ORIGINAL QUESTION: https://www.congress.gov/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.
The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making
Every nurse should be involved in policy-making as most of the policies being implemented affect them. There are various opportunities that exist for APRNs and RNs to actively take part in policymaking (Congress.gov. 2019). The first opportunity that APRNS and RNs have to participate in policy-making is through advocacy. According to the advocacy principles, any person affected by a given policy has the rights of expressing his opinion without limitations. APRNs and RNs should understand that they have the opportunity to express their opinions on any policy that might affect them. The advocacy opportunity ensures that there is no any nurse who is denied the opportunity to express his/her opinion on a certain policy (Trueland, 2017).
The second opportunity held by the APRNs and RNs to be involved in policy-making is through leadership. An APRN or RN has a leadership role which demands participation in policy-making (Congress.gov. 2019). APRNs and RNs should question the policy formulation, implementation and any other policy process confidently. In case an APRN or an RN has any issue or question concerning a certain policy, he/she can inform the leaders about it.
There are a number of challenges that are bound to face the advocacy opportunity for the APRNs and RNs. First, there are issues with gender equality when it comes to advocacy. There are times when male APRNs and RNs can be denied the chance of expressing their ideas and opinions on a given policy especially if it is meant for women (Trueland, 2017). Secondly, there is the challenge of competition for resources when it comes to the advocacy opportunity. The opportunity for leadership roles held by APRNs and RNs also has its challenges (Trueland, 2017). First, there is the challenge of varying leadership styles and skills as different leaders have varying leadership styles and believes. Moreover, there is the challenge of communication as some organizations may not have the right communication channels where the APRNs and RNs can air their concerns regarding a given policy (Congress.gov. 2019).
There are a number of recommendations that can be used to advocate better or communicate the existence of the opportunities for APRNS and RNs in policy-making. First, there is effective training (Trueland, 2017). It is crucial for all the nurses to be trained and educated on the rights that they have when it comes to policy-making. Secondly, nurses should always promote and advocate for good leadership. With good leadership, the APRNs and RNs have the room to air their opinions and ideas when it comes to policy-making. Third, nurses should be seekers of information and ensure that they use their professional groups to air their opinions and ideas when it comes to policy-making (Trueland, 2017).
ABOVE IS MY DISCUSSION IN A POST. BELOW IS A QUESTION ASKED TO ME. I NEED ASSISTANCE RESPONDING TO THIS QUESTION WITH AT LEAST 2 REFERENCES
As you suggest, it is important for nurses to participate in policy-making is through advocacy and leadership. You identify problems related to advocacy such as gender equality and limited resources and the use of training and education are needed to encourage and support policy making. What approach is a priority to gain buy-in from key stakeholders to promote needed change in policy? What resources and support would you suggest to assist and support nurses related to training and education to support efforts in policy making?
Nurses are in a unique position to influence policy. Nurses are problem solvers and communicators, and possess the ability to gather data, mobilize groups, and juggle demands which makes nurses natural policy makers (Ludwick, Zalon, Patton, 2014). Nurses can participate in policy making by contacting and lobbying legislators to change policy and support legislation (Kaplan, 2014). According to Jurns (2019), nursing is the largest health care profession and the most trusted which makes nurses powerful when it comes to impacting policy, and nursing expertise, knowledge, and experience offer meaningful input for making policy decisions. The main challenge for nurses when approaching legislators is a lack of confidence in communicating with policy makers, but legislators are interested in what nurses have to say about current topics (Bliss, 2015). Nurses can meet with legislators by phone, appointment, or lobby days at his or her state capitol where the goal is to build trust in order to make legislators feel comfortable sharing thoughts and questions (Bliss, 2015). Being present and advocating for issues that are important to nursing practice is one way to effect change in policy.
Another opportunity for policy change in nursing is being a member of a nursing organizations such as American Nurses Association (ANA). The ANA is affiliated with 21 other nursing organizations and has relationships with over 60 nursing organizations through the Nursing Organizations Alliance and is able to make recommendations for appointing policy positions in government agencies (Ludwik, Zalon, Patton, 2014). The National Quality Forum (NQF) brings together health care professionals, consumers, providers, and public health groups to influence priorities and goals for performance improvement and measurement (Ludwik, Zalon, Patton, 2014). Perceived lack of time and skill is a challenge in policy making. According to Jurns (2019), using SBAR (situation, background, assessment, and recommendation) to meet national health care goals is as effective as using SBAR to meet goals in patient care, and offers nurses a template for communicating and interacting with legislators and other health care professionals to guide policy decisions. It’s important that nurses support other health care professionals and legislators through educating and advocating for policy that best serves our patients, families, and communities.
Being a nurse isn’t always about the hands-on care that we provide. It’s also about the opportunities that arise outside of work. To be influential, nurses must see themselves as professionals with the responsibility to influence current and future healthcare delivery systems (Burke,2016).
The first and in my opinion, the most significant opportunity to actively participate in policy-making is through our knowledge. We, as nurses, are on the front line daily taking care of patients. We know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to not only providing our patients with the best care possible but also advocating for them. With this knowledge, we can go to our local or state representatives and be the voice and advocate for them. Nurses policy influence is done by influencing decisions and affairs related to health through knowledge, communication, and collaboration with other members of the health team, resulting in improvements of nurse’s job environment and increases patient outcomes (Arabi, A., Rafili, F., Cheraghi, M.A., & Ghiyasvandian, S. 2014).
The second opportunity held by nurses is the opportunity to belong to a nursing organization. Nursing organizations not only allow nurses the opportunity to stay current in our field, network with other nurses but also allow for representation in the state house on critical issues along with a voice in policy making (Greggs-McQuilkin, 2005). According to our book, in the last decade of the 20thcentury, nurse groups were just emerging as actors in policy networks (Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. 2019). If a nurse doesn’t feel comfortable seeking out other opportunities to participate in policy-making such as talking with local leaders, joining an organization can be viewed as a less aggressive but equally as important approach.
Like anything in politics, there can be numerous challenges that we, as nurses may face while advocating for new policies. Regarding reaching out to your local or state representative, the challenge may be not only how to get a hold of them, but also not feeling comfortable reaching out to them. A nurse may overcome these challenges by first going to the local courthouse and requesting contact information for local representatives. However, most everyone’s contact information is now located online with multiple options on how they can be reached. If a person doesn’t feel comfortable reaching out, my suggestion would be to team up with another nurse that has the same views or concerns and see if they will be the voice for the group. The second challenge is that joining a national nursing organization comes with a fee. To overcome this challenge, it’s suggested that you find a less expensive organization or wait till they offer promotions. However, this is money well spent with numerous opportunities.
Two strategies that can help better advocate for communicating the existence of these opportunities are education during nursing school and continued education throughout our nursing career. I feel it’s important that during nursing school, we not only learn about the benefits of being involved in nursing politics but also the benefits of joining nursing organizations. I never learned about these until after I became a nurse and now realize how much organizations can do for me. Lastly, I would like to see that every two years when I renew my nursing license, I also receive a list of local politicians to contact with concerns. I believe this could be a simple and extremely beneficial option as these individuals are always changing.
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