ADVOCACY: THE HEART OF NURSING
Pp. 116-130 (15)
Kathleen Stephany and Piotr Majkowski
Nursing advocacy entails taking action on behalf of others. The current discussion
promotes advocacy as the driving force of nursing. The ethic of
care relates well to the role of advocacy because it is concerned with taking
responsibility for what happens to us and to other people. Advocacy can occur
in the form of acting as a voice for an individual or by taking action in
support of a larger issue. Both are closely aligned with nursing leadership.
The expectation is that nurses act individually and collectively to eliminate
social inequities. Whistle-blowing is a more drastic form of advocacy and
should only be used as a last resort. A narrative is presented that carefully
demonstrates how in one actual incident, whistle blowing became the only
option left to ensure client safety. The discussion also quite poignantly
points out that, nurses are not likely to advocate for a person or group of
people that they have a bias toward. A review of the literature reveals the
stark truth that nurses, as a general group, harbour stereotypical biases toward
the mentally ill. Affirmative action is recommended to help to end discrimination.
The greatest threat to the nurse who dares to do what they feel
is right, is that of being morally silenced. Nurses are inspired to be as courageous
as possible but to ensure that they are well supported before acting.
The chapter ends with a compelling story of how a newly graduated psychiatric
nurse advocates for her client who cannot speak English and who has
Aboriginal, Whistle-blowing, Stereotypes
Full-Time Faculty in Health Sciences Douglas College, BC Canada.