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1. Specifically define the role of the registered nurse in patient advocacy. Describe situations in which nursing advocacy can assist patients within the healthcare environment. Defend why nurses are, or are not, adequately prepared, in pre-licensure education, to act as patient advocates.
2. The ANA Code of Ethics currently emphasizes the word “patient” instead of the word “client” in referring to nursing care recipients. Do you agree with this change? Why or why not? Review the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements found in Appendix B of your Butts text.
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Discussion WK 5
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Introduction: In the field of healthcare, nurses play a crucial role in advocating for their patients. They are responsible for ensuring that patients receive proper care and their rights are upheld. This involves actively speaking up for patients’ needs, communicating their concerns to the healthcare team, and facilitating access to resources and information. The role of the registered nurse in patient advocacy is multi-faceted and addresses the well-being and best interests of the patient.
1. The role of the registered nurse in patient advocacy:
The registered nurse serves as an advocate for patients by providing support, guidance, and protection throughout the healthcare journey. Advocacy involves understanding the patient’s rights, needs, and desires, and taking action to meet them. Nurses act as a liaison between patients and the healthcare team, ensuring effective communication and collaboration.
Situations in which nursing advocacy can assist patients within the healthcare environment include:
a) Communicating patient preferences: Nurses advocate for patients by ensuring that their preferences and choices are respected and communicated to the healthcare team. This includes decisions regarding treatment options, end-of-life care, and other aspects of care planning.
b) Ensuring informed consent: Nurses advocate for patients by ensuring that they receive accurate and understandable information about their healthcare options. They help patients make informed decisions by providing education, clarifying doubts, and ensuring that their choices are respected.
c) Patient safety: Nurses advocate for patient safety by identifying potential risks, reporting errors, and promoting evidence-based practices. They actively participate in quality improvement initiatives and promote a culture of safety within the healthcare environment.
d) Resource allocation: Nurses advocate for patients by ensuring equitable access to resources and services. They address disparities in healthcare and work towards providing equal opportunities for every patient.
Debate on whether nurses are adequately prepared in pre-licensure education to act as patient advocates:
There is an ongoing debate about whether nurses are adequately prepared in pre-licensure education to act as patient advocates. While nursing programs provide foundational knowledge and skills, some argue that additional emphasis on patient advocacy is needed.
On the one hand, nursing students receive education on ethical principles, communication strategies, and legal aspects of patient care, which lay the groundwork for advocacy. However, the unique and complex challenges faced by patients in today’s healthcare system require nurses to have a deeper understanding of advocacy.
Advocacy involves critical thinking, effective communication, and negotiation skills, which can be further cultivated through experiential learning opportunities, such as clinical rotations and simulations. Integration of advocacy-related content in the curriculum could strengthen nurses’ ability to navigate complex healthcare systems and effectively advocate for their patients.
In conclusion, the role of the registered nurse in patient advocacy is vital in ensuring the well-being and rights of patients. Through effective communication, understanding of ethical principles, and collaboration with the healthcare team, nurses can address patients’ needs and concerns. While pre-licensure education provides a foundation for advocacy, ongoing efforts to enhance nursing education in this area can further strengthen nurses’ ability to advocate for their patients.
2. The use of the word “patient” in the ANA Code of Ethics:
The ANA Code of Ethics currently emphasizes the use of the word “patient” instead of the word “client” when referring to nursing care recipients. Whether one agrees with this change depends on individual perspectives and interpretations.
Agreeing with the change: Some individuals may agree with the use of the word “patient” as it reflects the traditional role of nurses in healthcare settings. The term “patient” carries a sense of medical care and implies a clinical relationship between healthcare providers and recipients. Advocating for patients may be seen as aligning with this relationship, specifically defined within a healthcare context.
Disagreeing with the change: On the other hand, some individuals may prefer the use of the word “client” as it implies a broader, more holistic approach to nursing care. The term “client” can encompass not only healthcare aspects but also considerations of individual rights, autonomy, and well-being. Advocating for clients may be seen as valuing the person as a whole and addressing their needs beyond the clinical setting.
Ultimately, the choice between “patient” and “client” may vary based on personal beliefs, organizational preferences, and the specific context of nursing care. The ANA Code of Ethics, as a guiding document, acknowledges the importance of the language used within the nursing profession and strives to reflect the evolving healthcare landscape. Nurses should consider the nuances and implications of their terminology choice while providing ethical and patient-centered care.