AIM: To explore the perceptions of patient advocacy among Saudi Arabian intensive care unit (ICU) nurses.
BACKGROUND: Despite advocacy being a crucial role for nurses, its scope is often limited in clinical practice. Although numerous studies have identified barriers to patient advocacy, their recommendations for resolution were unclear.
METHOD: The study employed a constructivist grounded theory methodology, with 13 Saudi Arabian registered nurses, working in critical care, in a tertiary academic teaching hospital. Semi-structured interviews, with broad open-ended questions, and reflective participant journals were used to collect data. All interviews were concurrently analysed and transcribed verbatim.
RESULTS: Gender, culture, education, subjugation, communal patronage, organisational support and repercussions, and role-associated risks were all revealed as factors affecting their ability to act as advocates for critically ill patients.
CONCLUSION: Saudi Arabian ICU nurses in the study believed that advocacy is problematic. Despite attempting to advocate for their patients, they are unable to act to an optimal level, instead choosing avoidance of the potential risks associated with the role, or confrontation, which often had undesirable outcomes. Patient advocacy from a Saudi Arabian nursing perspective is contextually complex, controversial and remains uncertain. Further research is needed to ensure patient safety is supported by nurses as effective advocates.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.