Nursing Advocacy & Professional Identity Formation

The American Nurses Association (2015) states that advocacy is one of the responsibilities of nurses from an ethical standpoint. As the people who are equipped with the necessary knowledge to analyze the context that they work in, nurses are particularly likely to be able to provide expert opinions on healthcare issues and promote policy change when required (Patton, Zalon, & Ludwick, 2015).

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By making their voice heard, for example, through the initiation of policy proposals, a nurse in any position can be engaged in meaningful changes in public policy. Also, nursing associations, as well as other healthcare organizations, can assist in the process, and membership in them can come with increased access to information on policies that might be of interest (Mental Health America, 2018). Finally, nurses can get appointed to significant positions of power both within their organizations and their states (Patton et al., 2015), acquiring notable resources for agenda promotion.

As for professional identity formation, all of the mentioned roles require the development of specific values and ethical principles that prioritize advocacy (American Nurses Association, 2015). Also, professionalism is a significant value, especially for the nursing leaders in a position of power (Arabi, Rafii, Cheraghi, & Ghiyasvandian, 2014). In particular, they need to consider developing policy-making skills. Naturally, leadership skills, including interpersonal ones, are also crucial for any nurse who is interested in advocacy. Overall, the desire to and experience of participating in advocacy is likely to affect the professional development of a nurse.


American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Web.

Arabi, A., Rafii, F., Cheraghi, M. A., & Ghiyasvandian, S. (2014). Nurses’ policy influence: A concept analysis. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 19(3), 315-322. Web.

Mental Health America. (2018). Advocacy network. Web.

Patton, R., Zalon, M., & Ludwick, R. (2015). Nurses making policy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

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