07/20/2020 – Original Post
If I were to input word into a nursing word cloud describing a nurse, I would choose the following: Dedicated, Leader, Advocate, Empathetic, Caring, Scholar, Organized, Powerful, Smart, Decisive. My list could go on and complete this entire paper. Before this class, I will be honest; I never thought much about politics and policies from a nursing perspective. I have since joined the American Nurses Association (ANA). Upon reviewing their website, I saw many statements that encouraged me to join and become an active member. Nurses instinctively advocate for their patients, their workplaces, and their communities. Still, legislative and political advocacy is no less critical to advancing the profession and patient care (American Nurses Association, n.d.). As a Nurse, I have always stated and believed I should advocate for my patients and colleagues; I just was not sure until now how to make significant changes. Every Nurse and APRN should familiarize themselves with a Nursing association, at least spend some time looking around the webpages and learning what they do for patients and colleagues, spending some time researching the changes they advocate for and the difference made. If policies were made only by politicians, they would lack the clinical and empathetic portion. Public policy related to financing health care not only must assure access and quality but also bend the cost curve downward (Milstead & Short, 2019). Politicians are lovely at the cost curve portion, but how would they have the background to understand if the access and quality of care are being hindered? Nurses and APRNs can also choose to be involved by writing their local legislative members. You can handwrite or e-mail; sending them information, stories, or the reason you are advocating can go a long way.
I think one challenge nurses and APRN might be afraid of when they think about getting involved in politics and the making of policies is the time consumption. As it is nurses work long hours, only one state right now limits the number of hours a nurse can work; the rest are often mandated numerous overtime shifts a week, and still must have time for family and life. By becoming involved through an organization such as ANA, you are not alone. You can partake as much as you have time. Any nurse who is interested in influencing the policy process, even one with limited time and resources, can find a way to become a confident advocate (Abood, 2007). A second challenge, as mentioned previously, is a lack of knowledge on how to get involved. I think more nursing programs and APRN programs need to teach students Health policies and politics courses. Education is critical and understanding makes items less intimidating. The big world of politics is less scary if you are not going into it alone.
Abood, S. (2007, January). Influencing health care in the legislative arena. OJIN: The Online
Journal of Issues in Nursing. https://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume122007/No1Jan07/tpc32_216091.aspx
American Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Advocacy. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.).
Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Ashley Novak RE: Discussion – Week 8COLLAPSE
Week 8 – Main Post
There are many opportunities that exist for RN’s and APRN’s to actively participate in policy-making. The first opportunity I found was for APRN’s to write their state or federal legislators regarding a health policy bill that they are passionate about. Since we are on the front-lines with the patient’s we can share personal stories that might influence the legislators. Another opportunity would be to join nursing organizations that lobby on behalf of patients, such as the AANP. Nurses are able to join health policy committees within some of these organizations and offer personal experiences to support a bill (Chilton, 2015).
Some of the challenges I could see would be that many legislators don’t have any experience in healthcare and they might have a hard time understanding where the nurse is coming from. I think this is a good opportunity for nurses to continue to educate. “Nurses are articulate experts who can address both the rational shaping of policy and the emotional aspects of the process (Milstead, 2016, p. 15).
Some other barriers for nurses include lack of involvement and negative image of nursing. Strategies that can help is for nurses to gain confidence and experience in nursing policy and legislation. The more we know, the more we can become confident to legislators. The other strategy is to encourage more nursing to gain this knowledge and confidence (Shariff, 2014). There is always power in numbers and I have realized in this course how important it will be to be involved in nursing policy.
Chilton, L. (2015). Nurse practitioners have an essential role in health policy. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 11(2), A19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2014.10.009
Milstead, J. A. (2016). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (health policy and politics) (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Shariff, N. (2014). Factors that act as facilitators and barriers to nurse leaders’ participation in health policy development. BMC Nursing, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6955-13-20
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