In nursing, there are situations warranting the summoning of a nurse to provide evidence regarding cases arising from their practice as required by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) code, this is advocacy in nursing (Hewitt, 2001). This concept is rather new in the field of nursing and thus the empirical evidence supporting it is meager. This position is supported by both Branch (1985) and Booth (1991) who noted that ‘the existing empirical evidence that does exist targets particular specialists groups such as those with mental health problems and learning disabilities’ (cited in Hewitt, 2001). Overall, different authors use different lines of arguments to argue issues that warrant advocacy in nursing. One such issue is the balance of power between the patient and the healthcare providers. While a side of the debate uses the vulnerability of the patient as the reason for advocacy, others reckon that the patient is not as vulnerable as they argued (Hewitt, 2001). In effect, this expose elucidates arguments put by either side of the debate and their viewpoint.According to research by Nordgren and Fridlun (2001), patients considered participation as an important basis for their care. On the other hand, the field of medicine has been found to be restrictive to the participation of patients for their own care (Hewitt, 2001). In this regard, patient participation in decisions about their health in the past necessitated the need for advocacy in nursing. One reason for the lack of patients’ participation arose from the failure of health practitioners to practice pro-participatory attitudes though they knew of their importance. In addition, some patients lacked the knowledge that participating in their care and treatment was crucial (Florin, Ehrenberg and Ehnfors, 2008). Therefore, authors often use these arguments to underline the factors that necessitated advocacy in nursing.On the other hand, the second group advances that the modern patient is more knowledgeable and understands their right to participate in their care (Hewitt, 2001).
Hewitt, J., 2001. A critical review of the arguments debating the role of the nurse advocate. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(5), pp439-445.
Van de Bovenkamp, H. M., Trappenburg, M. J. and Grit, K. J., 2009. Patient participation in collective healthcare decision making: the Dutch model. Health Expectations, pp1-13.
Florin, J., Ehrenberg, A. and Ehnfors, M., 2008. Clinical decision-making: predictors of patient participation in nursing care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17(21), pp935–2944.
Nordgren, S. and Fridlund, B. (2001), Patients’ perceptions of self-determination as expressed in the context of care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 35, pp117–125.
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