Posted: December 1st, 2022
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?
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 Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN 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.
Opportunity for Policy Review
Nursing is a profession where employees must provide hands-on care while obeying ever-changing healthcare policies. Nurses are built to adapt to anything thrown their way. Each hospital system has a unique set of healthcare policies that work in conjunction with national and state policies. Registered nurses (RN) work within these set healthcare policies each day with their patients. Due to the hands-on utilization of each policy, they are the perfect candidate for the review of old and new policies Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
A second opportunity for registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to participate in policy review is by actively joining nursing organizations. These organizations often have members who are solely dedicated to healthcare legislation and lobbying. “Groups such as the Association of Public Health Nurses encourage RNs to advocate for health care policies and provide resources on how to do so. The APHN breaks advocacy into three components: ‘creating policies where they are needed when none exist, reforming harmful or ineffective policies, [and] ensuring good policies are implemented and enforced’” (Regis College, n.d.).
Challenges and Overcoming Challenges
Challenges that arise for registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses when participating in policy review include a lack of understanding of the specifics of policy writing. It can become an intimidating task to review or challenge an enacted policy when nurses or APRNs do not feel they have a full grasp of the policy making process (Safari et al., 2020) Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
A second challenge nurses and APRNs face when participating in health care policy review is a sense of lack of influence over policy change (Jurnes, 2019). When part of a large hospital system, it can be easy to feel as if one voice is not heard. This can deter RNs and APRNs from voicing their thoughts of necessary change to policy.
Strategies for Advocacy and Opportunities
An easy and effective strategy for advocating for nurses in the healthcare policy review arena is by increasing the amount of nurses or advanced practice registered nurses in the spotlight of change. “Although nurses do receive public accolades as the “most trusted” profession, they tend to be less visible than physicians in media coverage, public policy, and political communities” (Florida Center for Nursing, 2014). Increasing the awareness to the public that nurses play a vital role in policy making and policy review can encourage other nurses to become active participants in change Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
A second strategy to communicate the opportunity for RNs and APRNs to participate in healthcare policy review is by holding seminars within each hospital system. These educational seminars can provide information to nurses regarding their options for involvement. Members from local, regional and national nursing organizations active in policy review may also be present at these seminars to discuss opportunities and get nurses active Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
Florida Center for Nurses. (2014). Addressing barriers in leadership for nurses. Florida Center for Nursing. https://campaignforaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Addressing-Barriers-in-Leadership-for-Nurses-FL.pdf
Jurnes, C. (2019, September 6). Policy advocacy motivators and barriers: Research results and applications. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. https://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-24-2019/No3-Sept-2019/Articles-Previous-Topics/Policy-Advocacy-Motivators-Barriers.html
Regis College. (n.d.). How does nursing influence health care policy? Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/how-does-nursing-influence-health-care-policy/
Safari B., Masoumeh, Bahadori, Mohammadkarim, Alimohammadzadeh, Khalil. (2020, August). The related factors of nurses’ participation and perceived benefits and barriers in health policy making. Wolters Kluwer. https://journals.lww.com/jnr-twna/fulltext/2020/08000/the_related_factors_of_nurses__participation_and.6.aspx
Respond to at least two of your colleagues* on two different days by suggesting additional opportunities or recommendations for overcoming the challenges described by your colleagues Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
I definitely agree that nurses at “the bedside” are the most suitable for collaboration in policy design, implementation, and evaluation. In The Importance of program evaluation (Laureate, 2018), the importance of effective versus efficiency is discussed, because nurses are the ones that have to adhere to the policies so they see first-hand if the new policy is effective or not. Without nurse’s inclusion and support on a new policy, the likelihood of it being implemented properly is low. In my original post I also touch on education and collaboration being challenges for nurses in the policy process. Not all nurses have the ability to obtain higher education to learn about the policy process through their school, so offering something internally by nurse leaders at an institution would provide nurses an opportunity to gain more insight and feel more empowered to be involved. Turale and & Kunaviktikul (2019) discuss the importance of educating nurses about the policy process by providing them with policy training programs so nurses can confidently collaborate with other healthcare providers to help shape policies Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Importance of program evaluation [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Turale, S., & Kunaviktikul, W. (2019). The contribution of nurses to health policy and advocacy requires leaders to provide training and mentorship. International Nursing Review, 66(3), 302-304. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12550
I agree that nurses have little influence over policy changes. I have noticed throughout my time working in hospitals that management tends to make decisions with very little input from the nurses and their support staff. Often times my experience has been that changes are implemented with very little notice that the change is going into effect. Without nursing’s input to policy development sometimes these policies end up being ineffective or ignored at times (Bowers, 2020). It is important to ensure that policy changes are based on the latest evidence based research and nurses need to be educated on the policy change why the evidence indicates this is an effective change (Villumsen et al., 2019).
Bowers, B. (2020). Improving practice and informing policy development: The impact of gerontological nursing research. Geriatric Nursing, 41(1), 32–37. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2020.01.010
Villumsen, S., Faxvaag, A., & Nøhr, C. (2019). Development and Progression in Danish eHealth Policies: Towards Evidence-Based Policy Making. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 264, 1075–1079. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.3233/SHTI190390
sample response 3
Nurses are caregivers and advocates for their patients; they are not scared to voice and stand for the rights of their patients. Nurses are implementors of policies and are not policymakers.
Nurses are strong in numbers as there are over 4 million nurses in the USA (ANA, n.d.). Therefore, nurses should be encouraged to participate in politics to create change as there is power in number.
Some of the challenges nurses face are lack of political knowledge, time to participate in politics, support and respect from the workplace or other healthcare professionals, i.e., physicians, and motivation. In addition, to overcome these challenges, I agree with you. Nurses need to be respected and supported by other healthcare professionals in other for the public to have a different perception of nurses. Nurses should not only be viewed as caregivers but also as equal contributors to the healthcare profession. Nurses spend more time at work, and so they should be given opportunities to participate in the policy-making process of the organization where they work Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation.
In addition to your strategies, mentorship of nurses in policy making process should also be encouraged. Research has shown a strong correlation between increased political knowledge and mentorship (Montalvo & Byrne, 2016).
American Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Advocacy. Retrieved April 26, 2021,
Montalvo, W., & Byrne, M. W. (2016). Mentoring nurses in political skill to navigate organizational
politics. Nursing Research and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/3975634 Discussion: The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation
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