Yes – that’s you. Yes – that’s me. Yes- that’s anyone who is a nurse.
Patient advocacy is not easy. There are always sensitive subjects that need to be addressed, as well as difficult decisions that need to be made when it comes to the delivery of care of our patients. As nurses we have a unique perspective on our patients’ experiences.
As a nurse you see first hand how the patient acts and reacts to what is happening to them and for them. At the bedside we get a first-person view of when, where, how and what exactly is happening – and in most instances we get to see it as it happens.
We are there when the patient is having a difficult time, we are there when the patient reaches out, we are there when the patient accomplishes their goal or goals, we are their when the families need help.
We are there.
As a member of the health care team we also gain the knowledge and education of ‘why’. Our education as a nurse, our experience with the physicians, and our communication and coordination with the ancillary and tertiary services assists us in helping provide the very best care for our patients.
We get to see the overall process from both sides of the equation – the patient and the totality of their care.
So it’s no surprise when disagreements and questions arise that we are the ones called upon to help ‘iron out the wrinkles’. We are the ones who help clarify, quantify and ensure that advocacy is not lost. It’s our job to help the patient and/or the family better understand what is happening, what can happen, what will happen, and what needs to happen. It’s our job to clarify the patient’s wants, needs and challenges to the health care team so that they can improve on and deliver the best care for the patient. It’s also our job to make every attempt to keep everyone involved on the ‘same page’. In the end it’s all about the PATIENT.
It’s the patient who must endure the treatments, the medication, the office visits, and the rigorous plan of care. It’s the patient’s life at stake, not the family’s. It’s the patient’s quality of life in question, not the health care team.
Maybe ‘Facilitator’ is a better description than ‘Negotiator’? Many times the message intended gets lost in translation between the health care team and the patient.We are there to bridge the gap between delivery and understanding.
It’s our job to speak for our patients. Even when they can’t, don’t want, or don’t know how to speak for themselves.
In the end, it’s all about the patient.