MRTs recognize their professional responsibility to act as advocates for the patients within their care
What is patient advocacy?
- Patient advocacy regards any activity which ultimately benefits a patient through a combination of promotion and protection of rights and interests1.
- For health professionals, advocacy is an expression of professionalism and includes2:
- Compassion and concern
- An ethical approach to problems
- Protection of another’s well-being
- Promotion of another’s best interests
- Successful patient advocacy is achieved through1,3:
- Respect for patient decisions and autonomy
- Acknowledgement and support of patients’ rights and preferences
- Clear and full communication to enable patients to make informed decisions
- Objectivity in dealings with patients
- Attention to potential risks
- Awareness of ethical, legal and related issues
Advocacy in practice
- The CAMRT Standards of Practice refer to the important role of the MRT as an advocate for the patient4:
- Making the patient the primary focus
- Providing the best possible health outcome for the patient while minimizing exposure to risk of harm
- Being accountable to patients, employers and colleagues
- Engaging in critical self assessment and reflection to critique, develop, and monitor professional practice and improve patient care
- MRTs act as advocates for each patient under their care1.
- The form that advocacy takes depends on the nature of the individual case
- In many cases, advocacy is achieved through carrying out best practices in the professional interaction
- In a few cases, the responsibility for advocacy may require the MRT to actively advocate on the patient’s behalf within the healthcare system
- For all patients, the MRT ensures the most appropriate care possible1:
- Promote patient health through appropriateness of examination or treatment1
- Ensure radiation exposure (if any) is appropriate and is kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA)1
- If the MRT believes a requisition or prescription does not represent the best course of action, the duty of advocacy requires them as professionals to address this with the radiologist, oncologist or referring healthcare professional1.
- It is important that patients and family members are given an opportunity to raise their concerns1.
- Suggestions need to be recorded and acted upon when feasible
- MRTs should also be aware of the role of the patient relations, patient advocacy, ethics and/or bioethics department at their place of practice and its role in continuing patient advocacy
Society of Radiographers. Patient Advocacy. 2008. Available from: https://www.sor.org/learning/document-library/patient-advocacy. [Accessed 21 Dec 2018]
Church EJ. Patient Advocacy: the technologist’s role. Radiol Technol 2004;75(4):272-289.
Negarandeh R, Oskouie F, Ahmadi F, et al. Patient advocacy: facilitators and barriers. BMC Nursing 2006;5:3.
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. Standards of Practice. Available from: http://www.camrt.ca/abouttheprofession/Standards_of_Practice.pdf. [Accessed 3 Apr 2012]