This discussion post will explain the opportunities for Registered Nurses (RN) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to actively participate in the healthcare policy-making process, challenges they may face and how to get over them, and recommendations for better advocacy of selected opportunities.
Nursing is the largest profession in the United States, implying that nurses can impact healthcare and improve quality of life and healthcare accessibility. Laureate Education, 2018 asserts that nursing is beyond caregiving, and it involves advancing healthcare to all levels of society through policy formulation, advocacy, and implementation. RNs and APRNs can influence policy-making at any level, local, state, or federal. RN and APRNs are in the frontline in providing care to patients hence fostering community primary preventive care.
Joining professional organization associations is one way RN/APRNs can participate in healthcare policy-making at the state and federal levels. These professional organizations consist of expert professional nurses with grassroots ideas of patients’ healthcare needs and work proactively to ensure those needs are met. American Nurses Association (ANA) has for decades fought for meaningful healthcare reform to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality healthcare (ANA. (n.d.). 2018). In addition, professional organizations/associations are well-organized groups that play an essential role in advancing public health and have lobbyists at the state and federal level who help push through healthcare policies to legislators (Mathews,2012).
Consequently, RN and APRNs can also participate in local policy-making by writing to their local representative on improving healthcare at local healthcare facilities and clinics. Moreover, RN/APRNs’ participation in town hall meetings and community engagement in health matters can help influence proposed healthcare policies at the local level.
Some of the challenges faced by RN/APRNs during the policy-making process include; lack of platform in political positions, finances, time, and opposers of particular policies. The professional organization usually charges monthly and annual fees in order to remain active. With the high cost of living, it is not easy to keep up with basic needs and set funds aside for professional organizations’ or associations’ demands. Additionally, it is time-consuming to participate in policy-making, but a lack of political connections with the legislature at any level can hinder participation. Writing to legislatures and not getting feedback on the recipient of the written proposal or ideas can also be frustrating.
Having a good rapport with our leaders, being knowledgeable of issues that need to be addressed, asking for recommendations from healthcare policy opposers, and getting feedback from colleagues and the beneficiaries of the proposed policy will help policy formulation (Laureate, 2018 b).
America Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Advocacy. Retrieved September 20,2018, from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/advocacy/
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018 a). Health policy and politics [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018 b). Getting your Program Designed and Implemented [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Matthews J.H. (2012). Role of professional organizations in advocating for the nursing profession. Online journal of issues in nursing, 17(1),3.