PhD graduate and Ghanaian national, Dr Luke Laari.

Study Encourages Nurses to Advocate for the Less Privileged

Dr Luke Laari’s study titled: Developing a Health Advocacy Theory to Advance Nursing Practice in Ghana: A Grounded Theory, explored knowledge, acceptance and practice of the health advocacy role among nurses in the country.

Supervised by the College of Health Science’s Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Sinegugu Evidence Duma, the study aimed to develop a health advocacy theory to advance this role among nurses.

The Health Advocacy Role Performance (HARP) theory is designed to guide and empower nurses to advocate for the less privileged and the disadvantaged in society and within the clinical environment.

“Nurses” health advocacy role has been identified as central and has the potential to address the inequities and inconsistencies that affect most healthcare systems in Africa. An African theoretical foundation to guide nurses in this role is lacking. Strauss and Corbin’s Grounded Theory approach was employed to develop the HARP theory,’ said Laari.

Analysis of data collected by means of interviews with 24 professional nurses identified six concepts that were used to develop the theory. These included role enquiry, role dimensions, role context, role influence, role performance and role reforms. Health advocacy role performance emerged as the core concept with which the other concepts are intertwined.

These findings revealed that the health advocacy role is understood and accepted by nurses in Ghana. ‘We hope that the theory will empower nurses to perform the health advocacy role in their daily Nursing practice,’ said Laari. The study recommended that training reforms, such as incorporating health advocacy into the undergraduate Nursing curriculum, be considered by Ghana’s Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Laari spoke fondly of his supervisor and UKZN. ‘Professor Duma is a wonderful person and UKZN is a great institution. I did my honours and masters here, and learning under great people made me continue here with my PhD,’ he said.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied