Undertaking the Role of Patient Advocate: A Longitudinal Study of Nursing Students
Nursing Ethics 2003 September; 10(5): 462-471
Patient advocacy has been claimed as a new role for professional nurses and many codes of ethics for nurses state that they act as patient advocates. Nursing education is faced with the challenge of preparing nurses for this role. In this article we describe the results of a study that considered the tendencies of a cohort of nursing students at the Kocaeli University School of Nursing to act as advocates and to respect patients' rights, and how their capacities to do so changed (or not) as a result of their nursing education. This longitudinal study used a questionnaire consisting of 10 statements relating to patient care. It was performed both at the start (1998) and at the end (2002) of the nursing training. At the beginning of their course 77 students participated; in the study. After four years, only 55 students participated, the reason for this drop in number being unknown. The questions asked nurses if patients should have: the right to receive health care; the right to participate in the decision- making process about their treatment; the right always to be told the truth; and the right to have access to their own medical records. They were also asked: if quality of life should be a criterion for discontinuing treatment; if patients have the right to die and the right to refuse treatment; if patients should be assisted to die or helped to undergo active euthanasia; and if severely disabled newborn babies should be allowed to die. The student nurses demonstrated considerable insight into contemporary nursing issues and were ready to act as patient advocates. Professional responsibility demands that good nurses advocate strongly for patients' choices.
Active Euthanasia; Codes of Ethics; Education; Ethics; Euthanasia; Health; Health Care; Life; Medical Records; Nurses; Nursing Education; Nursing Students; Patient Advocacy; Patient Care; Patients; Patients' Rights; Quality of Life; Records; Right to Die; Rights; Students; Education for Health Care Professionals; Patient Relationships;
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