Nurses have a duty to provide safe, quality, patient-centered care. Nurses are also on the frontlines, spending more time with the patient. As nurses we have the training and education to critically think ahead when it comes to what may be going on with the patient which provides us with the ability to prevent negative outcomes that the patient may not be able to foresee on their own (Wood, 2018). This puts nurses in a position to be the voice for our patients when they are unable or unaware of the need to speak up for themselves. Nurses are also taught about the options available to patients who may be lacking essentials required to support activities of daily living.
I haven’t been a nurse for very long and I work in an emergency department therefore the amount of care I provide to patients before discharge or transfer is limited and the experience I have is limited. The only experience that I can think of is a patient that came in from home with a complaint of chest pressure for a few days. He had fallen that same night but wasn’t complaining of any injuries. I repeatedly went to the physician because I noticed an abdominal mass. The physician ignored my concerns. The patient’s hemoglobin was critically low, so we gave blood, but the patient began to deteriorate and had symptoms of a reaction. I again went to the physician but was told I was wrong, I obtained to assistance of a more experienced nurse that agreed with me and was also met with physician resistance. In the end we were able to determine the patient had suffered a liver laceration in the fall. I’m not sure the outcome after he was transferred to the unit, but his condition was very poor as the blood had all pooled in his abdominal cavity. This experience taught me so much about advocating for your patient and the importance of following your instinct as a nurse. In hindsight I should’ve probably said or done so much more on behalf of my patient and if ever presented with this situation again I will ensure that my concerns are properly addressed. Had I advocated appropriately I would’ve refused to give the blood until we knew why his counts were so low.
Wood, D. (2018). The Importance of Nurse Advocacy – Nurses Advocating for Patients. Travelnursing.com. Available at: https://www.travelnursing.com/news/career-development/the-importance-of-nurse-advocacy/. 12 Dec. 2018.
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