Nurses are many things all wrapped up into one amazing package. But one of the greatest things nurses bring the table of care is their ability to advocate. For most nurses, their days are spent primarily advocating for the patient.
When a patient is in an office seeing a physician or in the hospital for a planned surgery or procedure, or worse, for an unexpected reason, the person they turn to for help more than anyone is the nurse. As a nurse, you are the friendly face, the one checking on them and telling them that they can turn to you if they need help.
But this concept and practice of advocacy reaches beyond the clinical walls. Because of how entrenched you are in the health care field, you have a vision that few others share. Of course, you can use your observation skills and experience to recommend process changes or recommendations within the office or health system you work. But there are times when you responsibility reaches beyond this scope.
The American Nurses Association has a great webpage that details federal legislation information and places where you can make recommendations. Why would you do this? There are a number of reasons:
- You live and breathe health care
- You are already in a position to see where change should happen
- You are tuned in enough to be able to suggest what changes should be made
- Your voice is valued and will be heard
Not everyone will feel compelled to speak up or take action, but when you see an area of improvement, go ahead and say something. Some potential areas where you can have an impact in your office or health system may include: staffing ratios, use of medications, workplace violence (this can mean patient-to-nurse or employee-to-nurse), etc.
You can even look at a career path where you currently work, where you can have an administrative impact if you feel so inclined. If you feel drawn toward this, but your place of work has no immediate opportunities, you may want to expand your net.
Think big and think critically. And then take action to make a difference.
Have you been involved on a legislative level for the nursing career or field of health care? Share your story with our readers. You may just inspire them to action as well.