Undoubtedly, nurses have many professional and moral obligations, but a nurse’s most crucial ethnic responsibility is “advocacy.” Believe it or not, it is the heart of the nursing profession.
Faced with a profoundly disjointed and intricate healthcare system, families and patients often find themselves at the edge of a breakdown, further hindering their ability to make informed decisions.
After all, nursing is more than punching the clock; you have to spend every waking second with your patient, fulfill their needs and help them stay strong. And advocacy is the only way for nurses to be the “voice of reason” for patients and poof all their worries away.
So if you need some tips on how to be a good nurse, start with learning the art of advocacy. To help, here are some ways you can jump right into the concept:
Get to know your patients.
Spending time talking with your patients is the best way to know what they need. The more you chat with your patient and get to know them about their beliefs and spiritual or moral needs. You can’t advocate for someone if you don’t understand what they require.
What anxieties can you help them overcome? Or which medical procedures are they unfamiliar with? Getting to know your patients through dialogue may appear to be a simple task. Yet, it is a critical step for any advocate.
Furthermore, many academic programs are available for nurses to gain an edge in their profession and improve their relationship-building efforts with patients. For instance, nurses with a diploma can advance to a bachelor of science (BSN) and get the chance to pursue a wide variety of careers. If you’re interested, click here for more information.
Educate your patients
Part of your job as a nurse is to educate your patients. Supporting your patients in making knowledgeable medical decisions for themselves or a cherished one is a big part of advocacy. A patient may not have all the information they need to make a thoroughly thought-out decision that mirrors their values if they lack awareness.
Think about all the possible scenarios. Also, know if the patients were given treatment options or simply told they would receive a specific medication for their illness. Consider and mention every aspect to your patient and see if they wish to learn more. Furthermore, patient education also allows correcting misconceptions about their medical situation or alleviating fears.
Learn more about local organizations and resources that offer assistance, transportation, financial assistance, caregiving, and other services. As part of advocacy, you can assist a patient in locating relevant resources both within and outside of your facility to assist them in navigating their medical path. A service that delivers meals to homebound patients, for example, could benefit patients who have mobility problems while they recover at home. Other examples of resources and assistance include:
- Assisting with discharge documentation
- Securing home supplies
- Investigating generic prescription manufacturers for affordability
- Getting a social worker involved (if necessary)
Check documentation twice
Nurses can advocate for patients via systematic documentation, directions, and charting. Consider carefully reading all orders and double-checking with doctors, pharmacists, and other medical personnel to avoid errors, clashing orders, misinformation, or missteps. The error itself may not be a big deal if it is discovered in time to be corrected.
Pay attention to your patient
Advocacy is about listening as much as it is about speaking out. When speaking with your patient, actively listen to and consider their wants, requests, concerns, and needs. They may not always be correct in their feelings about a medical diagnosis. Still, their problems remain a top priority, and hearing signs in their own words can be lifesaving at times.
Be assertive and not aggressive.
When advocating for patients, nurses must be assertive but never aggressive. When you’re assertive, you make it clear that you’re not going to back down. You also demonstrate a willingness to discuss subjects that others may be uncomfortable discussing.
However, suppose you raise your voice and fail to respond to opposing viewpoints. In that case, your strategy to advocacy shifts from assertive to aggressive – and that is not good. According to many pieces of research, aggressively advocating for patients is unlikely to produce the best results. It discovered that when parties express themselves with frustration or aggression, the outcomes of negotiations are less satisfactory.
Provide social and financial help
As a nurse, you should never let your patient leave with a fistful of prescriptions they can’t even afford. Contact a social worker within your organization if you believe your patient will not complete their discharge assignments due to financial constraints.
Many brand-name medications have assistance programs, and there are occasionally less expensive options to the original prescription. Offering to assist your patient now can lead to a smooth transition to home care. You can even encourage patients to take on some of this responsibility for themselves when appropriate. Moreover, this keeps unexpected billing statements at bay.
Liaison with family
Communicating with family members is an integral part of effective patient advocacy. You can help inform and train family members about your patient’s condition, or illness, or you may need to intervene in dangerous family situations, such as neglect or poor living conditions.
All patients’ health and well-being are a priority, and security is essential. Nurses can ensure that procedures are in place, medical equipment is stored correctly, and dangers or risks are minimum throughout the facility. For example, ensuring that medication is adequately kept or immediately cleaning up spills on the floor to avoid an accidental slip or fall.
So these were some of the ways nurses can advocate for their patients. With proper advocacy and “doing your job,” nurses can effectively secure patient rights while offering equal treatment.
Furthermore, the healthcare landscape is on the constant verge of change. As a result, patients rely more on healthcare professionals to guide them through it all. A nurse that can confidently advocate for patients can create the possible scenario for success and act as tangible assets to their organization.