Nursing empowerment fundamentally pertains to the various aspects of human existence and development, with this being displayed to both parties in a medical situation, i.e. the nurse and existent patients. Furtherance is the presence of increased organizational quality and effectiveness in reference to overall medical care, nutrition, and health. Thus, the empowerment of the Nursing fraternity is ideologically rooted in requisite social action, in social contexts where community interests take precedence over other matters. In addition, there are various attempts at increasing both the influence and power of existing oppressed groups as represented by women, workers, and ethnic minorities. With increased socio-economic development, a necessity for the recognition of an individual’s actions and characteristics continued to grow, with nurses being no exception. Hence, three key categories classify existent working groups, including the social psychological theory the organization theory and the critical social theory.
Definition of Power in Nursing
With the nursing fraternity being vital towards the overall healthcare system of a given legal jurisdiction, it is hence requisite for the greater empowerment of various nurses. This may be through a redefinition of nursing practice, with the traditional nursing models of education and practice being rejuvenated through the adult learning theory curriculum revolution. As such, the empowerment of nurses is compelled by various reasons, which unfortunately often result in negative consequences existent in various health systems. Thus, powerless nurses do feel less satisfied with their professional duties, and hence become increasingly susceptible to both depersonalization as well as work burnout. Furtherance is the fact that such contexts result in less than optimal performance as well as professional contribution in the workplace (Gibson, 1991).
This inadvertently affects the overall organizational nature and aspect of existent healthcare systems, majorly resulting in inefficiency as well as ineffectiveness in patient care and health. It is thus only through nursing empowerment that such negative socio-economic, as well as religious and cultural aspects, may be reversed and turned into positive drivers of the sector. The empowerment of nurses consists of three major composite factors: the acknowledgment of an existent power in caring as well as relational aspects which nurses provide; a workplace environment possessing the requisite structures critical towards the promotion of both individual and group/entity empowerment. This is in addition to the requisite psychological belief in an individual’s inert ability to be empowered (Beyea & Slattery, 2006).
Only through a thorough comprehension of the above three components, can the nursing fraternity become empowered and hence utilize this towards enhancing the better provision of patient care. While the existent healthcare, as well as technological advancement, continues enhancing overall human existence, the lack of change in the requisite nursing fraternity continues to negate various goals and aims established towards better health care provision. Furtherance is the fact that with the nursing fraternity being composed by about 95% of women professionals, the lack of empowerment has serious repercussions on the larger social structure.
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Characteristics of Empowered Nurses
The concept of power as pertaining to the nursing profession varies, with definitions existing as influenced by various ideals, standard practices as well as educational and professional orientation. With power entailing the possession of amongst others influence and control, empowered nurses are hence able to utilize all requisite factors towards meeting set goals, with resource mobilization being a pertinent aspect. As Benner (2001) portends, power in the nursing fraternity entails the presence of caring practices performed by nurses towards patient improvement and better health. Consequently, of particular interest to the nursing fraternity is the presence of accountability, structural or organizational empowerment, leadership as well as nurse autonomy (Manojlovich, 2007).
Additionally, by not only utilizing knowledge gained in nursing schools but empowered nurses also do gain wholesome enhancement through reference to various existent research reports, journal articles as well as hospital libraries. This hence caters to the needs of contemporary society, which is best served, not by outdated knowledge, but by evidence-based practice (EBP). This provides a vital strategy towards ensuring that healthcare provision is up-to-date as well as reflective of existing latest research evidence. Consequently, empowered nursing results in better patient outcomes, greater contribution to the nursing science/profession, the utility of current and relevant practice, in addition to increased confidence in both individual as well as organizational decision-making processes (Benner, 2001).
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Strategies of Empowered Nursing
Empowered nursing utilizes helpful knowledge sources, especially as described above, and specifically so the advice and/or experience of colleagues as well as patients. As aforementioned, individual, as well as organizational autonomy, makes existent staff more involved in the overall healthcare team, hence allowing them to fulfill their professional duties as best suited to their personal preferences. Through a clear understanding of all pertinent rules of nursing, aided majorly by information provision, especially as regarding professional expectations, duties as well as responsibilities, empowered nurses are better able to perform their duties.
Additionally, there is the provision of various educational opportunities, which aid nurses in their maintenance as well as the increase of requisite knowledge. Hence, those with licensed practical nursing certificates strive towards earning either a bachelor’s or associate degree and thus become fully registered nurses. Furtherance is the opportunity of earning specialized certification, with annual classes (studies) being requisite towards their retention of medical licenses. This may be by way of on-site classes as well as sponsored class tuition via online avenues. Hard work is acknowledged with resultant celebration pertaining to the achievement of those who perform splendidly (Donahue, Piazza, Griffin, Dykes & Fitzpatrick, 2008).
Of further importance, is the necessity of keeping official communication open, with this allowing nurses better communicate directly to both their supervisors as well as hospital management. This encourages the provision of important feedback as to what procedural measures work, in addition to areas that require rethinking and different approaches. Monthly meetings with all members of the nursing staff, enhance overall confidence, with nurses asking various procedure-related questions as well as voicing their concerns. It is through the provision of fair means of dispute lodging that nurses are able to openly dispute existent negative feedback or advice provided to them, thus strengthening both individuals as well as group confidence in their professional lives (Worrell, McGinn, Black, Holloway & Ney, 1996).
In addition to the above, the cooperative association with experienced researchers helps empowered nurses towards developing their own skill-sets. This pertains to the accumulation of pertinent research method courses, statistical data, as well as mentorship experiences and programs on research skills. This may be through increased involvement in EBP (evidence-based practice) nursing efforts, through close work and professional relationships with leading experts. This serves as a means towards the helpful introduction of nursing professionals into various processes of critiquing, evaluating and analyzing published research.
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The utility of opportunities present towards both multidisciplinary as well as nursing improvement enhances clearer communication with documentation reducing time spent on verbal reporting. Collaborative multidisciplinary efforts enhance the better addressing of existent complex health issues, with such initiatives being vital especially in acute-care medical providers. This results in the creation of opportunities towards addressing various clinical issues and problems through existent expertise as well as perspectives (Manojlovich, 2007).
Nurses do play vital roles, with such efforts often benefitting from realized synergy through partnership and collaboration with other professionals/experts. The relational theory provides major relevance towards understanding the need for greater development of empowered nursing, as a result of the fraternity’s nature of work. Through a truly empowering working environment can nurses’ mutual professional relationships be nurtured, with the structural empowerment theory portending to a greater focus on resultant causative factors existent in the nursing fraternity.