Patient advocacy in nursing is all about protecting the rights, health, and safety of the patient. Some ways to practice patient advocacy in nursing are to understand how institutional policies affect public health, provide a listening ear, overcommunicate, offer time to ask questions, and be honest and trustworthy.
When it comes to advocating for your patients as a nurse, maintaining human dignity, valuing patient equality, and alleviating suffering are first and foremost. A good advocate also ensures that patients can make decisions about their health.
As the American Nurses Association (ANA) code of ethics states, “The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.”
Patient advocacy in nursing is one of the key tenets of the Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU). We strive to graduate nurses who take the responsibility of patient advocacy to heart.
In this blog, we will outline five ways to promote patient advocacy as a nursing student and in the field as a registered nurse (RN).
1. Enroll in a Program that Prepares Advocates
For more than 125 years, NDMU has remained committed to its core purpose of transforming the world through education. Our 15-month ABSN program empowers you to enter the health care field, ready to help those who need it most.
As an accelerated nursing student at Notre Dame of Maryland University, you’ll learn how to treat patients with respect and empathy. You’ll also become ready to confidently provide quality, evidence-based care to diverse patient populations.
Through online coursework and hands-on labs at our ABSN learning site in Elkridge, Maryland, you’ll learn essential nursing theory concepts and gain the skills needed to interact with patients through role-playing and simulation labs that feature high-tech responsive manikins.
During your clinical placements, you’ll interact with real patients and health care professionals to hone the skills you’ve learned. These patient advocacy in nursing skills include the following:
Getting Patients to Open Up Honestly
Some patients may feel embarrassed or insecure about their lifestyle, habits, or challenges. To provide appropriate care, you’ll need to know the details of how they live their lives each day. The ability to make them feel comfortable enough to be honest with you even when it’s hard is a vital skill.
Giving Patients and Families Space to Ask Questions
No matter how big or small your patient’s challenges are, be sure to allow ample time and opportunity to ask questions. While something may seem obvious to you, make sure to give them all the information they need and quell any fears or misunderstandings.
Showing Empathy to People from All Backgrounds
In our ABSN program, you’ll learn that a nurse treats people from all walks of life. You may perceive a patient as different from yourself but try to keep in mind the cultural differences that you’re not used to. When treating people from other religions, cultures, or locations than you, always be respectful and kind while attending to the patient’s specific religious and cultural requests.
Understanding How Institutional Policies Affect Public Health
You’ll learn about public health during your ABSN education. That’s because, as a nurse, you’ll need to understand how a patient’s insurance policy or government standing may affect how they want to proceed with care.
The NDMU ABSN program is designed to help you be the best nurse you can be, so let’s look at a few other things you can do during and after the program to practice patient advocacy in nursing.
2. Do Your Research
As a nurse, you’ll treat patients from all walks of life. You’ll encounter those from different communities, socioeconomic standings, home life situations, and more. A working understanding of the dynamics at play in environments other than yours can help you better treat these populations and advocate for them. Stay abreast of news in the community and be aware of the issues your patients face.
3. Lend an Objective Ear
Giving patients a sympathetic ear and making them feel heard is imperative, but objectivity is also essential. Part of patient advocacy in nursing is offering information when the patient is determining which treatment plan to pursue. Nurses must offer this assistance in a neutral way, not expressing acceptance or disapproval of a patient's decisions.
4. Be Trustworthy and Honest
Nursing has been voted the most trustworthy profession in the annual Gallup Poll for the last 20 consecutive years, and for good reason. Nurses must strive to consistently make ethical decisions and remain accountable to their patients and team.
Check out these five benefits of a BSN in nursing.
Be sure your patients understand their diagnosis, next steps, and treatment plan. Avoid using too much complicated medical terminology, and break things down into layperson’s terms. Always be transparent and accountable when communicating with your patients.
If you want to become a nurse as soon as possible and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, it’s time to learn more about our program and how you can contribute to patient advocacy in nursing. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Notre Dame’s ABSN program, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to pass the NCLEX and confidently enter the nursing field.
Reach out to our team of dedicated admissions counselors today to learn more about why enrolling in our 15-month ABSN program in Maryland is worth it for your future nursing career.