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The importance, role and responsibilities of nurse advocates

The importance, role and responsibilities of nurse advocates

Nursing is a job that has countless responsibilities associated with it, and the primary goal of each commitment is to provide high-quality care to their patients. Patient advocacy is a service that nurses must provide to their patients to ensure that their mental and emotional needs are met. Nurses serve as a bridge between doctors and their patients so that the patients understand their diagnosis and do not feel ignored. This is important because patients often feel that their physicians are not hearing them due to a knowledge or communication gap. In such cases, nurse advocates play a pivotal role. 

Responsibilities of a nurse advocate

Advocacy in healthcare is a relatively new concept that has gained immense attention due to the fruitful outcomes it produces. A patient advocate can be an individual or an organization who assists in navigating a patient through the medical system. Recently, nurses have been assigned the role of patient advocate because they are the care providers who patients most frequently come into contact with. When a nurse advocates for a patient, their mission is to uphold fundamental human rights, enhance patient equity, and end suffering. A nurse advocate also ensures that the patient is well-informed about their health, allowing them to make well-informed health decisions

A few instances of patient advocacy include listening to them compassionately and empathetically, or providing them with more knowledge when they are trying to decide whether or not they want to accept therapy. However, given their position as patient advocates, nurses must be impartial in their support and refrain from endorsing or criticizing a patient’s choices. Other common instances where nurse advocates play a crucial role include notifying the doctor or healthcare institution and conveying a problem if a patient is given an incorrect diagnosis, an inappropriate lodging, or confusing self-care guidelines. However, these are only a few of the primary examples. Still, the responsibilities of nurse advocates extend much further in cases related to opioid prescription, euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions. 

How to become a successful nurse advocate

A good educational background is essential to become a successful nurse advocate. A bachelor’s degree is appreciated, but a master’s degree would be even better. Some nurses also take additional training to become skilled nurse advocates. Thankfully, many universities now offer online MSN in leadership courses, which are based on multiple modules focusing on the roles and responsibilities of a nurse advocate. 

Apart from a solid educational background, a nurse must also possess a particular set of essential skills. Robust and practical communication skills are crucial for nurse advocates, as they must feel at ease advocating for improved treatment with resistant hospital managers and deciphering complicated medical terms for distressed patients. Nurse advocates must also be well-organized, as they frequently interact with several patients and must keep track of each one’s symptoms, choices and requirements to prevent confusion. Additionally, a little bit of creativity and diplomacy, and a lot of tenacity, will help aspiring nurse advocates to meet their objectives.

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