Rural District Nursing Experiences of Successful Advocacy for Person-Centered End-of-Life Choice


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Abstract

Choices in care during the end stages of life are limited by the lack of resources and access for rural people. Nursing advocacy based on the holistic understanding of people and their rural communities may increase the opportunity for choice and improve the quality of care for people living and dying at home. Pragmatism and nurse agency theory were used for a practical exploration of how district nurses successfully advocate for rural Australian end-of-life goals to begin the development of a practice model. In two stages of data collection, rural district nurse informants (N = 7) were given the opportunity to reflect on successful advocacy and to write about their experiences before undertaking further in-depth exploration in interviews. They defined successful advocacy as “caring” that empowers people in the “big and small” personal goals important for quality of life. The concepts described that enable successful advocacy were organized into a network with three main themes of “willing” investment in holistic person-centered care, “knowing” people and resources, and feeling “supported.” The thematic network description provides deep insight into the emotional skill and moral agency involved in successful end-of-life nurse advocacy and can be used as a sound basis for modeling and testing in future research.

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