Speaking up for patients and their wants and needs is one of the best ways you can advocate for those in your care, according to travel nursing agency American Traveler. That is especially true when patient safety and well-being are threatened, according to S.E. Shannon.
American Traveler says that individuals can feel intimidated in the healthcare system. They may not understand their rights or the options available to them. They may also feel apprehensive about voicing these concerns to medical professionals.
It’s your responsibility as a nurse and patient advocate to ascertain the desires of the people you treat and ensure those desires are articulated to others involved in patient care, including doctors, social workers, and other nurses. Lynda Lampert, a Philadelphia-based registered nurse writing for Ausmed, says nurses may also need to speak up for patients when addressing family members and loved ones.
Because of nurses’ close monitoring of patients, Shannon adds, a nurse may see changes in a patient’s health before other members of the healthcare team do. Therefore, it’s your duty as a nurse to address these matters urgently before the patient’s health is further compromised.
Christine Contillo, a registered nurse writing for Working Nurse, stresses that nurses must choose their words carefully, especially when speaking with doctors and around patients and their loved ones. For example, telling a doctor he or she has not ordered enough pain medication challenges the doctor’s authority. Should patients and their loved ones hear this exchange, they may also question the doctor’s competence.
Contillo says speaking with the doctor in private — noting the patient seems uncomfortable and suggesting an alternative pain medication or greater dose — is likely to be more effective.