Client advocacy has two main goals: client independence and system improvement. By making the client more independent and capable of self-care, the nurse encourages the client to be an active participant in individual health care. The client should be central to the care process and feel supported in decisions. For this reason, the nurse increases the client’ s understanding of the services that are available in the healthcare system, the purposes of those services, and the ways of accessing those services. As a client advocate, the nurse facilitates both client and healthcare system acceptance of active participation from the client as well as social groups, in health care decisions that affect them.
The second goal of advocacy to improve the system is to make it more sensitive and useful to the needs of the individual or group (Hitchcock et al, 2002). Related to client advocacy and its goal of client independence and self-care is the concept of nursing care which refers to “ those assistive, supportive or facilitative acts for another individual or group with evident or anticipated needs” to alleviate or improve a human condition (Leninger, 1984: 4).
Care is central to nursing and is the unifying and essential core that underlies the nursing practice. The importance of care as the essence of nursing has not received the same degree of attention as the importance of cure that is related to the physician’ s skills. Dramatic medical cures are highlighted by the media, rather than nursing care in the alleviation of illnesses and diseases. The limited emphasis on care is concurrent with the “ cultural, social, political and professional factors” which impact the focus on the cure (Leninger, 1984: 3).
More funds are granted for research as well as the practice of cure rather than care. The reasons for greater importance given to cure in contrast to that given to care is believed to be because a cure is traditionally associated with medical treatment which receives public recognition.
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