By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today
For those of us out in “patient land,” participating in the healthcare system can be overwhelming. I’ve had a few experiences where I found myself lost and confused. Conflicting provider opinions, unexpected medical charges, and just a basic lack of understanding of what to do next have stymied me more than once. One advantage I have is that one of my best friends is a nurse. He’s helped me ask the right questions and steered me in the right direction several times. And I know that’s what he does just about every day. He advocates for his patients, helping them understand what seems incomprehensible and supporting them through difficult decisions.
I also recently discovered a group of nurse advocates not far from where I live. They’ve built a business out of providing advocacy services to their community. Their page of success stories includes:
- overturning denial of coverage for a child’s cleft palate repair
- helping a family navigate care for their mother in the ICU
- eliminating $192,00o in hospital charges.
Just about all nurses, in the course of their day, advocate for patients and their families, helping them understand treatment options, maneuver the red tape of insurance and healthcare organizations, find support services, and ensure patient safety. Without nurses, patients would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Thanks for having our backs!
Julie Cullen, managing editor of American Nurse Today and a curator of online content for the American Nurse Today website, is most definitely not a nurse, but she admires what all of you do everyday. In her Off the Charts blog she shares some of her experiences as a patient and family member of patients, thoughts and ideas that occur to her during her work editing nursing content, and information she thinks you might find interesting. Julie welcomes your feedback. You can submit a comment on the website or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is quiet refreshing for patients and their family members to find genuine advocates in nurses. Taking it a step further, however, healthcare consumers should be clearly empowered to voice out their frustrations and legitimate concerns by opening up to nurses as soon as they walk through the hospital doors. When a patient or family member understands that nurses also have advocacy skills, it will help ease their fears of the unknown as they steer through the recovery process. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your experience and first-hand perspective on the good work nurses do each and every day to ensure high quality patient outcomes.