Communication Breakdown or Ideal Speech Situation: the problem of nurse advocacy

martin, G.W.
March 1998
Nursing Ethics;Mar1998, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p147
Academic Journal
The issue of advocacy has dominated discussion of the ethical dilemmas facing nurses. However, despite this, nurses seem to be no further towards a solution of how they can be effective advocates for patients without compromising their working identity or facing conflicts of loyalty. This article considers some of the problems around advocacy and, by the use of critical incidents written by nurses involved in a diploma module, attempts to highlight where the problem could lie. A communications model is outlined, using a theoretical framework taken from the work of Jürgen Habermas, and applied to nursing practice. Finally, two examples are given from the research, which illustrate how the model could be used, highlighting the problems and pitfalls that still have to be overcome. The conclusion is a positive one, in that it suggests that advocacy is possible if nurses re-examine their practice in the light of the model proposed.


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