Patient Empowerment In Nursing

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Patient empowerment

The idea of patient empowerment originated from the critical social theory when patients are seen as an oppressed group (Kuokkanen & Leino-Kilipi, 2000), and was built upon an assumption that each person has the potential to become empowered (Ellis-Stoll & Popkess-Vawter, 1998). Starting from the mid-1980s till nowadays, the World Health Organization defined health promotion as “a process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their own health”.

This movement of patient-centered care rendered a paradigm shift into therapeutic nurse-patient relationship. Based upon equality and mutual respect, Ellis-Stoll & Popkess-Vawter (1998) stated that patients are seen to be an active participant in the relationship
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When making judgments, nurses bring into account their knowing of the patient (Benner, Tanner & Chesla, 2009). Tanner (2006) described the “knowing the patient” as the center in nurses’ clinical judgment. This “knowing” includes a knowing of the patient’s pattern of responses, nurses’ engagement with the patient and knowing him or her as a person. Among all decision makers surrounding, only the frontline nurse at is in closest proximity to the patients, only they can fully appreciate patient needs and conditions. It is this emphasis on patient and their needs that allows for tailored judgment and interventions.

Moreover, nurses should respect patients’ responsibility, ability and participation for their own health. Nurses surrender their desire to control, and focus on co-operation and collaboration in making judgment (Gibson, 1991). Patient empowerment urged nurses to think out of a patriarchal framework. Indeed, it is the nurses clinical expertise, collaborative skills and their knowledge of the health care system that serves as a source of power that allow nurses to make their care delivery more patient centered (Ponte et. al, 2007).
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To enhance patient outcome quality is always a goal of the health care industry. One way to achieve this is therefore to encourage and facilitate nurses’ participation in clinical judgment. As demonstrated, true empowerment is the antecedent of good clinical judgment. This means a structurally empowering environment, a belief of self-efficacy and autonomy to provide valuable quality care, and a nurse-patient partnership. Unless nurses feel empowered, they will however rely on physicians’ order or the bureaucratic system rather than their ability and creativity to make
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