Instructions: Response must be at least 150 words written in current APA format with at least one academic reference cited. References must be within the last five years. Response must refute/correct or add additional nuance.
Nurses have kept the number one position as the most ethical and honest profession for a running streak of 19 years. (Gaines, 2021) When nurses go into the profession, they make a commitment to take care of patients and they tend to put their patients’ needs first rather than the interests of insurance companies. Nurses care about patient’s rights and try to protect patient privacy by following HIPAA regulations. One of the most important aspects of nursing is advocacy for both patients and families. Advocacy can mean different things from political advocacy, community advocacy or simple nursing actions every day in clinical care that support patient and families.
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Patient safety is a main contributor to patient advocacy as it contributes to promoting safe clinical practice. Patient advocacy in the clinical setting focuses on patient needs which include having sufficient medical supplies to provide care and focusing on health conditions. Patient advocacy can be described as a situation where a nurse says something or does something to protect the rights and to avoid harm being done to a patient. This couldn’t be truer in an operating room setting. Patients are completely asleep and depend on the healthcare staff to always take care of them. Operating room nurses take the patient advocacy role particularly more seriously as patients depend on us when they cannot defend themselves.
In the operating room setting, patients are under general anesthesia or sedated to be able to perform surgical procedures. Nurses play a critical role in the operating room setting to protect patients and advocate for them. (Sundqvist, 2017). One of the things that allow for patient advocacy in the operating room is the time out process. The time out process is where the entire staff in the operating room must stop everything to listen to the nurse or healthcare provider announce 2 patient indicators, procedure to be done, laterality if applicable, fire hazard, patient allergies, and antibiotics to be given. The time out process is a safety measure to prevent harm and to prevent from performing the wrong site and wrong procedure. It is important for the operating room nurse to have everyone focused in the room as the time out process is occurring as this is the final verification before making incision. (Pellegrini, 2017). In my experience, a time out process was not done, and the surgeon ended operating on the wrong side of the patient. When no one advocated for that patient in that case the patient ended up suffering because the time out was never initiated nor performed.
In the United States, people migrate from all different parts of the world so there are many different types of languages that are spoken. (Showstack et al., 2019) Language barriers create a challenge for both patients and healthcare personnel as not being able to understand each other can be frustrating for both parties. Patient safety concerns arise when patients pretend to understand what the healthcare provider is explaining and an example of that would be drug education. Many times, patients can feel embarrassed and not want to express that they don’t understand the material that is being presented to them. Much evidence shows how language barriers impact patient outcomes and healthcare delivery. (Squires, 2018) In my own experience, I work in large hospital system in Miami where an abundant number of different cultures and languages exist. As a bilingual speaker in English and Spanish, there have been numerous times where I have seen patients not understand what is being explained to them. I speak to them in Spanish, and I ask them if they understood what was presented to them and they would admit they did not understand. Patients would admit they did not want to be rude by not being to understand. As a patient advocate, I would tell the healthcare provider that my patient did not understand and that I would be happy to translate. Working in the operating room I want my patients to understand what the plan is going to be for surgery, and I want them to fully understand what they will be going through. I have encountered situations with patients that sign consents and do not understand the surgical procedure that is going to be done to them. It is important for patients to receive the best care and understand the care being provided to them, so they are allowed to make the best decisions for themselves.
Being a patient advocate is a crucial element in healthcare as the population grows and more elderly people need care. Many patients can’t speak for themselves, so nurses must be the voice for them especially in an operating room setting. The time out process was implemented to keep patients safe by verifying the right patient and right procedure. Language barriers can also allow nurses to be patient advocates by helping to communicate especially if nurses speak multiple languages. Nurses are committed to providing the best care possible to all patients and patient advocacy allows us to do this every day.