What is a Nurse Advocate?

The nursing field is a major aspect of the medical profession with a variety of types of nurses, and those exploring this career may ask what is a nurse advocate? Nurse advocates serve as liaisons between patients and physicians to ensure the quality of care patients receive. They help patients gain a better understanding of medical conditions and assist in making effective decisions regarding their care and health. These type of nurses must complete specific education and licensing requirements. A positive job outlook and lucrative salary are also features of this profession.

Nurse Advocate Job Tasks

A nurse advocate strives to look out for the best interest of patients depending on their circumstances, beliefs, and preferences regardless of the orders of doctors. He or she tries to help patients make the best decision regarding medical care by explaining the medical condition, providing education about how to deal with the diagnosis, and informing the patient about various treatment options. A nurse advocate often serves as the voice for patients whose wishes conflict with doctor recommendations. Often times a nurse advocate works with doctors to come up with alternative medical treatments or plans that work for both parties. A nurse advocate must remain abreast of new legislation, treatments, and insurance procedures to effectively help his or her patients. He or she will also learn a great amount from the patients themselves as he or she interacts with a range of individuals with different cultural, religious, and personal beliefs.

Education and Licensing for Nurse Advocates

The completion of a nursing degree in registered nursing is the first step to becoming a nurse advocate. Nursing degrees are available at a variety of levels, such as associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. After graduation, individuals must pass the NCLEX-RN examination to gain licensure and the ability to work as a registered nurse. Majority of aspiring nurse advocates then spend ample time gaining work experiences as registered nurses. These individuals often engage in continuing education to become nurse advocates. Some registered nurses enroll in special courses that focus on advocating patient care, such as the Certified Healthcare Advocate program offered by Healthcare Liaison Inc. or programs offered by the Professional Patient Advocate Institute.

Job Outlook and Salary for Nurse Advocates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for all types of nursing is tremendous. The growth is expected to increase by 31 percent by year 2024, which is considered much faster than average for all professions. Healthcare advocacy is an emerging field that has already shown a high amount of growth. The demand for nurse advocates will result from the increased need for liaisons for patients and doctors as more individuals need medical care. As stated by Payscale, the median salary for all registered nurses is around $67,000 per year. Actual yearly pay for nurse advocates vary depending on numerous factors, including geographical location, employer, qualifications, and experience.

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Working as a nurse advocate is ideal for experienced registered nurses seeking to act as a voice for patients. Choosing to work as a nurse advocate is a great choice for those who want to make a difference in the lives of patients fighting to be heard and make effective decisions on their medical care that meets both their health and personal, spiritual, religious, and cultural needs.