Ethical standards are essential in all employment settings. Consequently, nurses should be conversant with nursing codes and ethics. Additionally, nurses need to be familiar with acceptable ethical standards in caregiving (Walsh, 2010). This would enable nurses to provide quality services to patients. Additionally, it would enable nurses to work within an acceptable ethical framework. Usually, nurses cooperate with colleagues to provide efficient services to patients.
Nurses also work to observe professional ethics in employment settings. Moreover, nurses work to forge close relationships with patients. This paper will explore professional ethics as outlined in nursing ethics. Additionally, the paper will examine the role of nurses as moral agents in healthcare settings. Furthermore, the paper will explore the need to take a stand in healthcare settings.
Role as an advocate
As the director of nursing in a small healthcare facility, I am responsible for providing the best care to patients. Astonishingly, one of the patients in the organization faced neglect. Her family members mistreated her. She suffered from bedsores without close attention from the family. The patient was bedridden for a long period to an extent that she developed more sores. She suffered greatly at the hands of her family members. The family exploited her in many ways.
For instance, the family utilized her cash without consent. Additionally, the family utilized her money on issues not related to medical needs. Surprisingly, the family could not feed her yet they squandered the cash. The patient became weaker than before. The patient’s medical condition worsened. I had the right to step in and help this patient. I ensured that her report reached the adult protection agency despite its potential repercussions to the organization. Eventually, the agency took the patient away from the family; this helped the patient because it improved her condition.
Negative Outcomes if the role is unfulfilled
Several repercussions result from unfulfilled roles in healthcare faculties. Particularly, these repercussions can affect three groups namely, organization, patient, and healthcare professional (Fagerström, 2009). For instance, patients can suffer from avoidable diseases if healthcare professionals neglect them. Additionally, patients can incur heavy losses in increased expenditure due to neglect. Furthermore, patients can act as bad emissaries of the organization if they feel that the organization neglects them.
In some cases, unfulfilled roles can lead to patient death. Repercussions to the organization can be severe. For instance, the hospital may suffer the consequences of providing poor services. This can result in the closure of the organization. Furthermore, since most healthcare facilities seek competitive advantage, the organization’s brand usually suffers severe damage when professionals do not fulfill their roles as advocates for patients. On the other hand, professionals can have their careers terminated if they neglect their roles.
Additionally, the relationship between healthcare professionals and patients can be derisory if the former neglect their roles as advocates for the latter. In essence, severe consequences are likely to occur when healthcare professionals neglect their roles as patient advocates (Marquis & Huston, 2012).
Skills and Strategies that help to fulfill the role
To act as patient advocates, nurses need to possess leadership skills. Leadership skills required for advocacy include courage, humility, integrity, compassion, justice, and virtue ethics, among others (Ridenour & Trautman, 2009). In addition, patient advocates (nurses and caregivers, among other healthcare professionals) need to be proactive in fulfilling their roles.
Nurses also need to be kind to their patients to enable the patients to open up to them. Some patients are so secretive that it would require a courteous nurse to understand them. Patient advocates need to be courteous, kind, and friendly to the patients they serve. Moreover, patient advocates should be accommodating to access patients from different cultures (Schaffner, 2009).
Motivation for taking a stand
Virtue ethics is an important motivational factor that drives nurses to advocate for patients. Fulfilling nursing roles and ethical standards motivates nurses to advocate for their patients. Additionally, self-satisfaction is a motivation for nurses when they advocate for patients. Each day in a nurse’s calendar is distinct since the nurse tries to achieve his/her goals daily.
Therefore, when a nurse fulfills his/her role of advocacy, he/she gets satisfaction from the outcome, which propels him/her to keep fighting for the rights of patients. Taking a stand is, therefore, obligatory on the part of patient advocates. Moreover, the need to fight for justice and integrity also motivates nurses to take a stand on some issues (Perrotto & Grossman, 2010).
The nursing career requires sacrifice on the part of caregivers. Nurses who plan to advocate for patients must possess leadership skills to succeed. Additionally, nurses who pose as patient advocates must be accommodating to the patients irrespective of their backgrounds. Patient advocates must have the courage to take a stand even when the conditions are difficult.
Patient advocates must place the needs of patients above themselves. Advocacy is quite difficult since it can bring one against his/her employers. Therefore, taking a stand is very important in the life of a patient advocate. Nurses should also develop trust with patients to become good advocators.
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Marquis, L. & Huston, J. (2012). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
Perrotto, A. & Grossman, M. (2010). Ten Ways to the Top. Nursing Management, 41(4), 28-32.
Ridenour, N. & Trautman, D. (2009). A primer for nurses on advancing health reform policy. Journal of Professional Nursing, 25, 358-362. Web.
Schaffner, J. (2009). Roadmap for Success: The 10-Step Nursing Strategic Plan. Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(4), 152-155.
Walsh, A. (2010). Pulling the Heartstrings, Arguing the Case: A Narrative Response to the Issue of Moral Agency in Moral Distress. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(1), 746-749.