The Nurse as Patient Advocate?
The need to act as an advocate for the patient, as an important part of the nurse’s role in the 21st Century, appears to be taken for granted; this is especially the case in the nursing literature, and in the British, Irish and international nurseing practice contexts. However while some nurse scholars, nursing registration bodies, professional organisations, and many practising nurses seem quite happy with the rhetoric of ‘nurse as patient advocate’ this is not an uncontroversial stance. A number of authors have challenged both the basis for the claim that nurses should be patient advocates, and the possibility of such a role for nurses.
Given that claims to the advocacy role for nurses are continuing to appear both in our literature and in our codes of practice it seems relevant to ask what the notion of nurse advocacy means, and what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of claims for and against an advocacy role for nurses.
KeywordsAdvocacy Nurse advocacy Nursing role Codes of practice Patient advocate
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