Nursing profession is constantly changing with the development of new technologies that lead to a new level of responsibility. The new level of responsibility challenges nurses torespond to different and difficultsituations in the health care industry, especially in protecting the human right, dignity of patients and their safety. Nurses hold adistinctive position as patient advocates, regardless of their respective areas of practice; either in a home health, clinic, or in a hospital setting. Nursesare faced with ethical decisions, both personal and professional decisions.
One of the many roles played by a nurse is to advocate for his or her patients,provide holistic care for them, and make surethat their essential needs are met, as well as protecting them from any abuse.
To take a stand is not only acting as an advocate, but also creating a self-awareness, being assertive, be creative, be courageous, and he or she must have a moral and ethical capabilityto act under normal circumstances. As a manager, one must have the basic knowledge of ethical principal in order to apply it when making ethical decisions as well as using this knowledge as an outlineof approach that reducesexperimental errors while focusing on an established decision-making models.
Myactivitiesas an advocate include letting others know of their rights and make sure that I supply them with adequate amount of data that they wouldbase their decisions on. (Marquis & Huston, 2012). There was a situation that occurred at my job a long time ago during the era of paper charting.
It involved a nurse, who was from another country and had a problem pronouncing certain words, and had a heavy African accent. Also her writing was a problem because it was difficult to read and understand. When our boss heard our complaints, she gave all the nurses a mandate to tape-record our reports after we finish the paper charting.The boss’ mandate did not help the issue because this nurse’s writing was not legible as she endlessly made mistakes in her charting. It got to a point that every nurse on the unit including our boss began to make a mockery of her.
I confronted my nurse manager that it was inappropriate of her to join the other nurses in making the unit a hostile environment for the foreign nurse to work. My nurse manager told another employee that I am fighting a fight that is not mine, and this aggravated me to report the issue to the hospital administrators who had a meeting and instructed my boss to hold a unit meeting and openly apologize to the nurse victim and myself. I advocated for the nurse who at that time felt demoralized and rejected. The initial step I took was to go directly to my boss and discussed my observation about the “clicks” on the unit.
I suggested to my manager to schedule this nurse for a documentation class including me so that she would not feel isolated or intimidated. Finally, the manager reluctantly sent almost half of the unit to the documentation class. As nurses, we are advocates for our patients,and everybody around us, especially when they cannot speak for themselves (Marquis & Huston, 2012). At last my boss admitted that she exhibited a nonprofessional behaviorand she was very sorry about it and thanked me for taking a stand in making unit 3Gold a friendly unit to work. A unit where every nurse work as a team-member, and she thanked me for the advocacy role I displayed.
It is important for the nurse manager to take the responsibility ofencouraging subordinate advocacy,and to make sure that he or she makes the unit a conducive atmosphere. For employees to workin an environment that is safe and favorablefor both professional and personal growth for subordinates (Marquis & Huston, 2012). A major negative outcome of the issue stated above is that the Unit could have become a hostile work environment. The situation would have resulted in the affected nurse quitting her job, and I was also ready to transfer to another unit. Irrespective of the language barrier and the other pertinent issues that this nurse had, she was a meticulous nurse.
She always worked as a team member anddedicated nurse.This is evidenced by the number of compliments she received each time our patient satisfactionsurvey report was reviewed, as well as the compliments from her patients. Strategies to help fulfill the role of an Advocate Accepting diversity and being culturally sensitive arethe motivating factorsenhancing the readiness to be an advocate for someone else. Diversity is the variancesbetweenindividuals or amongpeople from different ethnic backgrounds.
Ethnic sensitivity and consciousnessenhance thereadiness to take a stand and advocate for somebody else especially in this case with my coworker. It has been almost 35 years since I left my Country, Nigeria, and I still speak with some accent. Several characteristics of advocacy and the responsibility to the nursing profession increases the possibility that at some point in time, all nurses as well as managers will be confronted with ethical dilemmas in their practices (Marquis & Huston, 2012).
My motivation is that when I came to this country in the 1990s, I was accommodated and given the chance to make mistakes and learn from them. Adapting to the American system was not an easy one regardless of my prior knowledge of the English language. I was faced with some challenges,but now I can take a stand to advocate for somebody else.
Every nurse has at some point played the role of an advocate,both for his or her patients andsomebody else because as nurses, every so oftenwe seeourselves advocating for the doctors, and the patients. Nurses ought to work together and help each other.Nurses must always work together to meet the standard of care and the ANA Code of Ethics and support the fundamental legalities as we take a closer look into the nurse’s ethical responsibilities and fundamental legalities associated with direct patient care.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2012).
Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott,
Williams & Wilkins.
Perrotto, A., & Grossman, M. B. (2010).
Ten ways to the top. Nursing Management, 41(4), 28–32. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
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