Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Candice Rome

Abstract

Healthcare is becoming more complex and advanced; there is an increase in patient's awareness and safety, higher educational levels of the public, internet access, improved medical technology, development of the Patient's Bill of Rights, and distrust of experts. Patients are often left vulnerable and helpless in the healthcare setting due to limited knowledge about medicine, healthcare, illnesses, and their rights. The purpose of this thesis was to provide an understanding of the RN's perceptions of patient advocacy behaviors in the clinical settings. King's Interacting Systems Framework and middle range Theory of Goal Attainment provided the framework used to identify the nurses' perceptions of patient advocacy and the situations that encourage advocacy behaviors. The sample consisted of 38 RNs with a current North Carolina nursing license. The quantitative Protective Nursing Advocacy Scale (PNAS) consisting of 43 items was used to measure advocacy from the perspective of protecting patients in an acute care environment. The participants indicated the reasons RNs act as patient advocates were as follows: (a) vulnerability, (b) being ethically obligated to act for patients when threatened by harm, and (c) patient's need for RNs to act on their behalf.

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