Standing Strong: Why Patient and Nurse Advocacy Matters
As nurses our primary responsibility is to care for patients. This does of course include administeringmedications, giving bed baths, and assisting with other needs. However, being a nurse is about more than completing technical tasks and duties as assigned. Nurses also have a strong responsibility to be advocates.
When a patient is in the hospital they are often at their most vulnerable. The medications and treatments they are receiving may impact their ability to advocate for themselves in a manner they are accustomed to. They also might lack the knowledge to know when to question a treatment. As nurses, we are the first and last line of defense to protect patients. We shouldn’t even have to question whether or not we speak up or act to protect a patient. It should be instinct. Although you likely won’t hear about it in heart-warming news stories, nurses save lives and improve the quality of life for patients every day.
Over the past 100 years, the nursing profession has grown by leaps and bounds. Because of nurse advocacy we have higher salaries, more uniform choices, and more autonomy in our practice. However, we still have a long way to go and the advocacy can’t end.
Many nurses have unsafe staffing conditions, poor working conditions, or other hindrances to good patient care. If they simply endure this treatment, things will never change. It only takes one nurse to stand up and make a difference. It may not be easy, but if you want nursing to continue to improve, you can’t sit on the sidelines. You have to advocate for yourself and your profession.