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The primary requirement of patient advocacy consists of protecting and supporting of patients all nurses. On various occasions, nurses find themselves situations that are in ethically questionable and contradict their professional and personal morals. For nurses to take a stand for their patients it requires them to exhibit a moral courage; for example, when the rights of patients are violated. Nurses may face many barriers as they try to show a moral courage and the organizational culture, which sets the ground on how people should respond to unethical behaviors and colleagues lacking concerns, because they do not have a moral courage to take action. Another barrier is groupthink deciding to look the other way, when unethical behaviors occur, which discourages the independent thinking. Other nurses prefer to redefine unethical actions as acceptable; this is especially demonstrated when a nurse observes a situation, but pretends he or she has not even seen it (Walsh, 2010).
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This calls for the nurse’s effectiveness at work, because affectivity brings power; hence, they show creativity, objectivity and knowledge throughout their practice, regardless of their working environment. For a nurse to fight for the rights of her vulnerable patients, she should be able to execute the power and authority she possesses. The involvement of nursing in politics and power includes using that power to improve the position of both nurses and patients. They use the power with administrators, subordinates and their fellow colleagues. They can also use that power in their professional nursing organizations, legal system and media so that they can work to improve the care given. If nurse fails to exert a political pressure, especially on health policy makers, she can lose ground to politically active nurses. It is unrealistic to have a belief that other stakeholders will care for nurses and the competition for initial health care resources. This is what strengthens them giving them the role of being an advocate. Being a patient advocate, the role of a nurse is to see that patient is treated according and he or she comes in when his or her patient rights are compromised. At this situation the nurse plays the role of advocae. For example if the patient does not have amount of money needed by the hospital to complete a dosage which is very important for her or his health the nurse come in as an advocate because he or she is aware of the patients situation and again the importance of the drugs she or he is supposed to take. If a nurse does not fulfill the role means that the patient rights will be compromised because there is no one to fight for them and also means this can lead to serious circumstances like death (Chiarella & Mclnnes, 2008).
For a nurse to be a good advocate or moral agent him or her should poses skills like sense of ownership in their problems when serving their patients. When nurses blame professionals, like administrators, physicians or politicians, in case of failures of the health services delivery system, or when they are waiting upon others to improve the system, nurses weaken their power base and position. This is demonstrated historically in that some stakeholders never support nursing as a profession and never acknowledge the role of nurses. He or she should be in possession of strong political character so that she can be able to convince the professionals who are supposed to handle the case.
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The strategies to be used are like; exploiting personal power, which can be acquired by finding and working with a career mentor, finding and maintaining good sources of professional, personal and organizational power and introducing herself to the power holder. The professional power acquired by collaborating with administrators and other medical and nursing practitioners and health care workers, who are involved in the care of her patient, is also significant. She should join the professional nurses’ organization, monitor and improve the patient care quality and continue her education through certifications, conferences and higher education (Schaffner, 2009).
The strategies to be used in organizational power is for a nurse to get involved beyond the initial direct patient care in volunteering for committee assignments, especially those that will bring a challenge for one to desire to learn and experience more. When being involved in committees, one shouuld think of what the committee is trying to do, how it impacts the nursing practice, colleagues, patients, the organizational unit and the whole organization. A nurse should be ready to share the appropriate knowledge with others, who will implement it practically after having put the value on it. One should be politically involved with the health care from the local, state and national level. All this demonstrates that leadership skills help nurses to fulfill their roles as moral agents or advocates. It also assists them in being able to analyze situations, thinking critically and using their skills and strategies to solve problems of patients or colleagues (Schaffner, 2009).
According to Walsh (2010), nursing is complex, because in trying to act as moral agents or advocates, nurses often find themselves in terms of their profession in a dilemma situation. This causes a moral distress in most nurses, which is an emotional response to the ethical dilemma. For this reason, many nurses quit their jobs and join other professions, where there is less pressure. On the contrary, there are those, who take vows to stay loyal to serving patients, regardless of difficulties that may arise during their practices. What motivates nurses to take their stands in their service for patients is the strong power they possess within themselves, the power to do what is right and the patient advocacy, which requires them to fight for the rights of patients even when there are barriers ahead The skills acquired in their training and work with addition of political power also motivate nurses to do what they do best. The political power can change the mind of administrators and shareholders such that they seek the contribution of nurses in decision-making (Marquis & Huston, 2012).
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In conclusion, the effective leadership can change situations. Leadership means having power to control situations and making effective decisions in any field. For a nurse to perform his or her duties accordingly, he or she must possess the power and authority to overcome every barrier that emerges on the way of delivering services to patients. This creates a favorable environment for a nurse to do his or her work without much difficulty.
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