The Concept of Advocacy in Nursing

Advocacy is often considered the essence of the nursing profession. In a general sense, advocacy is defined as protecting and promoting other’s interests. Nurses play a role of intermediaries, linking patients with other healthcare professionals; therefore, they need to advocate for both sides. This paper will discuss how a doctorally prepared advanced practice nurse advocate for patients as well as the nursing profession, the symbolic connection between these two goals, and how advocacy was advanced during the last half-century.

Nurses serve as mediators between patients and the health care system. Patients need nursing care when they are “debilitated by illness or injury … which compromises their self-determination” (Kalaitzidis & Jewell, 2020, pp. 77-78). Thus, a nurse needs to recognize the patient’s problems and forward them to other healthcare specialists. If patients are unable to express their requirements, nurses’ responsibility is to help them, with primary attention to their interests, quality, and safety.

On the other hand, nurses need to advocate their profession as well. As Kerley and Toney-Butler (2020) argue, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has negatively influenced nurses’ workload, increasing patient-to-nurse ratio and high personnel turnover. In this situation, advocacy of nursing profession is important in no smaller degree than protecting patients’ interests, as “the overall well-being of the bedside clinician can have a direct effect on the quality and safety of patient care” (Kerley & Toney-Butler. 2020, para. 2). Thus, advocacy for patients and the nursing profession is interconnected, having the same goal of increasing patient quality and safety.

The concept of patient advocacy has developed during the past half-century. It emerged in the 1960th as a part of a general movement for the protection of individual autonomy and self-determination (Water et al., 2016). Shortly after that, an idea of patient-centered care, where patients can participate in the treatment process and make decisions, has been developed. Now, patient-centered care is the general approach in health care, raising the importance of patient advocacy.

In summary, nurses simultaneously serve as advocates for patients and their profession. This fact demonstrates the importance of their work in an entire healthcare system. The concept of patient-centered care determines their primary concern, which is quality and safety based on personal patient requirements. However, to achieve this, nurse professionals’ interests should also be advocated to ensure their ability to provide the highest level of service.


Kalaitzidis, E., & Jewell, P. (2020). The concept of advocacy in nursing. The Health Care Manager, 39(2), 77–84. Web.

Kerley, L., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2020). Nursing Advocacy [StatPearls Publishing]. Web.

Water, T., Ford, K., Spence, D., & Rasmussen, S. (2016). Patient advocacy by nurses – past, present and future. Contemporary Nurse, 52(6), 696–709. Web.

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Demographic Information for Cummings et al. (2002)’s Review

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