This paper aims at discussing the various roles that define advocacy, factors that influence advocacy, and factors that hinder advocacy in the nursing profession. Roles that Define Advocacy Advocacy is part of the requirement for nurses to act safely when performing their normal duties. However, there has been an ongoing debate on the issue of advocacy and this illustrates that it is important to define the term before drawing conclusions. According to the Royal College of Nursing (1990), advocacy refers to the process of taking actions on behalf of an individual who is unable to make such actions by themselves (Hanks, 2008). The other definition derived from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary is that advocacy involves pleading for another person. The two definitions have a common idea and that is, nursing have a genuine desire to care for patients who are in a vulnerable position. This implies that nurses should always take actions in the best interests of their patients. Literature information on nursing advocacy indicates that the concept traces its origin back to 1970s when it was first introduced. The concept was later on recognized as part of the nursing profession in 1980s. During this time, nurses were considered for the role of advocacy because they spent most of their time in direct contact with patients. When an individual falls sick, the sickness often makes it difficult for such people to take actions on their own. This creates a situation whereby they require someone to assist them in doing a number of things that they are unable to perform independently. Therefore, such sick people become dependent on other individuals. It is in this case that a nurse becomes an advocate and this requires that they get knowledge in a number of areas in order to perform their roles effectively. Nursing has become the heart and soul of the nursing profession. The most important role that defines advocacy in the nursing profession is the role of taking care of patients. Nurses play the role of looking after the well being of patients. For instance, they remind a doctor about changes in medication or calling the attention of the doctor that a patient is not ready for discharge (Quallich, 2010). According to research studies, there are three core values that define the basis for nursing advocacy including preservation of human dignity, patient equality, and freedom from suffering. Preservation of human dignity is what brings out the role of respect in defining advocacy. Every individual has the right to be treated with honor and respect (Mahlin, 2010). In cases of illness, most of the patients and members of their families are often in a state of confusion. This requires a caregiver that can assist them navigate through unfamiliar parts of the healthcare system including interpretation of tests and the provision of emotional as well as physical support. Cultural and ethnic beliefs of a patient play an integral role in influencing the comfort levels of patients and therefore nurses should respect them. The nurses should also be considerate to the private issues that relate to the patient. Freedom from suffering involves the nurses having the conviction for the welfare of the patient. Research studies indicate that majority of nurses pursue a career in nursing because of their desire to help others. From the patient’s perspective, helping prevent pain or suffering is the most important aspect of care. Nurses can only achieve their goal of helping others if only they consider the welfare of patients their top priority. Equality requires that
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