Nurses advocate for their patients. This is what nurses do. To advocate for a patient is a natural part of nursing care because it taps into the nurturing aspect of an individual. The need to take care of, “ipagtatangol” “stand up”, and speak up for the ones who cannot. It is an ethical standard.
Advocating for patients can be challenging, particularly when conflicts arise between parties involved. Personal values and beliefs of the patient, family, physician and the nurse itself are at stake. Yet, nurses’ instinctual nature always points towards the direction of the patient .Sometimes, a nurse’s personal value and beliefs might be put to the side to honor the patient’s wishes.
In an ideal world, granting wishes does not take any effort. However, in today’s complicated healthcare demands, protocols, and bureaucracy, advocating for a patient can be demanding. More often than not, patients are left lost inside a convoluted system. Being in the frontline, nurses are empowered to guide patients through the maze, put puzzle pieces together, in order to reach desirable outcomes.
Reaching a desirable outcome is an ultimate goal of nursing care. This is why, unknowingly, nurses probably do not even notice that they almost always advocate for their patients. From making sure the patient gets the right medication, performing a “time-out” during a procedure, making sure vital signs are within normal limits before discharging a patient home, are all acts of advocacy tailored to the safety and well being of each patient.
The role of a nurse as a patient advocate allows patients to move through the top of Maslow’s hierarchy. In return, nurses find joy and contentment knowing that they made a difference in someone’s life. When this happens, nurses find meaning to what and why they do what they chose to do. Nursing does not become a job. It becomes their life.
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