If you are not satisfied with your treatment procedures or finding infringement of your rights by the health care professionals during nursing process, who can advocate in your favor? It is the responsibility of the Nurse Advocate to speak on behalf of the patient, if he/she finds the patient is not fully satisfied with the care procedure or patient is not getting the competent cares.
Basically, advocacy plays important role in the nursing practice and relates to patient-client relationship. Patient advocacy can be termed as Ethic of Practice. It not only encompasses the defense of the breach of the patient’s rights but also covers the respect of the patient’s right in support of the promotion of the his/her well being and better promotion of health care.
The primary responsibility of the Nurse Advocate is to minimize the differences that may arise between the patient and system and work toward achieving best outcome for the treatments offered to the patient.
Nurse Advocate Duties
Nurse Advocate works as a liaison between the patient and the health care system including health care provider, where they advocate on behalf of the patient for improved and qualitative cares for the patients. They are always on alert to see that the patient continues receiving the safe and competent cares.
They also counsel and advice patients, and assist them in taking the best decision regarding their health. They carry out these functions by informing about their illness, cares offered, make them wise on diagnosis and update them about the all possible alternative treatments available to them.
Although, it is common that nurses takes orders from physicians, specialists or other qualified health care professionals but it becomes their responsibility to put forward the well being of the patient and speak on their behalf when they find the health care process for patient is not up to the mark, where the patient is not satisfied, when the order conflicts with the interest of the patient or there is infringement in the rights of the patient. In such cases the Nurse Advocate apprises the doctors or any other professional related to the treatment about the feeling of the patient, their own assumptions or lack of proper treatment.
But, performing the role of advocacy is also difficult for patient as well as Nurse Advocate because, in the first case the patient is scared to announce his/her feelings about the performance of the doctors thinking it may annoy the physician offering the cares and for nurses, it becomes difficult to speak against the system or doctors because such actions may result in ill repercussion in their employment.
It must be understood that the patients have right to speak out their feelings and nurses must respect the right of the patient and put forward their opinion on behalf of the patient.
The initial step that is required for becoming a Nurse Advocate includes the possession of the registered nurse credential by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Though, there is no official certification but Healthcare Liaison, Inc. offers a Certified Healthcare Advocate program that can get you certified. The program provides knowledge and trainings on discharge planning, medicine, nursing advocacy, insurance, research, cross-cultural issues, communication, end of life decision-making and patient education. The nurses can also attend RN Patient Advocates, PLLC, offered Registered Nurse Patient Advocate course for the independent RN Patient Advocate certification.
The average salary of Nurse Advocate is around $63,000 or more annually depending upon the job location, experience, size & type of the facility, experience and others.