We often write about being an advocate for the profession of nursing. We’ve had several people ask what we mean by advocacy and what it takes to be an advocate, so we took the time to put together this primer. Think of advocacy as taking actions in the hopes of making positive changes. Advocacy can advance many goals, like these.
Three Goals of Advocacy
- Raise awareness and promote your cause.
- Create change through specific actions.
- Build your base of supporters for a specific cause.
Advocates are people-oriented. They act on behalf of other people and represent their concerns. Advocates work within a system to create change for the good. Advocates also can work to assist those who are being negatively affected by institutions and practices.
Why should you become or continue to be an advocate? Often, people become advocates to persuade others to support their causes. Think about all school bake sales, scout cookie sales or youth band car washes. By participating in these you are acting as an advocate. You are advocating for your school, troop or band. On a larger scale, advocacy addresses issues like the arts, the homeless or elevating the perception of a profession like nursing.
Anyone can be an advocate. One person can wield a huge influence. Here are ideas for practicing advocacy:
- Educate yourself about the issue. Find organizations working on the issue, visit their web sites and read about them.
- Invite others to volunteer with you.
- Use your social media sites to talk about your cause.
- Host a fundraiser. Instead of birthday gifts, ask friends and family to donate to your cause.
- Lead by example. If you are an advocate for the environment, then embrace green living.
At Barco’s Nightingales Foundation, we believe that all nurses should receive our respect and the respect afforded doctors and other professionals. Nurses are highly educated and trained, deal with life and death situations on a regular basis, and maintain the highest levels of professionalism. At Barco’s Nightingales Foundation, we are working to highlight nurses and tell their stories so that others can see first-hand the expertise, passion and experience they bring to their work.
Won’t you join us?
~Michael and Frida Donner