Assignment: RN as Healthcare Policy Leader
Assignment: RN as Healthcare Policy Leader
As a health policy professional leader, communicating with lay audiences is an important skill in promoting the health of the community for master prepared registered nurses. Develop a concise position statement reflecting the research findings and recommendations by experts as they relate to workplace support for breast feeding mothers, medical marijuana services in the community, genetic testing or applications of stem cell research, transgender care, abortion, end-of-life care, or a community service administered by Family Nurse Practitioners (if you pick this one be specific about the type of community service the FNP would work in or manage).Assignment: RN as Healthcare Policy Leader
In her presidential call to action for the 2015-17 biennium, Cathy Catrambone, PhD, RN, FAAN, called all members of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) to “Influence to Advance Global Health & Nursing” in four areas: 1) advocacy, 2) policy, 3) lifelong learning, and 4) philanthropy. This second of a six-part series on President Catrambone’s call addresses influence through policy.
To be influential, nurses must see themselves as professionals with the capacity and responsibility to influence current and future healthcare delivery systems. The nursing profession is based on the science of human health and the science of caring. It operates from a framework that values all people in a holistic way and seeks to foster and advance people’s health throughout their lifespans and across all levels of society.
Burke_Sheila_ID_embed_SFWTo achieve these objectives, 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 shape the care that will be provided today and tomorrow. Policies also impact resource allocation to support delivery of healthcare.
More than ever, nurses are present in every healthcare setting and possess a unique role in formulating policy. The Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recognized the importance of this role and called for nurses to take leadership in improving the quality of healthcare.
Many of the leading nursing organizations promote active participation by nurses in policy formulation. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing emphasizes the role of nursing in policy and identifies, in its “Essentials” documents, the expected policy involvement that should be addressed in educational programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels of professional nursing, including advanced practice. The National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association also expect nurses to address policy as part of their professional role.
Collaborative policy work
One example of nurse leaders working together to address health policy issues at a national and global level involved collaboration between nursing leaders from Ireland and Singapore. In 2013, Swee Hia Lim, MN, RN, DSc (hon.), president of the Singapore Nurses Association, met with Liam Doran, MA, RGN, RMHN, leader of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization, to discuss issues affecting nursing and midwifery, both nationally and globally.
Together, Lim and Doran examined how the work of nurses and midwives impacts quality of care for individuals and families throughout the world. Both professions actively participate in health policy decision-making processes, ultimately benefiting patient outcomes. These two leaders recognized, however, it was necessary to have a strong and effective structure for effective change to occur and that the process also required clear definition and communication of practice issues involved—from direct delivery of nursing and midwifery care to the patient to the more operational, strategic delivery of healthcare and policy development at regional and national levels. By working together to influence policies, these nurse leaders increased contributions of both professions—nurses and midwives—thereby helping bridge disparities between political strategic direction and actual clinical practice.Assignment: RN as Healthcare Policy Leader
STTI’s commitment to policy
STTI has long been a force for shaping policy and has worked with nursing and governmental organizations to advance policies that promote world health. The honor society also promotes member participation in policy work across local, regional, and global levels of healthcare. The organization makes its commitment to policy formulation clear on its website: “Since the work of Florence Nightingale, nurses have helped shape public, health and nursing policy. Visionary nurse leaders understood the consequences of the social, political and economic factors on the health and well being of the public. Today nurses continue to make an important contribution to planning and decision-making, and to the development of appropriate and effective public, health and nursing policy on all levels.”
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