What Are Examples of Patient Advocacy by Registered Nurses?

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    Nurse Magazine

    What Are Examples of Patient Advocacy by Registered Nurses?

    In the heart of healthcare, advocating for a patient's needs is both a duty and a privilege, as illustrated by a Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy who emphasizes educating patients for empowered communication. Alongside expert perspectives, we've gathered additional answers that reflect a spectrum of experiences, from the critical role of personal advocacy to respecting patient autonomy in healthcare decisions. These narratives not only highlight the importance of advocacy but also the diverse outcomes that can result from steadfastly standing by a patient's side.

    • Educating Patients for Empowered Communication
    • Personal Advocacy Critical for Survival
    • Nurses Secure Personalized Treatment Plans
    • Bridging Gaps Through Nurse-Patient Communication
    • Educating on Healthcare Rights and Expectations
    • Nurses Prevent Errors and Ensure Safety
    • Respecting Patient Autonomy in Healthcare Decisions

    Educating Patients for Empowered Communication

    I often advocate for patients' needs when they are struggling to navigate the healthcare system. It is important to help educate and empower patients to know how to successfully communicate within the healthcare system and with their providers. I frequently help patients put everything together in one place so they can bring that into their appointments to streamline the process and get the most from their provider. Additionally, when a patient has struggled with a complex medical issue and has been dismissed, there tends to be a level of discouragement in the healthcare system; often, they are told it is in their head or there is 'nothing' wrong. Helping them advocate for and access the appropriate care can be life-altering. In many cases, I will obtain a release of information so I can also coordinate with the other healthcare providers to emphasize the impact the symptoms are having on the patient's life. It helps the patients feel supported, understood, and valued for their lived experience, which often leads to the correct diagnosis and treatment within the healthcare system, finally giving patients peace of mind and relief.

    Julie Payne
    Julie PayneDoctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) & Licensed Marraige & Family Therapist (LMFT), Julie Payne MFT, Peninsula Center for Children and Families, & Thrive In Schools

    Personal Advocacy Critical for Survival

    In the summer of 2019, my husband was on ECMO; his chances for survival were 40%. I never left him alone and noticed details that even the nurses did not notice. My questions might have been annoying, but once off ECMO, they told me that having me there to advocate for him, asking questions and providing details about his health prior to the illness, was critical to his survival.

    Annette RossAuthor

    Nurses Secure Personalized Treatment Plans

    Registered nurses play a crucial role in ensuring patients receive the care they need by engaging in discussions with healthcare teams to secure the best possible treatment plans. These dedicated professionals consider the individual needs of their patients and use their expertise to find a balance between recommended treatments and patient preferences. By doing so, they serve as an intermediary, ensuring that patients' voices are heard and their well-being is prioritized.

    Their ability to advocate effectively can lead to personalized care that significantly improves patient outcomes. If you know someone in need of healthcare, encourage them to seek the assistance of a nurse advocate for their treatment planning.

    Bridging Gaps Through Nurse-Patient Communication

    Facilitating communication between patients and doctors is a critical form of advocacy carried out by registered nurses. They help bridge the information gap by translating complex medical terminology into simple language that patients can understand, thus empowering them to make informed decisions. Nurses also ensure that the doctors are aware of the patient's concerns and needs, leading to more comprehensive care.

    In doing so, they foster a collaborative environment where the patient's voice is a key component of the healthcare conversation. If you're entering a medical facility, remember to ask questions and utilize the nurse as a resource for clear communication with your healthcare providers.

    Educating on Healthcare Rights and Expectations

    Another vital aspect of patient advocacy by nurses involves educating individuals on their healthcare rights and what they can expect during their medical treatment. Nurses provide this education by informing patients about their right to consent or refuse treatment, access to personal health information, and the right to privacy. This empowerment enables patients to better navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and to actively participate in their care.

    With a solid understanding of their rights, patients are more likely to experience satisfaction with their healthcare journey. Take the time to learn about your healthcare rights to ensure you are a well-informed participant in your own care.

    Nurses Prevent Errors and Ensure Safety

    Registered nurses maintain vigilant oversight of patient care to identify and prevent errors before they occur. Through their constant presence at the bedside, nurses are often the first to recognize when something is amiss, whether it's a medication discrepancy or a subtle change in a patient's condition. Nurses are trained to question, clarify, and verify orders and treatments to protect their patients from potential harm.

    Their proactive approach is a cornerstone of patient safety and quality care. To ensure the highest standard of care, patients should feel empowered to speak up about any concerns they have regarding their treatment.

    Respecting Patient Autonomy in Healthcare Decisions

    Supporting patients in making independent decisions about their healthcare is a fundamental component of nursing advocacy. Nurses respect the autonomy of each individual, providing the necessary information and support that enables patients to weigh their options and choose the path that best aligns with their values and goals.

    Through this empowering process, patients are given the confidence to make choices that are right for them, leading to greater satisfaction with their care. Always remember to discuss your preferences with your nurse, who can help guide you in making decisions that are right for you and your health.