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Nurse Advocate

Although health care is often complex, fast-paced and filled with medical jargon that no one other than health care professionals understand, the center of every health care profession boils down to caring for the patient. Nurse advocates strive to remind health care professionals of their duties to the patient, utilizing the ethics that make up the core of nursing practices. For example, they may refuse to allow a physician to perform a blood transfusion to patients whose religious or cultural background prohibits such treatments and suggest alternative treatments that are in line with the patient’s wishes. Their primary goal is to protect the rights of the patient while still providing quality health care.

Nurses looking to become advocates for patient rights do not require special training other than to become licensed to practice nursing. To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), one needs to complete a nursing training program and successfully complete the NCLEX-PN examination. To become a registered nurse (RN), one can either complete a diploma program from a nursing school, an associate degree program in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Afterwards, graduates of the programs must pass the NCLEX-RN examination to gain licensure to practice. Many nurse advocates simply join with nurse and patient advocacy organizations after becoming licensed nurses. These organizations include Campaign for Nursing and the California Nurses Association.

Nursing is already a highly rewarding and well-respected calling. These professionals have the amazing opportunity to help improve the quality of life for many patients and are often seen as the true angels of health care. Nurses working to uphold patient advocacy are no exception to this positive view as they strive to remain free from the politics and business of health care and focus primarily on the interests and health of the patient. It can be intimidating for nurses to stand up to physicians or other health care professionals, but many nurses have found the courage and strength to stand by their patients’ side by joining with other nurses through campaigns, support groups, and organizations.