As a patient advocate, a nurse is charged with the responsibility to ensure that all rights of the patient are not violated at any instance, the patient’s medications are administered at the appropriate time and all the benefits he/she is entitled to as a patient are guaranteed at all times. This is the role I was forced to undertake when I was on duty and a patient who had been involved in a road accident was brought to the hospital. The man had fallen from the roof of his house where he carrying out a repair exercise and bruised lungs, fractured clavicle and fractured ribs; he was experiencing difficulty in breathing. The man was just newly married and had a young wife who was actually confused by the undertakings and could not provide any necessary assistance. The patient was fixed on a rot-bed and his airway was kept open by inserting a tube in his throat. The patient was also drugged to keep his body motionless and stayed on this condition for a month. I thought the patient needed quick recovery and I could use my influence as a nurse to assist the young wife in advocating for the patient’s right.
As a nurse, I introduced the wife to the treatment team and explained to them her situation and inexperience on such circumstances. I requested a more dynamic roto-bed from the chief of the trauma centre in order to accelerate the healing process of this particular patient. I requested the treatment team to keep the wife up to date of the patient’s progress. I advised the patient’s wife to request for transfer of her husband from the medical center to a rehabilitation center to quicken recovery process.
My efforts were successful and the patient recovered faster than anticipated and the wife was really appreciative. I have been an advocate at the local community where I come from by ensuring that people of old age are taken care centers instead of leaving them to suffer on their own. Reading information in this model has strengthened my belief that nurses should advocate for the patients and their relationship with their patients should be a priority and not an option.
My community is currently facing lifestyle diseases among the old age members. Unfortunately most of these people were not well educated despite the fact that they served as workers in the informal sector such as mining. They are eligible to pension but most of them do not know about this right. They are also eligible to social security benefit but most of them did not bother to write a will. They are unable to finance their medical bills and are suffering in silence.
As a patient advocate, I always use social platforms to educate the old age members of their pension and social security that they are entitled. I inform them of the benefits of making claims to such funds. They should lack health services because of lack of money while they have money lying somewhere untouched without their knowledge.
I have proposed solutions to these problems and some of them have proved to be practical. I always refer my old age patients who are unable to pay for their medical services to seek their pension benefits. I refer them to a financial advisor, who helps them to invest their benefits to get stable cash flow in order to pay for their medical services. In this way the patients are not only able to pay for their medical bills but they can comfortably support their family members.
It is important to note that the health care system does not offer charity services. Patients are therefore expected to pay for their medical bills in the course of the treatment exercise. In as much as a nurse would want to advocate for the patient, there are times when he/she clashes with the health care system and in that case, it would be advisable to seek for alternative solutions outside the healthcare system as I have proposed above.
Cole, C., Wellard, S., & Mummery, J. (2014). Problematising autonomy and advocacy in nursing. Nursing ethics, 0969733013511362.
Rasmussen, L. M. (2012). Patient advocacy in clinical ethics consultation. The American Journal of Bioethics, 12(8), 1-9.