in the or, i speak for the patient. by reminding doctors that she is allergic to x medications, i am advocating for my patient. if my patient has questions prior to going back to the or, we don't go until the patient feels comfortable with all the answers. when a patient in pre-op has a giant support system, part of what i do is advocate for them and their needs as well as the patient.
it's not "business as usual" per se, but explaining or translating jargon to both patient and critical family members is advocacy. making certain that a patient, once admitted to the health care industrial complex conveyor belt, with explanations in more jargon, explaining (in an academic center) who all these people are and why are they discussing all this goobldegook. it's is advocacy to explain to a patient and/or families exactly what each lab, test, procedure and surgery are done for, and also explaining that going through with x,y,z tests are over-ordering and that the patient has the right to refuse procedures, tests, labs, surgery until the patient understands the purpose of everything that is to happen
one last, but increasingly important aspect of nursing is using applied anthropology with our increasing number of immigrants whose customs are so entirely different from the way most americans live.
simple, true story; i was checking in a sikh gentleman for surgery. he'd come from the floor wearing in turban, as it is essential for a true sikh man not to cut his hair, as one part of honoring his religious beleifs. he couldn't go to the or with his turban on. we discussed it, with the outcome required giving him a box of puffy blue hats, then pulling the curtain shut, so that he would not be exposed by anyone accidentally. he ended up using about 12 hats to make sure that his head was appropriately covered according to his religion. oddly, most nurses have been doing this partially as ojt. now it has a a formal name; culturally centered care, a brand new idea(?).
these are examples of patient advocacy. respecting not only what the patient requires, but ensuring that both little and large issues are taken care of to decrease stress, anxiety, being culturally and ethically sensitive.