June 20, 2023

5 Ways for a Nurse to Improve Their Patient Advocacy Skills

Advocating for patients is a big part of nursing. Yet, not every nurse out there understands the true meaning of advocacy and how to put it into practice in the best light for patients. There are lots of things you can do to improve this particular set of skills, and you will be all the better at your job by doing so. 


Actively Learn

In order to be a great advocate, you have to learn what it is. So, what is patient advocacy? If you don’t know, it’s time to educate yourself and get to know all the practices that can be put into place to improve your rapport and patient outcomes. Actively learning is a great way to seek out self-improvement, and having access to skill improvements is something to strive for in a role such as this. 

Find Your Voice

Before you can speak for your patients, you must learn to speak for yourself. You cannot successfully advocate for someone if you don’t manage to stand up for your values and be the change you want to see. This might mean disagreeing with your team or following your gut instinct on a particular patient. Regardless, you have to know what to say and when to say it and not be afraid to take the leap if the time is right. 

Respect Your Patient

Advocating is only appropriate when it is completely consensual. A patient who you speak up for that doesn’t want your help will feel violated, and this is not something you want to be associated with your career. It would also leave you vulnerable to more serious repercussions like lawsuits and losing your job. So, picking your moment is important and creating a wider discussion around why you feel it is important to speak on behalf of a patient. Perhaps they have requested your input, or you feel they are not being treated fairly in some way. Regardless, make it a collaborative thing and the outcome will always be better. 

Practice Mindfulness

You cannot advocate successfully for a patient if your mind is clouded by anger or any other negative emotion. It is phenomenal just how intensely our words and passions are guided by strong feelings. You don’t want to advocate in the wrong way and make a situation worse, so there is a point to being mindful of how you are composing and conducting your affairs. Professionalism and compassion are welcome. 

Verify the Facts

Make sure you know the full picture before you start the advocation process. This way, you will have all the facts and be able to fix the best possible outcome for your particular case. It is vital that you move with what is true as opposed to completely trusting the narrative being fed to you. You are not letting a patient down by verifying the facts, and it will be very helpful. 

Patient advocacy is often important for those who feel as though they have less of a voice than they need. Advocating for better care or interventions comes up a lot, and nurses are put into this role for many reasons.