In any healthcare role, advocating for your patients is extremely important. It’s your job, after all—you’re there to support them in whatever way you can. But what exactly is patient advocacy, and how can you advocate properly for the patients under your care?
What is Patient Advocacy?
Patient advocacy is the act of supporting or promoting the best interests of patients. In your role, this largely has to do with healthcare itself, although it isn’t necessarily limited to that. You have an obligation to protect your patient from harm in whatever form that harm may be. You can’t necessarily tell your patient what to do in every case, but it is your obligation to uphold the health, safety, and rights of those you care for.
How Can Healthcare Professionals Advocate for Patients?
How do healthcare professionals go about advocating for their patients? There are multiple ways to be a good patient advocate:
Protect your patient’s rights. Ask permission before discussing or providing care. Make sure the patient themselves (not a family member or friend) is making decisions about their own healthcare, unless they’re unable to. Provide reminders to patients and family members that you and your facility are obligated to honor the decisions of the patient.
Communicate with the care team. This is advocating for your patient because it’s important that every member of the care team who needs to know crucial information has access to it. If you don’t communicate, things could get missed.
Educate your patients. Often, one of the simplest ways to be a good advocate for your patients is to educate them. Taking the time to share the information you know—whether it’s about a particular condition or disease, a specific care plan, a hospital policy, or something else entirely—is empowering your patient to manage their own healthcare needs.
Teach patients to be self-advocates. Healthcare experts need to teach their patients to advocate for themselves, too. That might include encouraging patients to ask questions, or seek second opinions when they want them. Ironically, teaching your patients to advocate for themselves is one of the best ways to advocate for them in general.
Advance Your Healthcare Career to Help More Patients
If you’re looking to advocate for even more patients by advancing your career in healthcare, you’ve come to the right place. 24/7 MedStaff is here to help. Browse openings on our Job Board and contact our team to get started.