Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates

Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates

What does it take to be an effective health advocate? As a nurse, you have many opportunities to advocate for patients and populations, whether formally or informally. Being an advocate involves more than knowing how to lobby or to whom to write letters. It requires passion and compassion, commitment and courage. In this Discussion, you will consider the attributes of an effective advocate for population health and/or the nursing profession. You will analyze those attributes that help nurses be a powerful force in improving the quality of health care and in this case especially, the needs of returning veterans and their families. To prepare: Review the article “On Being a Good Nurse: Reflections on the Past and Preparing for the Future” and “War, its aftermath, and U.S. health policy: Toward a comprehensive health program for America’s military personnel, veterans, and their families” found in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the multiple health care needs of returning veterans and their families. Discuss two types of health needs returning veterans and their families might need. How might you advocate for the needs of this population. What type of advocacy skills would you need and how could you develop them. What responsibility does a nurse have to be an advocate? Give specific examples. Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates .

Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates

Two types of mental health needs returning veterans and their families might need

Comprehensive and prompt mental health care and rehabilitation care are two needs that returning veterans and their families might need. Majority of veterans and their families experience mental health problems that tend to negatively affect their lives. Olenick et al (2015) assert that these conditions include anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, substance abuse and traumatic brain injury. As more veterans return from war fields, clinicians must be ready to provide treatment to them.

According to Olenick et al (2015), majority of veterans hard a difficult time reintegrating into the society after deployment as a result of their military skills that cannot be transferred to civilian life and war-related mental disorders. The aim of rehabilitation care is to balance vocational, social, mental and physical therapies to enable veterans and their families to enter into the society.  Mental rehabilitation trains veterans and their families with mental disorders the skills to live and function in the community and the capability to adjust to the new civilian life.

How I might advocate for needs of veterans and their families

As veterans return to the society, they must be assisted to re-ener into civilian life and access health care services without feeling overlooked or slighted.  The best was I might advocate for the needs of veterans and their policies is by advocating for policies geared at ensuring that veterans with health problems along with their families have access to comprehensive and quality healthcare services as well as healthcare education. According to Jackonis et al (2008), veterans returning to the community face challenges in seeking treatment in the present structure and organization of veterans, military and overall care systems of the United States. Therefore, there is the need to integrate health care delivery and finance to warrant a care continuum for veterans, service members, and their families.


 The major challenge is the rising figure of veterans who require comprehensive and prompt healthcare. Therefore, if advocacy is focused on making sure that veterans and their families are able to access prompt healthcare services, the veteran association healthcare along with community based healthcare wouldn’t be restricted in respect to inventory and funding (Jackonis et al (008).

The type of advocacy skills needed

Nurses have the chance to positively impact the profession via daily advocacy for the nursing profession and for nurses. Begley (2010) notes that autonomy, assertiveness, accountability and advocacy are the four major attributes that typify a good nurse. The key advocacy skills I would need should have include communication, problem solving and collaboration skills. According to Tomajan (2012), advocacy is focused upon addressing issues or problems that need solution. Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates .Majority of advocacy initiatives entail approaching policy makers with appeals for action to address an issue. Problem-solving skills can be developed by taking time to collaborate, negotiate and compromise so as to attain the needed outcome.

Communication skills are important because majority of advocacy initiatives entail bringing groups and individuals together to talk about an issue. Tomajan (2012) argues that advocates are required to communicate concisely and clearly and ensure that the message reaches the intended audience and situation. communication skills can be developed by preparing a short speech. This practiced, brief speech can be utilized in introducing the issue and the recommended solution.

Apart from demonstrating communication and problem-solving skills, an advocate should must establish collaborative, positive relationship with others so as to get the necessary support to deal with the issue.  As Tomajan (2012) highlights, collaboration involves working alongside other groups or individuals to attain a mutual goal. Collaboration skills can be developed by building credibility, respect and mutual respect with other individuals.

The responsibility that nurse have to be an advocate

A nurse has the primary obligation of safeguarding patients’ rights and ensuring they are committed to every stakeholder in the healthcare system.  For example, the primary commitment of a nurse in making sure that veterans and their family members receive prompt and comprehensive care. This can be achieved by promoting, advocating for and striving to safeguard the safety, rights and health of the whole patient pupation, entailing veterans along with their families.  Maryland (2012) argues that nurses can influence public policy via advocacy. Although policy makers have the responsibility of proposing and implementing healthcare proposals, nurses have a clear understanding of healthcare issues and have trust of the public and patients. Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates .


Begley, A. (2010). On Being a good nurse: reflection on the past and preparing for the future. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16(6): 525-532.

Jackonis, M., Hess, W., & Deyton, L. (2008). War, Its Aftermath, and US Health Policy: Toward a Comprehensive Health Program for America’s Military Personnel, Veterans and Their Families. The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics, 36(4): 677-689.

Maryland, M. (2012). Patient Advocacy in the Community and Legislative Arena. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1): 2

Olenick., Flowers, M., & Diaz, V. (2015). Us Veterans and their Unique Issues: enhancing health care professional awareness.  Advances in Medical   Education and Practice, 6: 635-639.

Tomajan, K. (2012).  Advocating for Nurses and Nursing. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1):4. Discussion: Nurses as Health Advocates.