The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visitors (UKCC) document, Exercising Accountability, states that the role of patient's advocate is an essential aspect of good professional nursing practice (1). The author examines the case for and against the nurse being the best person to act as advocate, and critically evaluates the criteria of advocacy. The problematic moral issues arising are discussed, and a case made for negotiation between the members of the multidisciplinary team and the patient/client (or a significant person to the patient) in order to promote the well-being of the patient and to minimise suffering. She concludes that the health care professional's (including the nurse's) role is to help people to assert control over the factors which affect their lives, that is empowerment, rather than advocacy.
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