How Nurses can Provide Empowerment

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As nurses, it is important that we “be both empowered and competent enablers of patient empowerment.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 493) We took an oath to follow an ethical code which requires us to act as our patient’s advocate while providing safe nursing care. Nevertheless, we cannot make every medical choice or decision on their behalf. We also cannot empower them, “because to do so removes the element of choice.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 501) We can, however, “facilitate empowerment by working directly with patients and through addressing social, political, and environmental factors affecting empowerment of individuals and communities.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 493) In this paper, I will discuss how nurses can provide empowerment, some of the issues and constraints affecting empowerment, and how I feel regarding empowerment in my workplace.
Empowering Patients
In order to facilitate patient empowerment, we must first be in position of self-empowerment. This requires us to self-reflect on our own values, beliefs, and ideas of power. “Nurses must also surrender their need for control, developing instead attitudes of collaboration and mutual participation in decision making.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 517) We must understand that patients have the right to make their own decisions even if they differ from our own. Mutual respect for their thoughts, feelings, and decisions creates a trusting relationship. We must be able to openly listen to our patients needs and communicate effectively in order to empower our patients. They need to know that we are listening, that we understand, and that we are going to provide them with the knowledge and information needed to make their own choices. We must first be...

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...s by being role models of self-empowerment.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 520) There are many constraints and issues which can affect the empowerment process. As nurses, we must address the “social, political, and environmental factors affecting empowerment” in order to provide the highest quality of nursing care. It is important to remember that “empowerment is an essential part of nursing care.” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014, p. 521)

Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. K. (2014). Ethics & issues in contemporary nursing (4th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
LaSala, C. A., & Bjarnason, D. (2010, September). Creating Workplace Environments that Support Moral Courage. Retrieved from

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