Nurses form the largest group in the healthcare industry. Their direct touch with patients further makes their input valuable when formulating healthcare policies. Their involvement is vital since the policies influence their daily activities. This is from patient interaction, healthcare service delivery, and workplace dynamics. So, as a nurse, how can you influence healthcare policy-making? Here are some of the paths nurses can use to impact the policy-making process.
Pursuing higher education is a sure-fire way to scale your nursing career ladder. As a nurse, you need to keep learning, not just to meet the continuing education (CE) requirements. The healthcare industry is constantly advancing. By pursuing higher and continuing education, you are best positioned to keep up with the changes. The good news is that you have enough resources to leverage. You can pursue higher education and get recognized accreditation with practical study tips for nursing students. This scales your career and positions you in a spot to influence healthcare policy-making.
For example, with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), you can easily gain a seat on the nursing policy table. This is because the education milestone demonstrates your commitment to advancing the healthcare industry and your expertise in the field. You are seen as a thought leader, making your input more valuable. You can take part and influence policy-making at any educational level. Nonetheless, pursuing higher nursing education gives you an edge.
Advocate for the patients
Nurses interact more with patients than any group in the healthcare industry. They are better positioned to understand how healthcare policies impact the patients. With such exposure, nurses can advocate for the patients and influence policy-making to account more for their needs. For instance, nurses can inform policymakers about the standards of care and technologies that benefit the patients more. This ranges from:
- Patients’ safety
- Solutions’ affordability
Such information helps policymakers adopt strategies geared towards improved healthcare based on patients’ perspectives.
Nurses’ firsthand experience provides expert input that legislators would hardly gather from observing trends. Your participation can help adopt policies that enable nurses to focus more on patient care in a safer environment. This includes considerations such as:
- Promoting workplace safety
- Advocating for optimized staffing and supply of essential equipment
- Calling for more support to help nurses develop professionally, to mention a few areas
Nurses are at the frontline when considering such elements. Their input can influence policy-making and make it easier to deliver quality healthcare services.
Nurses can influence healthcare policy-making by educating the community. This includes the local and national levels. In your community, for example, you can take part in educating local governments. This is in settings such as during city council meetings. In addition, a nurse can simplify scientific details. This makes it easier for laypeople to understand. This influences their view, shaping the policy-making policy. They can also leverage their expertise to separate facts from fiction. This is essential in ensuring that the policymakers rely on solid information affecting the healthcare industry.
Public health education does a lot more than influence policy making. It has been clear during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Nurses play a critical role in informing the public. They help dispel falsehood and myths associated with:
- Virus and its spread
- Measures in place to curb the pandemic, among other areas
Since they are at the center of service delivery, nurses are best suited to educate the community. They can also influence policy-making to ensure they respond to pressing needs.
While apparent, nursing organizations deserve mention. The organizations strive to empower nurses, ensuring their voices are heard. They speak in one voice, making it easier to influence legislators and garner public support. They also provide the needed mentorship. This helps nurses to:
- Gain more experience
- Learn how to lobby policymakers
- Run campaigns
- Manage public speaking, among other considerations
There are many professional nursing organizations. This makes it easier for nurses to join, matching their goals and specialization areas.
Healthcare is among the most critical industries in any nation. As various stakeholders continue to look for ways to improve healthcare’s accessibility, efficiency, and affordability, nurses’ input can’t take the backseat. Nurses with solid academic backgrounds and field experience are best positioned to offer reliable information, influencing policy making for improved healthcare. Legislators draft laws and regulations but rely on subject experts to make informed decisions. Nurses are at the heart of healthcare, meaning their input is crucial in policy making.