The nursing profession is one of the oldest professions in existence. The main focus of nursing is to give patients professional care so as to assist them to maintain good health, recover their health optimally and improve on the quality of their lives. Nursing is different from other aspects of health care in that their scope and approach to offering healthcare is different. Traditionally nurses provide health care under the guidance of doctors; they are however permitted in some jurisdictions to offer healthcare independent of doctors. This is dependent on the nurses’ level of qualification and the circumstances under which administration of healthcare arise (Barker, 2009).
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), nurses are mandated to protect, promote and optimize abilities and health, to prevent injuries and illnesses, to alleviate suffering by diagnosing and treating and advocate for the care of populations, communities, families and individuals. This paper shall attempt to review the role of nurses in the United States and internationally in the delivery of evidence based care, policy development, and professional advocacy. (Barker, 2009).
Evidence based care/nursing is an approach to providing health care that uses a problem solving technique. It encompasses best evidence that comes from studies carried out and the patient care data. Evidence based nursing leads to better decisions and improved outcomes by the patients. Evidence based care also takes into account the preferences of the patients. Nurses play a key role in delivery of evidence based care in the following ways. First is by using the best evidence available to attend to the patient. (Vanov & Blue, 2007).
As outlined in the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), nurses ought to ensure that they have all the relevant information before attempting to offer healthcare. Another role that nurses play in advancing evidence based care is through increasing their expertise in their profession. This can be done through further studies, carrying out research, and critical reasoning. A third role nurses’ play is adhering to patients’ preferences and values in the course of advancing healthcare. (Vanov & Blue, 2007).
Nurses also play a key role in advancing professional advocacy. Professional advocacy can be defined as the type of advocacy that is given by a person or group of people who possess skills or expert knowledge in a given field. An example is nurses doctors, and lawyers among others. For nurses they can employ their professional advocacy by forming organisations through which they can channel the grievances of the patients and also theirs. An example is recent strikes by nurses in Eastern Africa over the poor conditions in hospitals which make it difficult for them to offer proper care to the patients. Examples of organisations in America which are used for advocacy nurses are American International health Alliance and the US Agency for International Development. (Barker, 2009).
Nurses can also improve on their advocacy skills through research and collaborations. Advocacy is an extremely important role of nurses as they hold a higher bargaining chip than that of patients in fighting injustices. The professional organisations also assist in increasing accountability of the nursing profession. (Vanov & Blue, 2007).
The third role that nurses play is policy development. The development of new policies is crucial in ensuring the continued safety of patients because health care is a diverse and ever evolving field. Nurses contribute to policy development due to their professional training, their role of advocacy, professional ethics and experiential wealth. They are the people the health care cycle that come into most contact with the patients and so stand a better chance at developing policies that are patient friendly. (Barker, 2009).
Being evident that nurses play a significant role in health care delivery, they should better utilize this arena by being more involved in each of the roles they play including taking up leadership positions. They should also interact more on the global front so as to create more awareness among themselves concerning the issues discussed here.