A nurse is a patient’s voice when they don’t have one. I think it’s one of the single most important aspects of the position. We work hard to build a safe trust with our patients, and they look to us to help them understand what’s happening and to be the liaison between physicians and other healthcare personnel. They turn to us for comfort and support and depend on our knowledge to practice safe care. (Gerber, 2018) lists their concept of a nurses roll in advocacy as “consistently insisting on quality of care, including a safe and clean environment, and basic human rights for all. The American Nurses Association lists patient advocacy as “a professional nursing responsibility to protect the rights of patients.” (Gerber, 2018). The article goes on to say “Advocates ensure that patients’ autonomy and self-determination are respected. Serving as the link between patients and the healthcare system, they also contribute to the patient/family decision-making process and speak up when problems go unnoticed or when the patient or family can’t or won’t address them.” (Gerber, 2018). The most recent situation where I advocated for a patient was with a new admission to my unit from surgery. I was completing the admission assessment and when I got to the suicide assessment section the patient started answering YES to all the questions regarding the potential of committing suicide. I reported the screening to the charge nurse and my preceptor at the time and both were perplexed as to if we should place the patient on suicide precaution. Both colleagues felt as if the patient was safe and wouldn’t be a risk of committing suicide and placing him with a constant observer would place the next shift who was already short staffed even shorter staffed. I couldn’t leave the patient unprotected from self-harm, the screening tool is there for a reason and came from research and evidence-based practices and is hospital policy. I obtained an order from a VERY annoyed surgeon and placed the patient on suicide precautions. I definitely wasn’t the most liked person on the unit that night or next morning, but I did have a couple fellow colleagues come to me as say “even though we will be short, I respect you for doing the right thing.” References Gerber, L. M. (2018). Understanding the nurse’s role as a patient advocate. Nursing2019, 55-58. Retrieved November 2019, 2019, from https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2018/04000/Understanding_the_nurse_s_role_as_a_patient.15.aspx

The role of a nurse as a patient advocate is vital in ensuring quality care and protecting the rights of patients. Advocacy involves serving as a bridge between patients and the healthcare system and advocating for their autonomy, self-determination, and basic human rights. Nurses are responsible for promoting a safe and clean environment and addressing any issues that may go unnoticed or unaddressed by the patient or their family. (Gerber, 2018).

In a recent situation, the author describes advocating for a patient who exhibited signs of potential suicide risk during the admission assessment. Despite the hesitation of the charge nurse and preceptor, the author recognized the importance of following the hospital’s suicide screening tool and evidence-based practices. By obtaining an order and placing the patient on suicide precautions, the author prioritized patient safety and well-being. Although this decision may have resulted in some dissatisfaction among colleagues, it garnered respect from those who recognized the importance of doing the right thing (Gerber, 2018).

The concept of patient advocacy is deeply rooted in the nursing profession. The American Nurses Association (ANA) highlights patient advocacy as a professional responsibility of nurses to protect the rights of patients (Gerber, 2018). Advocacy involves actions aimed at ensuring patients receive quality care and are actively involved in the decision-making process. Nurses play a pivotal role in being a voice for patients who may not have one, providing them with comfort, support, and reliable information to make informed healthcare choices (Gerber, 2018).

Advocacy also extends beyond the individual patient and encompasses larger issues of healthcare access, equality, and social justice. Nurses advocate for policies that promote health equity and address the social determinants of health, aiming to reduce health disparities and improve overall population health outcomes. By advocating for systemic changes, nurses strive to create an environment that supports the well-being of all individuals (Gerber, 2018).

Nurses face various challenges in their role as patient advocates. These challenges can stem from hierarchical structures within healthcare organizations, lack of resources, resistance to change, and conflicting priorities among healthcare professionals. Additionally, ethical dilemmas may arise when advocating for patients, as nurses may be torn between respecting patient autonomy and acting in their best interest (Gerber, 2018).

In order to effectively advocate for patients, nurses must possess key skills and attributes. These include strong communication skills, the ability to build trust and rapport with patients, critical thinking skills to identify and address patient needs, cultural competence to respect diverse perspectives, and knowledge of healthcare policies and regulations (Gerber, 2018).

Nursing education plays a critical role in preparing nurses to be effective patient advocates. The curriculum should emphasize the importance of advocacy and provide students with opportunities to develop the necessary skills and attitudes. This can be achieved through simulation exercises, case studies, and clinical experiences that highlight the complexities of patient advocacy (Gerber, 2018).

In conclusion, the role of a nurse as a patient advocate is essential in ensuring quality care, protecting patient rights, and promoting health equity. Nurses act as a voice for patients, bridging the gap between patients and the healthcare system. They advocate for patient autonomy, contribute to the decision-making process, and address issues that may go unnoticed or unaddressed. Despite the challenges and ethical dilemmas that arise, nurses play a vital role in promoting patient safety, well-being, and overall healthcare outcomes.