The Importance of Advocacy in Nursing Administration

Can you remember a time when someone advocated for you? It may have been a friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger. It’s a good feeling to know that someone has your back.

This mentality is crucial in the healthcare field. The benefits of advocacy in nursing administration and leadership roles are especially far-reaching. Advocacy supports patients, communities, colleagues and leaders themselves.

Effecting Change at the Policy Level

Regarding advocacy on a grander scale, nurses can affect positive change — if they accept the challenge. However, according to an article by Daily Nurse, “to be an effective advocate for change, one must possess the desire, will, time, and energy required to engage in reform at the legislative level.”

Sometimes, these requirements seem out of reach. Can one really impact the way healthcare policies work? This is where nurse leaders have a unique position. As one might say, they’ve “seen everything.”

Daily Nurse explains that “without representation from the nursing leadership in practice, policies cannot be changed. It is the combined knowledge and field experience held by the nursing profession that is needed to influence those who make policies for change to occur.”

Advocacy From the Perspective of Patient and Staff

Of course, advocacy also takes other forms daily. For example, treating patients with respect and honoring their needs is a top priority. If administrators fail to advocate for their patients, they are in jeopardy of breaking their bonds with the patient community.

Similarly, nurse administrators bear the responsibility of advocating for their staff. Continued support ensures nurses under their charge perform at the highest level possible. Nurse leadership of the best kind fosters better care.

Advocacy Strategies

Indeed.com says a nurse who advocates for their patients “may protect their legal rights, help them understand their medical conditions and treatments or numerous other actions that support the patient’s health and safety.”

Some of the top advocacy strategies in nursing include the following:

  • Suggesting relevant resources. If patients require help with a particular condition, administrators should have sufficient knowledge about their medical history to direct them to appropriate resources. Often, this also involves payment plans or social assistance.
  • Educating patients. When administrators actively collaborate with patients, they can better comprehend important information relating to their care. This approach helps patients feel secure in their treatment plan or after their stay at a healthcare facility.
  • Educating nurses. Nurses should always continue to educate themselves on advancements in the healthcare field. Yet, administrators can guide their team members by keeping them abreast of changes and important updates.
  • Informing family members. Nurse administrators must be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families. All family members have the right to know what is going on with their loved ones at every stage.

Improving Leadership

All professionals working on the leadership team should always work to preserve the safety and integrity of the patients they serve. This standard ensures every single patient is cared for during their most vulnerable times.

Additionally, nurse executives and administrators can join forces with well-known associations that strive to uphold the foundations of nursing at its core level. These organizations aim to support nurses currently in the trenches and progress the field as a whole when opportunities arise.

Cultivate Advocacy With a Master’s Degree

Aspiring nurse administrators can cultivate advocacy skills by furthering their careers and earning their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who enroll in the online MSN Nursing Administration program at Radford University will deepen their knowledge and expand their clinical and research abilities.

Students will build on their undergraduate foundation by learning the advocacy strategies that most influence healthcare. The program helps students adopt organizational and system leadership skills that emphasize the importance of professional accountability, ethical decision-making, collaborative relationships and the protection of human dignity and diversity.

For example, the Quality and Safety in Healthcare course covers the basics of safety strategies, theories and methods to improve patient health outcomes. In the Healthcare Systems and Policy course, students explore strategies for policy advocacy and regulatory issues within the healthcare sector.

Each future nurse administrator will obtain the knowledge and skills required to enter influential roles such as chief nursing officer, director of nursing and nursing administrator. In addition, students who wish to get on this path sooner than later can take advantage of the accelerated program — completing the degree in as few as 12 months.

Learn more about Radford University’s online MSN Nursing Administration program.

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