Nurses as Advocates and Activists

In the framework of community-focused nursing, professionals are expected to maintain a range of different roles. One of them is a role of an advocate and activist. Here, one is expected to be very attentive and sensible to the healthcare needs of the population and be aware of all available community resources as well as the way to access them. Political activism is a part of the nurse’s role of advocate. One is to be able to consider what interventions are needed on local, state, and national levels and should be able to develop a way to achieve them. Thus, it is significant for a nurse to successfully communicate in a professional manner and coordinate appropriate services.

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A nurse should be persistent to act on behalf of one’s patient or the whole community. Only in this way, a professional will be able to initiate needed changes and make a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable populations. Getting involved in the policy arena, nurses interact with officials and representatives of the government. They also cooperate with public and private organizations to ensure that additional services and required resources are available to diverse populations.

Along with legislators and policy makers, they speak for those who have special needs and support associated federal and state initiatives. In some cases, nurses are expected to testify against elected officials, as they are to focus on their clients. However, it critical to take into consideration the fact that activism does not mean that a nurse is willing to make a person dependent. In fact, it shows that professionals do their best to teach people and assist them in coping with concerns (Black, 2016).

Cases of Barbara Howe and Terri Schiavo

As a nurse who maintains a role of advocate and activist, I would focus on the conflict that occurred between the hospital and Howe’s family. While previously a lot of situations were observed when families wanted to stop their relative’s sufferings were opposite to the hospitals’ desire to keep a patient living, the recent case of Barbara Howe revealed a different situation. Such tendency proves that it is not possible to provide a universal solution for such an issue.

Thus, I would consider the necessity to develop a special guideline that should be followed. First of all, as a nurse, I would advocate for the patient’s desires but not for her family or healthcare providers. Thus, I would pay the attention of authorities to the fact that she wanted to enjoy and respond to her relatives. Thus, I would ask for an additional assessment that would reveal whether Barbara is still able to do these things. On its basis, I would then support one of the sides of this conflict.

I would act in a similar way with the case of Terri Schiavo. As a nurse, I would focus on my patient and the things that would be better for her, but not for the parties involved in the conflict. Being aware of the fact that she is already in a vegetative state, I would require additional assessment maintained by an independent body to find out if her condition worsens or there is an opportunity to improve it (Patel & Rushefsky, 2014).

As no additional information regarding her own personal desire to be kept alive or no is provided, I would base my decision on the results of the assessment. Thus, I would ask the officials to do what is better for my client regardless of those problems that deal with inheritance because I believe that financial issues should be discussed separately between Terri’s parents and her husband.

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Black, B. (2016). Professional nursing. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

Patel, ‎K., & Rushefsky, M. (2014). Healthcare politics and policy in America. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

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