Self-Advocacy: How to Get What You Need and Want

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Deficiencies in nursing students' communication skills need to be addressed for students to influence and skillfully collaborate in crucial patient and self-advocacy conversations. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a communication competency educational program for nursing students (N = 61). A paired-sample t test determined that there was a statistical significance from pre to post intervention, indicating the importance of communication competency education for nursing students' ability to advocate for themselves and their patients.
This project developed and tested the Nurse Workplace Scale (NWS) using data from a random sample of registered nurses in Massachusetts (n = 904). The NWS was adapted from an earlier checklist that measured group behaviors and beliefs in the workplace of a variety of nurses. Nurses have been thought to display non-self-advocating behaviors and beliefs that have contributed to disempowering their contribution in health care systems, but no tool has been available to assist nurse managers or clinical nurse leaders to test outcomes that measure progress toward changing these behaviors. A cross-validation procedure was used to establish the reliability and validity of the NWS to measure behaviors in nurses that are counterproductive in the workplace. Two components, "internalized sexism" and "minimization of self" behaviors, were established. Scores on the scales were shown to vary with the age and practice settings of the nurses. The NWS can be used in professional development settings and nurse workplace intervention studies to measure outcomes congruent with nurse empowerment.