursing

In nursing, there are situations warranting the summoning of a nurse to provide evidence regarding cases arising from their practice as required by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) code, this is advocacy in nursing (Hewitt, 2001). This concept is rather new in the field of nursing and thus the empirical evidence supporting it is meagre. This position is supported by both Branch (1985) and Booth (1991) who noted that, ‘the existing empirical evidence that does exist targets particular specialists groups such as those with mental health problems and learning disabilities’ (cited in Hewitt, 2001). Overall, different authors use different lines of arguments to argue issues that warrant advocacy in nursing. One such issue is the balance of power between the patient and the healthcare providers. While a side of the debate use the vulnerability of the patient as the reason for advocacy, others reckon that the patient is not as vulnerable as they argued (Hewitt, 2001). In effect, this expose elucidates arguments put by either side of the debate and their viewpoint.

According to research by Nordgren and Fridlun (2001), patients considered participation as an important basis for their care. On the other hand, the field of medicine has been found to be restrictive to the participation of patients for their own care (Hewitt, 2001). In this regard, patient participation in decisions about their health in the past necessitated the need for advocacy in nursing. One reason for the lack of patients’ participation arose from the failure of health practitioners to practise pro-participatory attitudes though they knew of their importance. In addition, some patients lacked the knowledge that participating in their care and treatment was crucial (Florin, Ehrenberg and Ehnfors, 2008). Therefore, authors often use these arguments to underline the factors that necessitated advocacy in nursing.

On the other hand, the second group advances that the modern patient is more knowledgeable and understands their right to participate in their care (Hewitt, 2001). In addition, the current growth of patient-centred care made patients play a partnership role with providers instead of a paternalistic relationship between them and providers (van de Bovenkamp, Trappenburg and Grit, 2009). With this knowledge and advancement in technology, public debate focusing on the need for patient involvement in their care also enhanced their right in seeking recourse on instances where they were not satisfied as recognized in the Patient’s Charter (Hewitt, 2001). Therefore, the need for patients to seek recourse in cases that their expectations are not met necessitated the need for advocacy in nursing.

From the foregoing, both sides offer valid points explaining the reason that necessitated advocacy in nursing. Despite some patients lacking knowledge and understanding of the crucial role of participating in their health, the health practitioners does not help making matters easier although they knew the importance of involving patients in making decisions about their health. Therefore, patients required protection and should be made to understand the decisions made pertaining their health. For that reason, it can be argued that there was a need for advocacy in nursing. On the other hand, the growing nature of technology and consumer knowledge of their rights is one other argument put across to support the need for advocacy in nursing. In this case, some authors argue that patients are becoming aware and knowledgeable of their rights and hence had certain expectations. In effect, failure to meet the expectations called for patients seeking recourse and hence necessitated advocacy in nursing.

Hewitt, J., 2001. A critical review of the arguments debating the role of the nurse advocate. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(5), pp439-445.

Van de Bovenkamp, H. M., Trappenburg, M. J. and Grit, K. J., 2009. Patient participation in collective healthcare decision making: the Dutch model. Health Expectations, pp1-13.

Florin, J., Ehrenberg, A. and Ehnfors, M., 2008. Clinical decision-making: predictors of patient participation in nursing care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17(21), pp935–2944.

Nordgren, S. and Fridlund, B. (2001), Patients’ perceptions of self-determination as expressed in the context of care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 35, pp117–125. Read More
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