Part 2 of 5: Patient Advocate Nurses: A Critical Role in Patient Care


Nurses are uniquely qualified to serve as patient advocates. Studies indicate that nurses spend more time with patients than other healthcare providers and their care has a direct correlation to patient outcomes. Nurses are also able to navigate the healthcare system and ask questions on behalf of their patients. As a result, many healthcare systems are designating a new role for some nurses called a Patient Advocate Nurse, or PAN.

Overworked Nurses and Patient Safety

Nursing is a complex, high-stress, and demanding role. Researchers observed a cross-sectional group of six U.S. hospitals and found that, on average, nurses perform 84 different types of activities, including: patient examinations, medication review and administration, communication with other medical staff, patients, and families, and more. During an eight-hour shift, a nurse performs an average of 100 tasks with frequent interruptions.

Even though nurses are ideally suited to take on additional duties as a PAN, many find it is a challenge to provide patients with quality care in today’s healthcare setting. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published Keeping Patients Safe: Transforming the Work Environment of Nurses in 2004. The report states, “the typical work environment of nurses is characterized by many serious threats to patient safety.”

Continue to Part 3 of 5

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