Advocacy Behaviours in End-of-Life Nursing Care. Nursing Ethics

Karen S Thacker's Work

Karen S Thacker's work "Nurses' Advocacy Behaviours in End-of-Life Care" is a comparative and descriptive investigation aimed at addressing the insights of palliative care nurses and their advocacy behaviors during end-of-life care. The research issue at hand is the difficulty that nurses experience while attempting to advocate for their dying patients. Yet, the inquiry methodology used is no longer relevant to the type of outcomes gained (Thacker, 2008, p. 177).

The Opening Contradiction

The opening makes it clear that this is no easy task. Furthermore, the opening paragraphs are quite contradictory. For instance, it says that advocacy in the US has drastically changed because of improved technology, where palliative care is now in the hands of acute nurses (Thacker, 2008, p. 174). Nevertheless, a conflict emerges where the author says that nursing educators are throw down the gauntlet while equipping nurses with professionalism. Ideally, with sufficient technology and science, palliative education should not be a bother. It provides the knowledge and experience that providers need to support the sick during their dying period. Furthermore, science and technology play a core role in protecting human subjects in all angles of life, health assuming a significant portion.

The Root of Nurse-Patient Relationship

Another influence, advocacy is the root of the nurse-patient relationship yet carers do not act in the place of the sick. Protection of human subjects mostly during the dying period embraces autonomy, the law of self-governing, where not only the nurses but also patients make decisions affecting their wellbeing. Even so, in the article, some proponents, defend autonomy by arguing that, if practitioners share informed decisions with their patients, "undisclosed" conflicts might occur, a matter that affects their behaviors throughout an end-of-life-care (Thacker, 2008, p. 181). On the contrary, however, the connexion of trust between the two parties acts as an essential component of a professional code of ethics. Therefore, the association between providers and the sick requires that the nurses implement special obligations in safeguarding their patients, an act that protects human subjects (Grady & Edgerly, 2009, p. 473). Furthermore, by so doing, the dying need to be assured that their rights will not be disrupted in any way without their consent. As such, practitioners have no option rather than guaranteeing their patients a risk-free, comfortable and, a promoted individual dignity during their end-of-life period.

The Importance of Specialized Education

Moreover, to such a complex level, the writer sums the article by saying that advocacy during the dying period is a prerequisite of acute nurses' expertise. However, contrariwise to the data, a debatable number of participants ignored support education. The apprehension is, how can practitioners protect human subjects without specialized skills? The findings typically contradict. Nonetheless, end-of-life care cuts across specialism. All acute practitioners must be equipped with the relevant education to effect change. As an example consider England. There are nearly about half a million deaths annually commonly in individuals aged 75 plus. On the same notion, an anticipated 30% of these deaths happens within few months of acute sicknesses while the rest die after a prolonged period of ill health. As such, why is there such a difference? While acute care providers are equated with the last few days of life, they should get a specialized nursing education to improve their advocacy skills (Grady & Edgerly, 2009, p. 480). Equivalently there will be no protection of human subjects without its particular training.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Nurses' advocacy behaviors during the end of life are essential to the well-being of the dying ones. However, with the vast limitations in the article, there are no detailed guidelines for promoting advocacy, a situation that inhibits protection of human subjects (Thacker, 2008, p. 182). In other words, this may sound great in writing, but it does not translate straightforwardly in the real status quo. Furthermore, there lacks research in the traditional sense for this article, but the author, Thacker does include some examples of written work by past scholars. Karen cites people like Carpenter, Gates, Wlody, and Benner. They are well-known authors and add credibility to this research as a whole.

Overall Assessment

Overall, this article is excellent and well-written. With it, it carries important messages for medical practitioners and health institutions. In fact, in theory, part of it, the study sounds convincing when read but in but does not lay out concrete guidelines for protecting human subjects and improving nurses' advocacy behaviors. What is astounding, it is not very straightforward, especially in the introduction until in the third and fourth page that you realize where the study is headed. As such, to catch the attention of more readers, preferably acute health advocates, the article requires a more concise start.


Grady, C. & Edgerly, M. (2009). Science, Technology, and Innovation: Nursing Responsibilities in Clinical Research. Nursing Clinics Of North America, 44(4), 471-481.

Thacker, K. (2008). Nurses' Advocacy Behaviors in End-of-Life Nursing Care. Nursing Ethics, 15(2), 174-185.

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