Advocacy is a term used to describe someone who speaks up for others who can’t speak for themselves. An advocate in nursing can be a patient, their family, or others affected by the patient’s condition. Advocates may not always see eye-to-eye, but they all share the same goal: to help improve care and quality of life.
Nursing is a career that requires active listening and communication at all times. That means you should discuss even the most personal information without hiding anything or leaving out essential details. In reality, any nurse can become a powerful advocate.
If you seek to develop your career, a program such as the UIndy nursing leadership program shows you how to optimize healthcare environments for patients and staff. With an online MSN in Nursing and Health Systems leadership, you will be ready to take on the challenges of manager positions and become an effective leader.
Who is a nursing advocate?
Anyone passionate about improving healthcare for people can serve as a nurse advocate. Nurses providing direct patient care can advocate for doctors and administrators for their patients, while nursing department leaders support patients and their nursing teams. Once again, communication is vital when serving as a nursing advocate.
Moreover, advocates actively listen, talk, and understand what people say. Communication is crucial when discussing areas that affect peoples’ emotions, feelings, and experiences, so an advocate should identify these emotions and use language that addresses them.
How to be an effective advocate
When it comes to being an effective advocate in nursing, you must develop a few essential skills. You can do this in a university setting or on your own through personal development.
- Communication: Learn as much as possible about the situation. If your role involves treating patients, discover the condition, treatment plan, and outlook and learn about their family.
- Nurture relationships: Use your voice for good. Maintain a positive attitude and stay calm when dealing with situations that may get heated.
- Be objective: As an advocate in nursing, remember that you may not always be able to change an outcome.
- Be patient: Times will arise when you need persistence and patience. Sometimes, making changes takes time.
- Be strategic: Prepare yourself to have many conversations as a nursing advocate, and know when to ask for help and ask for what you need for patients and your team.
Why is it important to be an advocate?
Nursing advocates play an essential role in improving healthcare. Advocates seek to improve the healthcare system where they work and the quality of life for patients. They are typically the closest professionals to patients and their families, and if they’re administrative leaders, they can improve their teams’ working conditions.
Furthermore, many patients and their families want better access to healthcare, including improved access to specialists and treatments. Patients and their families also want better communication channels, including patient portals and day-of consultations. They know the healthcare system and can serve as a powerful voice for improvement. As a result, an advocate in nursing serves a critical role.
Knowing when to be an advocate
A few guidelines can help you determine when to become an effective advocate. For example, in cases where the system isn’t responding to a given situation, you may want to serve as a nursing advocate and help change what is happening. If you, your patients, or your team experience a lack of cohesive communication, you may want to advocate for change.
You will sometimes need to rise to meet the moment as a nurse. For example, many people weren’t ready to deal with the recent pandemic, including the medical sector. As a result, confusion and quick decisions occurred. In some cases, they served patients and medical professionals well, while others did not work out as well. That’s why it is vital as a professional to watch when you can step up to serve as an advocate.
The key to advocacy is communication.
Remember to practice active listening and positive communication skills. Learning to be a genuine and effective nursing advocate is important in improving things. f you want to serve as a nursing advocate. When speaking to patients, for example, provide transparent and clear information in ways they understand.
When dealing with administration or staff, speak up for what you and your team need to ensure you have what is required to serve patients. Healthcare practitioners and advocates do what they can to improve lives.