What types of words would you use to build a nursing word cloud? Empathetic, organized, hard-working, or advocate would all certainly apply. Would you add policy-maker to your list? Do you think it would be a very prominent component of the word cloud?
Nursing has become one of the largest professions in the world, and as such, nurses have the potential to influence policy and politics on a global scale. When nurses influence the politics that improve the delivery of healthcare, they are ultimately advocating for their patients. Hence, policy-making has become an increasingly popular term among nurses as they recognize a moral and professional obligation to be engaged in healthcare legislation.
- Revisit the Congress.gov website provided in the Resources and consider the role of RNs and APRNs in policy-making.
- Reflect on potential opportunities that may exist for RNs and APRNs to participate in the policy-making process.
By Day 3 of Week 8
Post an explanation of at least two opportunities that exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making. Explain some of the challenges that these opportunities may present and describe how you might overcome these challenges. Finally, recommend two strategies you might make to better advocate for or communicate the existence of these opportunities to participate in policy-making. Be specific and provide examples.
By Day 6 of Week 8
Respond to at least two of your colleagues’* posts by suggesting additional opportunities or recommendations for overcoming the challenges described by your colleagues.
*Note: Throughout this program, your fellow students are referred to as colleagues. Everything should be in APA 7 formart. At least 3 references all with DOI number and at least 3 paragraphs for mainpost and 2 for replies.’
Discussion for reply one (Guy)
RNs and APRNs have crucial roles in health care to inform decisions of policy making. There are many opportunities that exist for nursing professionals to participate in policy making. According to Burke (2016), “It’s essential that policies exist that define and integrate appropriate standards for delivery of care and address conditions necessary for that care to occur. Through policy work, nurses can and should influence practice standards and processes to assure quality of care. Nurses who influence policy help share the care that will be provided today and tomorrow. Policies also impact resource allocation to support delivery of healthcare”.
One opportunity that exists for nurses to become active in policy making is to become a member of the American Nurses Association. According to Catallo, Spalding, & Haghiri-Vijeh (2014), “Policy products that the ANA offers include a “policy activist took kit”. As part of this took kit, RNs are provided with resources that include how to get involved in a political campaign, writing letters to the editor, how to engage politicians and carry out lobbying activities”. The article “Nursing Professional Organizations: What Are They Doing to Engage Nurses in Health Policy?” discusses how nurses can become engaged in health policy activities and how to address policy issues.
Another opportunity that exists for nurses to become active in policy making is to advance their education by becoming an APRN. According to Regis College (n.d), “Nurse practitioners have an opportunity to serve as advocates for patients, families, communities, other nurses, and health care organizations. Through this advocacy, nurse practitioners can influence health care policy. By gaining a comprehensive understanding in particular areas of health care, nurse practitioners are uniquely situated to support positions that will benefit out communities”. Becoming an APRN prepares your ability to participate in advocacy of health care policy making.
A strategy that can be used to promote nursing professionals involvement in policy making is to do so through nursing employers. For example, I would propose to create and implement a “Policy Committee” through my hospital organization to discuss the potential nurse advocacy benefits we can offer to policy making. In addition, as mentioned by Catallo et al,. (2014), to convey “Political awareness and understanding of the importance of being involved in nursing organizations, time to engage in policy development outside of nursing work, and resources to develop skills in policy participation”.
Another strategy that can be implemented to overcome to barriers of nursing involvement in policy making is to do so through nursing education. According to Short (2008), “The foundations for a professional understanding of health care policy should be well laid in formal education and synthesized with practice and work environments. Without time to promote synthesis of policy concepts related to the practice environment, nurses have no basis for further exploration and may remain naive to the influences of policy throughout their career”. If nursing students (RN or APRN) were exposed to health care policy and the influence their roles can have on policy making during their nursing education, there would be much more nursing involvement in health care policy that is needed today.
Burke, A. (2016). Influence Through Policy: Nurses Have a Unique Role. Retrieved October 18, 2020 from https://nursingcentered.sigmanursing.org/commentary/more-commentary/Vol42_2_nurses-have-a-unique-role.
Catallo, C., Spalding, K., & Haghiri-Vijeh, R. (2014). Nursing Professional Organizations: What Are They Doing to Engage Nurses in Health Policy? SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244014560534
Regis College (n.d). How Does Nursing Influence Health Care Policy? Retrieved October 18, 2020 from https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/how-does-nursing-influence-health-care-policy/
Short N. M. (2008). Influencing health policy: strategies for nursing education to partner with nursing practice. Journal of professional nursing: official journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 24(5), 264–269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2007.10.004
Discussion for reply two(Megan)
“The design phase of the policy process is the point at which the original intent of a solution to a problem is understood and the appropriate tools are employed to achieve policy success” (Milstead, 2019). The creation of policies, or presenting your idea, is how nurses can participate in policymaking. Actively working in the nursing field can help nurses see problems that arise and a better solution to patient needs. Bringing these ideas to congress to make changes will benefit the need of the patients. “Nurses’ influence in health policies protects patient safety, increases quality of care, and facilitates their access to the required resources and promotes quality health care” (Arabi et al., 2014).
Advocacy is another way that nurses can participate in policymaking. “We have been patient advocates in our interactions with doctors and administrators, why not with Congress“ (L. Phillips, 2020). Nurses should feel excited and empowered that they get to have a voice in the political world to make healthcare changes. Advocating for our patients is our duty, and I cannot think of a better way to do this than policy creation or changes. “As a component of professional nursing, active participation in the policy process is essential in the formulation of policies designed to provide quality health care at sustainable costs to all individuals” (Milstead, 2019).
Some of the challenges nurses face when getting involved with policymaking are getting push back from legislators and finding the evidence-based practice to support ideas. Nurses must band together and fight for what we know is right and what our patients need. Becoming an active member of a nursing organization can help support new policies or change old policies. Support strength comes in numbers. Having multiple people that share the same ideas will decrease pushback. Finding evidence-based practice to support our ideas may pose a problem, but putting in work to find or create research will be worth it, in the end, to help our patients with new or changed policies. Also, becoming a member of a nursing association can assist with finding or creating evidence-based practice.
The strategies I think will help advocate for these opportunities is being involved in a nursing association and providing courses like this to nurses. I know I spoke of nursing associations already, but I cannot think of a better way to come together and share our similar experiences and ideas to improve processes and policies to assist our patients. Providing courses like this to help educate nurses and get them involved in politics helps drive home the importance of our voices.
Arabi, A., Rafii, F., Cheraghi, M., & Ghiyasvandian, S. (2014, May 19). Nurses’ policy influence: A concept analysis. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061635/
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Pg. 97
Phillips, R. (2003). Health Care Policy: The Nurse’s Crucial Role. American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. https://www.aaacn.org/volunteer/teams/legislative/health-care-policy-nurses-crucial-role