Advocacy Strategies for Change
Apart from providing care to patients, a core role for nurses is to act as advocates for practices that ensure effective care delivery. Nursing advocacy may involve issues such as appropriate nurse staffing, patients’ rights, work conditions and organizational procedures. As Tomajan (2012) observes, advocacy envisages the role of the nurse to “work on behalf of self and/or others to raise awareness of [an issue of] concern and to promote solutions to the issue” (para. 5). As such, nurses need to have the knowledge on how they can influence others to bring about desired change in their workplaces.
As a nurse, one of the strategies I would use to create change in my current workplace is through membership in and involvement in activities of professional nursing organizations. As noted by Green and Jordan (2004) the professional organizations can influence change at the policy level, for example leading to legislation that determine nurse staffing in health care facilities. As such, being part of these organizations helps to build a critical mass that can provide the pressure needed for policy changes on issues that affect nursing practice.
Apart from using professional organizations, I can use my current organization’s framework to encourage participative decision-making. This would involve supporting the inclusion of nurses in the core committees of the organization that formulate the entity’s policies and procedures on patient care (Weston, 2010). Such involvement would help nurses to influence policies to create a work environment that supports nursing practice. Another strategy I would use is to encourage training of nurses to build their competence in decision-making. Building such competence, as Weston (2010) observes, helps the nurses assume more autonomy even where they are needed to make unit or organizational decisions that go beyond clinical care decisions.
A nurse can use various strategies to meet his or her role as an advocate for nursing profession and practice. Among these strategies, to create change in the organization, involvement in activities of professional organizations can help influence change by encouraging formulation of legislation that promotes better working conditions. Further, by encouraging participative decision making where nurses are included in committees that determine patient care practices and training nurses to gain decision-making skills can help create nurse-led changes throughout the organization.
Green, A., & Jordan, C. (2004). Common denominators: Shared governance and work place advocacy – Strategies for nurses to gain control over their practice. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 9(1), http://gm6.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume92004/No1Jan04/SharedGovernanceandWorkPlaceAdvocacy.html
Tomajan, K. (2012, Jan). Advocating for nurses and nursing. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17 (1), retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-17-2012/No1-Jan-2012/Advocating-for-Nurses.html
Weston, M. J. (2010). Strategies for enhance autonomy and control over nursing practice. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 15, retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol152010/No1Jan2010/Enhancing-Autonomy-and-Control-and-Practice.html
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