Nursing Advocacy: An Ethic of Practice
Nursing Ethics. 1995 Mar; 2(1): 11-18.
Advocacy is an important concept in nursing practice; it is frequently used to describe the nurse-client relationship. The term advocacy, however, is subject to ambiguity of interpretation. Such ambiguity was evidenced recently in criticisms levelled at the nursing profession by hospital ethicist Ellen Bernal. She reproached nursing for using 'patient rights advocate' as a viable role for nurses. We maintain that, for nursing, patient advocacy may encompass, but is not limited to, patients rights advocacy. Patient advocacy is not merely the defence of infringements of patient rights. Advocacy for nursing stems from a philosophy of nursing in which nursing practice is the support of an individual to promote his or her own well-being, as understood by that individual. It is an ethic of practice.
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