Patient advocacy from the clinical nurses’ viewpoint: A qualitative study
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© 2016 Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. All rights reserved. One of the advanced nursing care procedures emphasized by nursing organizations around the world is patient or nursing advocacy. In addition to illustrating the professional power of nursing, it helps to provide effective nursing care. The aim of the present study was to explain the concept of patient advocacy from the perspective of Iranian clinical nurses. This was a qualitative study that examined the viewpoint and experiences of 15 clinical nurses regarding patient advocacy in nursing. The nurses worked in intensive care units (ICUs), coronary care units (CCUs), and emergency units. The study participants were selected via purposeful sampling. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using content analysis. Data analysis showed that patient advocacy consisted of the two themes of empathy with the patient (including understanding, being sympathetic with, and feeling close to the patient) and protecting the patients (including patient care, prioritization of patients’ health, commitment to the completion of the care process, and protection of patients’ rights). The results of this study suggest that nurses must be empathetic toward and protective of their patients. The results of the present study can be used in health care delivery, nursing education, and nursing management and planning systems to help nurses accomplish their important role as patient advocates. It is necessary to further study the connections between patient advocacy and empathy.