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Post an explanation of at least two opportunities that currently exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy review. Explain some of the challenges that these opportunities
In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making. A critical component of any policy design is evaluation of the results. How comfortable are you with the thought of becoming involved with such matters?
Some nurses may be hesitant to get involved with policy evaluation. The preference may be to focus on the care and well-being of their patients; some nurses may feel ill-equipped to enter the realm of policy and political activities. However, as you have examined previously, who better to advocate for patients and effective programs and polices than nurses? Already patient advocates in interactions with doctors and leadership, why not with government and regulatory agencies?
In this Discussion, you will reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.
- In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making.
- Review the Resources and reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.
Post an explanation of at least two opportunities that currently exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy review. 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. Be specific and provide examples.
EXPERT ANSWER AND EXPLANATION
The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation
Opportunities for RN and APRNs in Participating in Policy Review
One of the opportunities that exist for RN and APRNs to participate in policy review is ensuring that the policies that are promoted in their places of work are effective. If a certain implemented policy undermines the quality of care or does not accomplish its original intent, RNs and APRNs can swiftly decline it and request for its further review.
Another opportunity that exists for nurses to participate in policy review is through direct political involvement through nursing advocacy (Brassard et al., 2020). Nurses with political knowledge can collaborate with members of the healthcare teams to deliver efficient patient outcomes.
Challenges that some of these Opportunities may Present and How to Overcome them
There are several challenges that are associated with the involvement of RNs and APRNs in policy review. In the first opportunity of participating in policy review, that is ensuring the effectiveness of the policies at their place of work, some inter healthcare professionals tend to undermine the ability of nurses to judge the situations that are available (Melander et al., 2018).
For example, some physicians could feel that nurses do not have the capacity to decide how well a policy is working in a workplace. This struggle for power could be as a result of the fact that some healthcare givers are not willing to appreciate the fact that nurses are among the individuals who are closes to patients, and hence they are better placed to assess the patients. To solve this challenge, healthcare givers should be taught about the specific contributions of nurses to offering individualized care.
The sharp disconnect between politics and nursing is another challenge that undermines the opportunity of nurses to participate in policy review. Very few nurses have specialized in policy advocacy, and hence there is underrepresentation in the political forums. To solve this challenge, the available nurse legislators should advocate for ways in which more nurses can be encouraged to participate in advocacy issues.
Recommendation of Strategies to Advocate for the Existence of these Opportunities
In order for the nursing advocacy opportunities to exist in healthcare, there is need for nurse education about some of their contributions to policy review. It is important that they understand that they are responsible for executing and implementing some of the healthcare policies that help in improving nursing (Young, 2019).
For instance, through continuous medical education (CME) exercises in facilities, nurses should be reminded that besides taking care of the patients and monitoring their conditions, they are required to monitor the effectiveness of some of the policies through monitoring the progress in the patient conditions.
Another recommendation to foster the existence of various opportunities for nurses is including policy education in the nursing curriculum. One of the main reasons why nurses fear becoming nurse legislators is because they do not have the political know how on the way they can go about the processes of legislation. As a result, there are not enough nurse legislators to advocate for nursing issues.
Policy education also helps in assessing for the effectiveness of the policies, as the political background helps in efficient elaboration of policies in healthcare, and understanding the relations between policies and healthcare implementation practices.
Brassard, A., Quinn, W. V., Little, P., & Di Chiacchio, T. (2020). Advocacy for Nurses and Consumers. In Advanced Practice Nursing Leadership: A Global Perspective (pp. 313-326). Springer, Cham.
Melander, S., Hampton, D., Hardin-Pierce, M., & Ossege, J. (2018). Development of a Rubric for Evaluation of the DNP Portfolio. Nursing education perspectives, 39(5), 312-314.
Young, J. (2019). An Educational Strategy to Inform Legislators and Nurses about the Professional Nursing Role. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 50(4), 150-152.
The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation
The fact that nurses are part of the rapidly developing health systems means that they need to take part in the formulation of health policies as well as implementing them. Their influence has a direct effect on patient safety and quality of care (Williams & Anderson, 2018). A strategic solving of the problems that influence these policies can also help in smooth implementation.
Opportunities That Currently Exist For RNs and APRNs to Actively Participate In Policy Review
One of the active opportunities for the nurses is in nursing education. RNs and APRNs need to acquire various policy-making skills that would help them in addressing the professional challenges they may have to face in the policy making process. Also, the fact that nurses are always present in almost all healthcare settings presents an opportunity for them to give a significant input to policy decisions (Glasgow et al., 2003). Lastly, nurses, more than any other healthcare personnel, have a great influence in resource allocation as well as support delivery, hence their unique role in policy formulation.
Challenges That These Opportunities May Present
Some of the challenges include the fact that people in the healthcare industry have an old view of nurses, where they perceive them as only influencers of patient care and that they are not open to other roles. Health managers and health authorities also perceive nurses to be in the sixth grade (which is the last) in comparison to other health professionals (Glasgow et al., 2003). Hence, the idea of policy influence is new among individuals.
