Nurses as Advocates for Patients

Application: Taking a Stand
In Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing, Marquis and Huston discuss
the opportunities-nay, the imperative-for a nurse to advocate on behalf of him- or herself,
others, and the environment. No doubt, at some point in your career, you will encounter an
ethical or moral dilemma that requires you to take a stand and defend your position.
For this Assignment, you evaluate an issue and consider how you could act as a moral
agent or advocate, facilitating the resolution of the issue for a positive outcome.
To prepare:
Consider the examples of leadership demonstrated in this week’s media presentation and
the other Learning Resources.
Mentally survey your work environment, or one with which you are familiar, and identify a
timely issue that requires you to perform the role of moral agent or advocate to improve a
situation (e.g., speaking or acting on behalf of a vulnerable patient, the need for
appropriate staffing, a colleague being treated unfairly).
What are the potential outcomes if you do not execute that role?
What skills, dispositions, and/or strategies would help you to fulfill this role?
Finally, consider the values and principles that guide the nursing profession; the
organization’s mission, vision, and values; the leadership and management competencies
addressed in this course; and your own values and reasons for entering the profession.
What motivation do you see for taking a stand on an important issue even when it is
difficult to do so?
To complete:
Write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:
Describe your role as a moral agent or advocate for a specific issue in your work
environment or an organization with which you are familiar.
Explain one or more negative outcomes that may result if this role is not fulfilled.
Analyze the skills, dispositions, and/or strategies that would help you to fulfill this role.
Explain your motivation for taking a stand even when it is difficult to do so
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

Nurses as Advocates for Patients


The nurses are usually considered the most important medical staff within a hospital or
clinic. This is because patients usually find them trust worthy and can therefore open up to them.
At times, some patients are usually sick mainly because they are stressed about some issues in
their lives; hence by talking to a nurse the patient receives a form of therapy which will fasten
the healing process. The nurses, as leaders, have an obligation to offer protection to their patients
by advocating on their behalf. The HIV/AIDS patients are among the many who suffer the most,
especially if it is only one partner who tested positive. This infected partner is usually despised
by the other and may suffer as a result of the wounds inflicted by the words of the spouse.

The Role of Nurses as Advocates for Patients

According to Marquis and Huston (2012), nurses have a chance to act as advocates by
helping patients make informed decisions, by being present and acting as the intermediary in the
environment or by directly intervening for them. When a patient who is suffering from HIV/
AIDS is probably faced within the hospital environment by the partner who insists on divorce,
the nurse may intervene to protect the patient from further emotional damage. The partner may
be claiming that the infected person was unfaithful. Fortunately, HIV/AIDS is not only
transmitted through unprotected sexual activity but also through infected needles and contact
with infected blood in the case of an accident. This patient may have been faithful but got
infected when involved in an accident.

Nurses as Advocates for Patients 3

The nurse may intervene by offering such information to the couple so as to ensure that
they do not make rush decisions based on false information. In such a situation, the nurse acts
both as an advocate for the patient as well as someone who offers them information about the
medical condition. In this case, if the spouse chooses to ignore these facts and still insists on
throwing insults at the already suffering patient, the nurse can come to the rescue by ensuring
that she is not allowed to see the patient. This protects the patient’s wellbeing.
If the nurse fails to carry out her leadership roles of advocacy, negative factors may result
(Marquis & Huston, 2012). First, the health of the patient may deteriorate because the
environment is not peaceful enough. If the other spouse is allowed to come into the room and
insult the patient, the latter looses the will to live. Second, if the nurse does not encourage the
patient to make good decisions about the situation, more damage may be done. This is because
they usually feel guilty, and one may even attempt to commit suicide.
There are many skills that can help nurses to fulfill their roles of advocacy. First of all,
critical and clinical thinking are very important (Marquis & Huston, 2012). In nursing practice,
there are multiple thinking strategies which are needed for high quality services. Critical thinking
can be described as the purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that makes use of the cognitive
tools including interpretation, analysis, evaluation and many others. Clinical thinking on the
other hand features the analysis of the condition of patients. It involves looking at signs that
show that the condition is getting better or worse.

Nurses as Advocates for Patients 4

There are a few things resulting to the motivation of taking a stand even when it is too
difficult to do so. Nursing feels like a calling to many people. The patients rely much more on
nurses than themselves, when it comes to decision making. This trust in nurses should never be
broken since a number of HIV/AIDS patients who are in hospital are having their last days.
These last days should therefore be comfortable for them.

Nurses as Advocates for Patients 5


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.

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