Nurses as Health Advocates

This is a discussion post for Policy and Advocacy for Improving Population Health.
Review the two articles for this paper.

Nurses as Health Advocates

Health needs of veterans
Nurses play a critical role in health centers by caring for the approximately 22 million
veterans as well as the 3 million reserve members. This population is diverse as it entails frail,
elderly veterans who have served in Iraq, Korea, and Afghanistan. Several veterans are returning
home in need of healthcare services. One of the health needs that these veterans require is
management of the physical wounds that they have acquired during war (Jackonis, Deyton &
Hess, 2008). The also require mental care since most of them suffer from posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) which makes some of them violent or even scared once they are exposed to
similar scenarios they went through in the field. The veterans’ family members should also be
accorded support majorly because when one of their loved ones has been called to serve, his/her
family is affected. Moreover, family dynamics undergo significant changes from the time of
deployment of the veteran and adapting once he is back home is quite difficult and stressful
process for every family member.
How to advocate for veterans
One of the ways of advocating for veterans is by ensuring that they receive timely,
compassionate, and appropriate care once they visit the health center. Moreover, I can advocate

NURSES AS HEALTH ADVOCATES 2
for these individuals by ensuring that they know and understand their rights as veterans. I will
therefore remind them of these rights and even post them in the outpatient or inpatient areas
where they visit frequently. For the homeless, I will endeavor to understand why they are
homeless and then help them by forwarding their names to The Department of Veterans Affairs
and ensure that they are given a permanent residence.
Advocating skills
While advocating for the veterans, I intend to make use of my communication skills.
Begley, (2010) points out that communication is one of the important pillars in nursing practice.
With communication, I will engage the veterans effectively and know what they are going
through. I will also use these skills when approaching various stakeholders who will provide
solutions to the veterans. I can develop the communication skills by ensuring that I use the right
body language when talking to the veterans, I maintain eye contact during discussions, and I use
the right tone and show compassion when talking to them.
Roles of a nurse as an advocate
As an advocate, a nurse is charged with the responsibility of protecting the patients’
rights (Albina, 2016). For instance, it is a nurse’s responsibility to find out what the patient needs
when s/he is sick. The advocates also liaison with between the doctors and patients by helping
the patient understand their diagnosis and ensure patient centered care is observed (Choi, 2015).
Since patients have different choices and preferences, it is the role of a nurse advocate to suggest
alternative treatments for the patient to ensure that he/she is satisfied.

NURSES AS HEALTH ADVOCATES 3

References

Albina, J. K. (2016). Patient abuse in the health care setting: The nurse as patient advocate.
AORN journal, 103(1), 73-81.
Begley, A. M. (2010). On being a good nurse: reflections on the past and preparing for the
future. International journal of nursing practice, 16(6), 525-532.
Choi, P. P. (2015). Patient advocacy: the role of the nurse. Nursing Standard, 29(41), 52-58.
Jackonis, M. J., Deyton, L., & Hess, W. J. (2008). War, its aftermath, and US health policy:
toward a comprehensive health program for America’s military personnel, veterans, and
their families.

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