Discussion-Week 9 NURS 6050
Role of the RN/ APRN in Policy Evaluation
Healthcare policy dictates what happens in the healthcare landscape both in the state and nationally. To a large extent, healthcare policy is legislative and it affects all healthcare professionals. Registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses or APRNs are particularly intimately affected by these policies affecting healthcare. It has therefore always been important for RNs and APRNs to participate in policy making in their policy-making capacity (Arabi et al., 2014). This is to ensure that the interests of RNs and APRNs are represented and addressed by these policies. But participation in policy making is not enough or the end. Just as the RNs are required to participate in policy making, they are also expected to take part in policy review (Ellenbecker et al., 2017). This is to find out if the particular policy is serving the interests of those it was intended to serve. This discussion paper is about the role of the RN and the APRN in healthcare policy evaluation.Discussion-Week 9 NURS 6050
Two Current Opportunities for RNs and APRNs to Participate in Policy Review
There are several opportunities available for nurses (RNs and APRNs) to participate and contribute in healthcare policy review. Two of these opportunities stand out. The first one at both the state and federal level is through lobbying as a member of a professional nursing organization (Brokaw, 2016). Professional nursing organizations in the United States such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) usually have strong lobbying strategies. These enable them to present policy views and positions to the U.S. Capitol where the government sits and where the legislature is found. The legislature is the major policy forming and policy review body in any country. Being a member of a professional nursing organization affords nurses that united and singular voice that represents their policy interests to the government.
The second opportunity for policy review by RNs and APRNs is for nurses to write directly to their elected representatives with their healthcare policy review recommendations (Brokaw, 2016). This may require scheduling an appointment with and meeting the elected representative. The nurse doing this must however do enough investigating before meeting the representative. This is important for successful participation in policy review. They must know the party affiliation of the member, their views on healthcare issues, and their voting patterns within the legislature.Discussion-Week 9 NURS 6050
Challenges Presented by the Opportunities
The two opportunities above are not without challenges (Toofany, 2005). First and foremost, the lobbying strategy through professional nursing organizations does not have guarantees. It depends on the pressure piled on representatives to alter particular policy matters, which sometimes may not work. For example, at the state level the issue of scope of practice for APRNs is a very thorny nursing policy issue. Many professional nursing organizations in different states have lobbied for many years for a full practice authority (FPA) policy. Yet, still almost half of all the states have retained a reduced or restricted practice policy for APRNs. Overcoming the lobbying challenge may require that nurses seek active elective positions within the legislature. This will allow them to fight from within on the policy making table. The other challenge is with writing to the representative. They may receive the written communication and choose to ignore or disregard it, and the nurse writing may have very few options left. Overcoming the challenge of writing to the representative and being at their mercy requires the formulation of a structured way of engaging the elected representatives. This should be put into the law to make it obligatory.
Strategies for Advocating and Communicating the Existence of the Opportunities
One of the strategies for advocating for and communicating the existence of the above two strategies is to make the policy formulation topic a subject in the professional development initiatives in professional nursing organizations. The other strategy is to have speakers make podium presentations around the state to sensitize members of professional nursing organizations of the presence of these two opportunities for policy review.
Arabi, A., Rafii, F., Cheraghi, M.A., & Ghiyasvandian, S. (2014). Nurses’ policy influence: A concept analysis. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 19(3), 315-322. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061635/
Brokaw, J.J. (September 22, 2016). The nursing profession’s potential impact on policy and politics. My American Nurse. https://www.myamericannurse.com/nursing-professions-potential-impact-policy-politics/
Ellenbecker, C.H., Fawcett, J., Jones, E.J., Mahoney, D., Rowlands, B., Waddell, A. (2017). A staged approach to educating nurses in health policy. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/1527154417709254
Toofany, S. (2005). Nurses and health policy. Nursing Management, 12(3), 26-30. https://doi.org/10.7748/nm2005.06.12.3.26.c2028
Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation
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?Discussion-Week 9 NURS 6050
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.
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.Discussion-Week 9 NURS 6050