nursing advocacy

How Nurses Can Advance Their Profession and Patient Care Through Advocacy

Advocacy has long gone hand-in-hand with the nursing profession. Nurses have had to advocate for themselves, their peers, and their patients since the profession's creation back in the 1800s. As federal healthcare laws continue to change and evolve, nurses are often the ones carrying out various healthcare policies as they treat their patients on a daily basis. That means nurses have a unique perspective on the healthcare industry and should be willing to express their needs and concerns whenever appropriate.

If you’re passionate about what you do and believe in fighting for your profession and your patients, learn more about how you can get involved in nursing advocacy.

Why Nurses?

Nurses tend to spend the most time with their patients, carrying out the human side of healthcare. They understand how certain healthcare policies and procedures can directly affect a patient’s life. Nurses may see some individuals lose access to care, struggle to get the medical care they need, or get lost in an overly complicated healthcare system.

Nurses can use these experiences to shine a light on those that may be negatively affected by the healthcare system. They may also find it necessary to advocate for a better work environment by making sure everyone is treated fairly in the workplace, and they’re able to provide care to their patients safely and reliably. Healthcare administrators, doctors, and even elected representatives and politicians may not be aware of these issues unless nurses are willing to bring them to their attention.

What’s at Stake?

Budget restrictions, changes to the Affordable Care Act, and other policy changes may restrict a patient’s access to care. As healthcare providers, nurses have a responsibility to make sure their patients get the care they need and deserve. By not advocating for themselves, nurses also run the risk of encountering unfair working conditions. To provide quality care, nurses shouldn’t feel pressured to overwork themselves or rush through critical healthcare procedures.

How Nurses Can Get Involved

If a nurse wants to become an advocate for themselves, their patients, or the nursing profession in general, they can reach out to the American Nurses Association for more information and support. This organization advocates for nurses and patients on capitol hill. They provide nurses with the tools they need to become leaders in the community, including reaching out to elected officials, organizing local support, and educating themselves on critical issues facing nurses today.

Nurses can get in the habit of calling their local representatives when a piece of legislation comes up for a vote, holding rallies and information seminars in their community, get involved in local boards or councils, or share their experiences with policy makers and committees. Nurses can even take it upon themselves to run for elected office so that they can create change from the inside out.

With long working hours and a demanding job, some nurses may feel that advocacy is beyond their reach, but nurses can express their opinions in all sorts of ways that may not take away from their other responsibilities. Simply talking to their supervisor about a particular patient, posting a personal story on social media, or sharing their concerns with their peers can help advance the nursing profession.

Nurses can have a powerful impact on individual patients, the nursing profession, and public policy by raising their voice and sharing their experiences. Everyone stands to benefit when nurses are willing to talk openly about their concerns and needs on the job. Together, nurses can make the healthcare industry more efficient and effective for all.