Nurses are in high demand, and they are necessary to guide patients through the complex healthcare industry. The online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) can help students build the necessary skills to become vital nurse advocates. In this program, students will learn approaches to community health nursing, cultural sensitivity, ethical decision-making, leadership and advocacy, the foundational elements of professional nursing, evidence-based research, systems thinking and quality improvement processes. With six start dates a year and seven-and-a-half week courses, this RN to BSN degree program format is convenient for working professionals.

Nurses are in a unique position to advocate for patients, coworkers and themselves. They can significantly influence changes in working conditions, local and national policies and regulations, training processes, laws, treatment practices and more. A healthcare advocate assists patients and their families with personalized support to maneuver through the healthcare system. EMU’s RN to BSN program prepares graduates to thrive in the evolving world of healthcare and be effective advocates. The well-rounded online curriculum gives students a fine-tuned understanding of the economic, cultural, social and political issues that impact patients and affect their care delivery. This degree program will guide current nurses to expand their leadership and advocacy skills to contribute to important changes in healthcare.

Why Nursing Advocacy Is Important

Nurses have a profound opportunity to advocate for their patients and the needs of the individual. By speaking on behalf of their patients, nurses can work with doctors, the medical facility and decision-makers to propose solutions and solve problems. Advocacy is part of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics. Provision Three states that “the nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.” Some common types of patient advocacy involve support regarding the medical facility, the legal system and patients’ families. Along with compassion, having strong leadership, decision-making, negotiation and communication skills can help a nurse become a strong patient advocate.

Supporting patients and their families is just one type of advocacy for nurses. By advocating for themselves, nurses can spur change and solve some common problems in nursing. In addition, nurses can collaborate to influence the medical industry’s power structure and support systems. Advocating for adequate pay and compensation, safe and fair working conditions, representation and inclusion on healthcare boards and committees and responsible healthcare policy development are just a few ways nurses can support and assist each other.

How to Become a Strong Nurse Advocate

Advocating for a better healthcare system by working with health professionals and leaders can change the face of care to serve patients effectively and with compassion. Working partnerships with legislators, policymakers and decision-makers allow nurses to take active roles and advocate for improvements to the entire medical system. Influencing public policy by translating their hands-on experiences, knowledge and skills puts nurses in a position to improve medical treatment access, quality of care and cost. With strong public support and their passion for quality healthcare, nurses can be powerful advocates for patients, themselves and the healthcare system.

Learn more about Eastern Michigan University’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.