10.3912/OJIN.Vol15No01Man05. Advocacy is defined by the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (2009a) as the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. Washington DC: Gallup News Service. Changing the dynamic from panic and dread to challenge and opportunity can have a profound effect on staff buy in and morale. When he presented the idea to the recruitment and retention committee, he was able to identify the potential number of nurses interested in the program and volunteered to serve on a planning committee. This teaching project heightened awareness of incivility and introduced new communication skills that promoted healthier ways of interacting within the nursing division. Leaders promote advocacy when they enable staff to autonomously address concerns. Through this program the hospital achieved a significant increase in the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared staff. There is an important need to educate the public that a nurse’s role is to assess, plan, and intervene to address healthcare issues. Nurses also have opportunities to advocate for the profession by describing the strengths of the profession whenever they are asked about their work. The professional responsibilities of the nurse to work with colleagues to promote safe practice environments are described in the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) foundational documents, including the Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice (2010) and the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretative Statements (Code of Ethics) (2001). In such situations the role of the leader becomes primarily a coach who provides guidance, helps staff navigate within the organization, and removes barriers to the process. Amidei (2010) has described advocacy as "seeing a need and finding a way to address it" (p. 4). Nurses sitting on purchasing committees serve as advocates by testing products and providing input on behalf of colleagues. Longo, J. In summary, advocacy is a complex process that requires skillful use of problem solving, communication, influence, and collaboration to achieve a solution to an issue. Nurses can have a powerful impact on individual patients, the nursing profession, and public policy by raising their voice and sharing their experiences. Nurses can also use employee forums or town hall meetings to raise awareness of their concerns. This nurse advocated on behalf of colleagues by working within the organizational structure to promote staff safety. This organization advocates for nurses and patients on capitol hill. Keeping the best interests of those involved in the situation builds trust and credibility. As a result, the incidence of staff injuries decreased significantly. Most advocacy initiatives are accomplished through collaboration, negotiation, and compromise; they may require a series of actions over time in-order-to achieve a desired outcome. Kotter, J. Collaboration between nursing managers/administrators and staff nurses is essential for maintaining adequate resources. You are pointing out a very important and interesting effect of our “blindedness” to racial injustices toward our minority nurse colleagues. An advocacy toolkit for hospices and palliative care organizations. In 2006, the American Nurses Association invited academic nursing programs to serve as pilot sites to test a curriculum for safe patient handling. Advocacy is focused on addressing problems or issues in need of a solution. She has published in the areas of nursing staff development, the image of nursing, and safe work environments. Although nurses in the United States anticipate future benefits resulting from healthcare system reform, the stress of today’s workplace falls squarely on the shoulders of nurses at the point of care. Most advocacy initiatives involve bringing individuals and groups together to address an issue or concern. An advocate is defined as one that pleads, defends, or supports a cause or interest of another. Collaboration is built on trust, mutual respect, and credibility. Collaboration vs. c-three (cooperation, coordination, and communication). What is advocacy? These educators are pivotal in the formation and continued development of nurses’ professional identity as advocates, an identity that transcends their entire career (Benner et al., 2010). A sense of urgency. Advocacy during times of change includes using positive language when communicating about controversial issues, listening carefully to staff concerns, and acting to address these concerns. (2010). As federal healthcare laws continue to change and evolve, nurses are often the ones carrying out various healthcare policies as they treat their patients on a daily basis. Engagement in organization-wide activities provides opportunities to advocate for colleagues and for the profession. Collaboration is working with other individuals or groups to achieve a common goal. “As nursing advocates we start with the foundation that we are servants to others and stewards of our profession,” said Ellen Noel, MN, RN-BC, clinical nurse specialist at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle. Staff can be included in a number of ways, for example by providing input on and prioritization of equipment and supply purchases. Budget restrictions, changes to the Affordable Care Act, and other policy changes may restrict a patient’s access to care. One way to help to formulate a consistent communication message is to prepare a ‘Sixty- Second Speech.’ This is a brief, practiced speech used to introduce the issue and proposed solution. Advocacy often requires working through formal, decision-making bodies to achieve a desired outcome. The team was charged with developing a process to limit extensive waiting in the emergency department. Everyone stands to benefit when nurses are willing to talk openly about their concerns and needs on the job. It is through day-to-day collective action that nurses work together to advocate for improvements in the work environment and for the advancement of the profession. By acting collectively, nurses advocate for improvements in their work settings and for the advancement of the profession as a whole — and one key for success is taking advantage of every opportunity to do it. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. In one agency a nurse attended a national conference and talked with a vendor about an IV catheter that appeared to be less likely to cause needle sticks. Nursing leadership from the bedside to the boardroom: Opinion leader perceptions. It is essential that point-of-care nurses develop and use advocacy skills to address workplace concerns, promote positive work environments, and advocate for the profession. The skills include service to the profession through teaching, mentoring, peer review, involvement in professional associations, community service, and knowledge development/dissemination (ANA, 2001). Following a lengthy, heated discussion about the issue, the impasse was solved when the group agreed to focus on what was best way to get the patient to the most appropriate venue for care. Six Ways Nurses Can Advocate for Patients Ensure Safety. For the Nursing Profession. In this time of change, it is important to help nurses at all levels of the organization understand the current reality of the healthcare system and engage them in designing a preferred future state. Although nursing is consistently rated as the most honest and ethical profession, the role of the nurse is not well understood by the public (Buresh et al., 2006). Staff input on purchasing decisions for supplies and equipment is now the norm in many healthcare agencies. Each of these skills will be discussed below. Nurse educators play a critical role in preparing nurses to strengthen the profession through advocacy. Nurses can use these experiences to shine a light on those that may be negatively affected by the healthcare system. The end result of groups collaborating to achieve a common goal can be greater than that which each group could accomplish independently. One component of this curriculum included the teaching of advocacy skills to prepare the students to use advocacy in overcoming barriers to the use of equipment that enhances the safety and quality of care. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ensure that the patient is safe when being treated in a healthcare facility, and when they are discharged... Give Patients a Voice. Among a team of health care workers, nurses often step into the role of patient advocate.


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