Overcoming These Challenges
The first step in overcoming this challenges is training healthcare professionals on the importance of nursing management. They should also be made to understand that nurses are in more direct contact with patients more than any other stakeholder in health, and hence there input in health policy formulation is crucial.
Strategies to Better Advocate For the Existence of These Opportunities
The education system of nurses should create more emphasis on policy development and implementation (Shiramizu et al., 2017). Also, directly educating other healthcare givers on the various roles of the individuals in nursing could help position nurses well in policy review and implementation.
Glasgow, R. E., Lichtenstein, E., & Marcus, A. C. (2003). Why don’t we see more translation of health promotion research to practice? Rethinking the efficacy-to-effectiveness transition. American journal of public health, 93(8), 1261-1267.
Shiramizu, B., Shambaugh, V., Petrovich, H., Seto, T. B., Ho, T., Mokuau, N., & Hedges, J. R. (2017). Leading by success: Impact of a clinical and translational research infrastructure program to address health inequities. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities, 4(5), 983-991.
Williams, J. K., & Anderson, C. M. (2018). Omics research ethics considerations. Nursing outlook, 66(4), 386-393.
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What are the reasons many nurses do not actively engage in lobbying efforts?
- Lack of Time: Nurses are often overworked and have busy schedules, leaving them with little time to engage in lobbying efforts. This can be especially true for nurses who work long shifts or have multiple jobs.
- Lack of Resources: Lobbying can be an expensive and time-consuming activity, requiring significant resources to be effective. Nurses may not have the financial resources or the staff support necessary to engage in effective lobbying.
- Fear of Retaliation: Nurses may fear retribution from their employers or others in the healthcare industry for engaging in lobbying efforts. This can include being blacklisted or losing their jobs.
- Lack of Education: Many nurses may not fully understand the political process or how to effectively engage in lobbying efforts. This can make them hesitant to engage in these activities.
- Perception of Powerlessness: Nurses may feel that their voices are not heard or that they do not have the power to effect change through lobbying. This can make them less likely to engage in these efforts.
- Conflicting Priorities: Nurses may have conflicting priorities, such as patient care, that take precedence over lobbying efforts. This can make it difficult for them to find the time and resources necessary to engage in these activities.
Why is it important for nurses to be involved in politics?
- Patient Advocacy: Nurses can use their expertise and experiences to advocate for policies that improve patient care, protect patient rights, and ensure access to healthcare services for all.
- Professional Advancement: Nurses can use their political voice to advocate for policies that advance the nursing profession, such as improving working conditions, increasing salaries, and promoting continuing education opportunities.
- Public Health: Nurses can use their knowledge and skills to promote public health policies, such as vaccination programs, disease prevention, and healthy lifestyle promotion.
- Healthcare Reform: Nurses can use their experience to inform policymakers about the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare industry and advocate for policies that promote healthcare reform.
- Legislative Influence: Nurses can serve as powerful advocates and influencers on legislation related to healthcare and other issues that impact patient care and the nursing profession.
- Social Justice: Nurses can use their platform to advocate for social justice issues, such as healthcare disparities, poverty, and discrimination.
How can a nurse leader demonstrate political competence?
- Stay Informed: Nurse leaders should stay up-to-date on current events, legislative changes, and policy developments related to healthcare and the nursing profession. This can be achieved through reading news articles, attending conferences, and networking with other healthcare professionals.
- Build Relationships: Nurse leaders should build relationships with policymakers, healthcare stakeholders, and other influential individuals in their community. This can be achieved through attending political events, participating in advocacy groups, and joining professional organizations.
- Advocate: Nurse leaders should advocate for policies and legislation that promote the nursing profession, improve patient care, and advance public health. This can be achieved through writing letters to legislators, testifying before committees, and meeting with policymakers.
- Collaborate: Nurse leaders should collaborate with other healthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups, and community organizations to achieve common goals. This can be achieved through forming coalitions, working on joint projects, and participating in interdisciplinary teams.
- Communicate: Nurse leaders should communicate effectively with stakeholders, including policymakers, healthcare professionals, patients, and the public. This can be achieved through developing clear and concise messages, using appropriate communication channels, and being responsive to feedback.
- Lead by Example: Nurse leaders should lead by example and demonstrate political competence through their actions and behaviors. This can include modeling ethical and professional behavior, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and advocating for social justice and equity.
Nursing role in legislation and law making
- Advocate for Patients: Nurses can use their expertise to advocate for policies that protect patient rights, improve access to healthcare services, and promote patient safety. This can include advocating for laws that address healthcare disparities, patient privacy, and medical malpractice.
- Influence Policy: Nurses can work with policymakers to develop and implement policies that promote the nursing profession, such as improving working conditions, increasing salaries, and promoting continuing education opportunities.
- Serve on Advisory Boards: Nurses can serve on advisory boards and committees to provide input on healthcare policy decisions. This can include serving on state nursing boards, healthcare quality improvement organizations, and community health committees.
- Lobby for Change: Nurses can lobby their elected representatives to support policies and legislation that benefit the nursing profession and promote public health. This can include writing letters, making phone calls, and visiting elected officials to express their concerns and provide input.
- Educate the Public: Nurses can educate the public about healthcare issues and policies through public speaking engagements, writing articles, and participating in community outreach programs.