What Strategies Might A Professional Nurse Use In His/Her Work Environment To Advocate For Implementation Of Nursing Theory As A Framework For Quality Practice
Every nurse has the opportunity to positively impact the profession by advocating for nurses and the nursing profession daily. The author defines advocacy in this article, describes advocacy skills that every nurse can use to support a safe and healthy work environment, and explains how nurses can advocate for nursing as part of their daily activities, whether they are point-of-care nurses, nurse managers, or nurse educators. The advocacy practices discussed apply whether advocating for oneself, colleagues at the unit level, or issues at the organizational or system level.
Advocacy frequently necessitates working through formal decision-making bodies to achieve the desired outcome.
Advocacy is the act or process of promoting a cause or proposal. An advocate pleads, defends, or supports another person’s motivation or interest. Much advocacy literature is produced by non-profit and special interest groups that train potential advocates to influence public policy. These organizations’ strategies apply to nurses and the nursing profession as well.
While most nurses readily accept the mandate of the professional nurse’s advocacy role about patients, the expectation for advocacy on behalf of colleagues, the profession, or even oneself may not be as straightforward or consistent. The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) foundational documents, including the Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice (2010) and the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretative Statements (Code of Ethics), describe the nurse’s professional responsibilities to collaborate with colleagues to promote safe practice environments (2001). The ANA Scope and Standards of Practice identify advocacy for safe, effective practice environments as a professional nurse’s responsibility (ANA, 2010). The Code of Ethics states that the nurse must work through appropriate channels to address concerns about the healthcare environment. Furthermore, the Code of Ethics identifies various advocacy skills and activities nurses are expected to engage in. These activities promote the profession and serve as the foundation for the professional nurse’s advocacy role. Service to the work includes teaching, mentoring, peer review, participation in professional associations, community service, and knowledge development/dissemination (ANA, 2001). These activities and skills are the foundation for the professional nurse’s advocacy role.