In this section of the NCLEX-RN examination, you will be expected to demonstrate your knowledge and skills of advocacy in order to:

  • Discuss identified treatment options with client and respect their decisions
  • Provide information on advocacy to staff members
  • Act in the role of client advocate
  • Utilize advocacy resources appropriately (e.g., social worker, chain of command, interpreter)

The roles and responsibilities of registered nurses are vast and diverse. Some of the many nursing roles and responsibilities include advocate, teacher, change agent, care giver, researcher and manager of care.

Discussing Identified Treatment Options with the Client and Respecting Their Decisions

Nurses consistently advocate for the client and significant others, as based on their intrinsic rights and individual needs, by discussing the client's identified treatment options in an unbiased manner including, but not limited to:

  • The identified treatment itself
  • How the identified treatment or procedure is done
  • How the identified treatment or procedure works
  • The benefits of the identified treatment
  • The possible risks and side effects of the identified treatment
  • Who will perform or provide the identified treatment or procedure
  • Alternatives to the identified treatment or procedure
  • The procedure, the benefits and risks of possible alternatives to the identified treatment or procedure

Providing Information on Advocacy to Staff Members

Registered nurses, as teachers and managers of care, are expected to assess and fulfill the identified educational and competency needs of clients as well as staff in terms of advocacy.

In this role, the registered nurse provides complete information to staff members, as indicated, about client advocacy and ways that this advocacy role and responsibility can be fulfilled and integrated into their practice.

This education should include:

  • The role of the nursing care team members as client advocates
  • The inalienable rights of the client in terms of autonomy, self-determination and autonomous, independent decision making
  • The intrinsic and legal right of clients to accept and reject any and all treatments
  • The identification and utilization of resources that can facilitate and enhance advocating for the individual client, significant others, families, groups and populations.

Acting in the Role of Client Advocate

As the nurse advocates for clients and significant others, the nurse consistently and respectfully communicates and collaborates with the client and other healthcare professionals to promote, uphold, and protect the client's rights, their interests and their choices even when the nurse and/or other members of the healthcare team may not agree with these choices.

Registered nurses advocate for individual clients, families, local, national and global groups in all settings including the government and the community.

Utilizing Advocacy Resources Appropriately

Registered nurses manage and coordinate care as a member of the multidisciplinary team and the center of care. Making referrals and seeking out and utilizing appropriate resources within and outside of one's facility are intrinsic to this professional registered nursing role.

When clients have needs that the nurse cannot be fulfilled and met by the registered nurse in collaboration with other members of the nursing care team, the registered nurse should then utilize and employ different internal or external resources such as a social worker, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a clergy member or a home health care agency in the community and external to the nurse's healthcare agency.

Professional interpreters are also helpful in terms of communicating with clients who do not speak English. These interpreters facilitate the fulfillment of the role and responsibility of the nurse when advocacy collaboration and communication are necessary and the client does not have a sufficient level of comprehension with the nurse's native, spoken language.

Many facilities have formal processes, including referral forms and policies/procedures associated with following the chain of communication and command, referring to the utilization of available internal and external resources. It is the responsibility of the nurse to know about and follow these formal procedures when they exist.


SEE - Management of Care Practice Test Questions

Alene Burke

Alene Burke

Alene Burke RN, MSN is a nationally recognized nursing educator. She began her work career as an elementary school teacher in New York City and later attended Queensborough Community College for her associate degree in nursing. She worked as a registered nurse in the critical care area of a local community hospital and, at this time, she was committed to become a nursing educator. She got her bachelor’s of science in nursing with Excelsior College, a part of the New York State University and immediately upon graduation she began graduate school at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Adelphi with a double masters degree in both Nursing Education and Nursing Administration and immediately began the PhD in nursing coursework at the same university. She has authored hundreds of courses for healthcare professionals including nurses, she serves as a nurse consultant for healthcare facilities and private corporations, she is also an approved provider of continuing education for nurses and other disciplines and has also served as a member of the American Nurses Association’s task force on competency and education for the nursing team members.
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