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Nursing Theories and Patient Advocacy: Empowering Nurses as Change Agents

Kyung Hee*

Department of Nursing, Yonsei University College of Nursing, Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul 03722, South Korea

*Corresponding Author:
Kyung Hee
Department of Nursing
Yonsei University College of Nursing
Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul 03722, South Korea

Received: 01 September, 2023, Manuscript No. jnhs-23-117078; Editor Assigned: 04 September, 2023, Pre QC No. P-117078; Reviewed: 15 September, 2023, QC No. Q-117078; Revised: 20 September, 2023, Manuscript No. R-117078; Published: 28 September, 2023, DOI: 10.4172/ JNHS.2023.9.5.103

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Nursing theories are the backbone of nursing practice, guiding nurses in understanding patient needs and delivering holistic care. One crucial aspect of nursing that is deeply intertwined with these theories is patient advocacy. Patient advocacy empowers nurses to champion the rights and well-being of their patients. Nursing theories, ranging from Florence Nightingale's environmental theory to Jean Watson's theory of human caring, provide nurses with a comprehensive framework for patient care. These theories emphasize holistic approaches, considering patients as individuals with unique physical, emotional and social needs. By understanding these theories, nurses gain insights into the complexities of patient experiences, enabling them to deliver care that transcends mere symptom management.


Nursing theories, Patient advocacy, Human caring


Patient advocacy is the embodiment of nursing theories in action. It involves speaking up for patients, ensuring they receive the best possible care and are treated with dignity and respect. Advocacy encompasses a range of activities, from ensuring informed consent to challenging decisions that may not be in the patient's best interest. Nurses, armed with the knowledge of nursing theories, are better equipped to advocate effectively, considering not only the medical aspects but also the psychosocial and cultural dimensions of care. Nurses, grounded in nursing theories, are well-positioned to advocate for policy changes. They can actively engage in discussions around healthcare policies, leveraging their expertise to influence decisions that impact patient care. Whether it's advocating for increased funding for healthcare facilities or promoting policies that improve patient safety, nurses serve as vital change agents. Nurses can educate patients about their rights, ensuring they actively participate in their healthcare decisions.

Informed patients are more likely to advocate for themselves, fostering a collaborative approach to care. Additionally, nurses can empower their colleagues by sharing their knowledge and experiences, creating a culture of advocacy within the nursing profession. Research, a cornerstone of nursing theories, equips nurses with evidence to support their advocacy efforts[1]. By engaging in research, nurses can contribute valuable data that informs healthcare practices and policies. Evidence-based advocacy is a powerful tool, enabling nurses to advocate for changes rooted in research and best practices. Nursing theories and patient advocacy are inseparable elements of nursing practice. When nurses merge the knowledge derived from nursing theories with the passion for patient advocacy, they become catalysts for change. Their advocacy efforts extend beyond the bedside, shaping policies, educating communities and influencing research.


As empowered change agents, nurses bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring that the holistic principles of nursing theories are not just ideals but fundamental realities in patient care. In this transformative synergy, nurses emerge not just as caregivers but as advocates, champions and architects of a healthcare system grounded in compassion, respect and dignity. At the heart of nursing theories lies the concept of patient-centered care, emphasizing the unique needs and preferences of each individual. When nurses incorporate this principle into their advocacy efforts, they tailor their approach to every patient's specific circumstances[2,3]. This personalized advocacy ensures that patients are not treated as mere recipients of care but as active participants in their health journey. Understanding a patient's cultural background, beliefs and social context, nurses can advocate in a way that respects the patient's autonomy, thereby fostering a trusting nurse-patient relationship.

Nursing theories underscore the importance of social justice and equity in healthcare. Advocacy, when rooted in these theories, becomes a potent tool for addressing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes. Nurses, informed by theories like Madeleine Leininger's Culture Care Theory, can advocate for marginalized communities, ensuring they receive culturally competent and inclusive care. By raising awareness about social determinants of health and advocating for policies that address these factors, nurses become advocates for societal change, working towards a healthcare system that serves everyone equitably. Patient advocacy often involves navigating complex ethical dilemmas. Nursing theories provide a moral compass, guiding nurses in ethical decision-making. When faced with dilemmas related to patient confidentiality, end-of-life care, or informed consent, nurses grounded in theories like the Ethical Principles of Nursing can advocate for ethical solutions. They can engage in difficult conversations with healthcare teams and patients' families, ensuring that ethical considerations are at the forefront of decisionmaking processes.

Nurses, as advocates, are instrumental in driving changes within healthcare systems. Informed by nursing theories, they can advocate for nurse-patient ratios that allow for quality care, safer work environments and continuing education opportunities[4,5]. By participating in interdisciplinary teams and hospital boards, nurses can influence policies and practices, ensuring that patientcentered care remains a priority. Their advocacy efforts extend to promoting mental health support for healthcare professionals, recognizing that their well-being directly affects the quality of patient care.


The marriage of nursing theories and patient advocacy is not just a partnership; it's a commitment to the fundamental principles of nursing. As nurses embrace the holistic perspectives of nursing theories, they elevate their advocacy efforts, transforming patient care and healthcare systems. By understanding the intricacies of human experience, advocating for the vulnerable, navigating ethical challenges and driving systemic changes, nurses become true advocates for the patients they serve and the profession they represent. In this union of theory and advocacy, nursing transcends its conventional role. It becomes a force for change, a voice for the voiceless and a beacon of compassionate care in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. As nursing theories continue to shape the minds and hearts of nurses, patient advocacy remains not just a responsibility but a sacred calling—a calling that echoes the very essence of nursing itself.



Conflict of Interest



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