Empowering nurses builds patient-centred health care

Empowering nurses builds patient-centred  health care
Empowered nurses have effective conflict resolution skills and understand the skilful application of nursing ethics to build strong patient care teams in Uganda. Cultivating a culture of advocacy and empowerment among nurses decreases the length of hospital stays thus improving patient outcomes not to mention cutting costs.

Patients seek to be well. Nurses are patient advocates who provide education for family members and home care providers and recommend resources to maintain the patients' high level of wellness. They inform patients that they have a right to participate in their own care, a right to safe care, a right to access care, and a right to be fully informed of all the treatment options available.


Empowered nurse advocates maintain open communications with all members of the health care team. Rather than accept the misconception that nurses are people to whom work is delegated, nurses empower themselves to deliver quality patient care independently and collaboratively as equal members of the health care team. Although nurses continue to provide bedside care and a calming influence for patients enduring stress of illness, today’s nurses build relationships across the health care team on behalf of their patients.


It must be acknowledged that Nurses understand the central role higher education plays in preparing nurses to be successful leaders and patient advocates working in future health care systems. Because nurse advocacy is one of the basic professional roles and responsibilities, it must be integrated into the curriculum at Ugandan Universities offering nursing courses. Patient advocacy, leadership, communication, and building relationships in complex health care environments are essential concepts that are woven throughout our nursing curriculum. Undergraduate and graduate nursing students at University can complete their nursing studies in a flexible on-line classroom environment. They are able to participate in meaningful discussions facilitated by nurse faculty in addition completing their coursework.


Nursing is no longer simply about sitting by the bedside, holding the patient’s hand and being a calming influence. It is about building relationships within care teams so as to deliver patient-centred care. The biggest impact Ugandan Nurses can have in the future of nurse advocacy and building successful leaders in  nursing programs is through education and communicating their understanding of the role of professionalism in the health care system.


Nurses have hundreds of patient experiences upon which to draw in order to impact public policy.  Is it not the obligation of Civil Society Organisations to strengthen skills that enable them to influence public policy so that patients can be served better?  


Even when calling attention to a potential medication error, helping the rest of the health care team hear a patient’s voice or shaping policy by speaking from first-hand experience, advocating for patients comes naturally to today’s nurses.


Many nurses give this advocate role little thought, considering looking out for their patients’ well-being part of the job—for instance, reminding a surgeon that he needs to order a different pre-op antibiotic to avoid an allergic reaction or calling attention to the fact a patient lives alone and is not ready for discharge.


Everyone appreciates the nurses who step forward on patients’ behalf. However, nurses who advocate for patients may lose their jobs. Such nurses should be supported! For God and My Country, I speak the patient’s voice!


Level 3 (XP: 950)
I admired my step mother as we grew up she left one day amidst our Christmas Lunch to Buhinga Hospital in Fort Portal Town, she was not on duty but she went to respond to an emergency as a midwife, I was in Primary Four then. I dedicate the May 5 2016 to her efforts of building the nation and me with my bothers and sisters.
Level 1 (XP: 50)
7 years ago
This article from 2008 discusses the pull and push factors leading to nurses brain drain from Uganda. It is possible similar pressures apply to other professionals. One hopes that those involved in planning specifically for future health care take some of the points raised into consideration to minimise the relentless loss of highly trained professional staff to other countries which have not invested in their training. It seems like a free gift Uganda can ill afford.

Recent Posts

Popular Posts