NR 554 WEEK 6 DISCUSSION QUESTION WITH ANSWERS
Nurse Advocate Power
NR554: Nurse Leader in Healthcare Policy
Nursing leaders are under pressure to share their professional expertise. What is your obligation as a professional nurse to advocate for healthcare policy issues? What are the influences that impact nursing advocacy in the healthcare policy realm? What skills should you gain to successfully advocate for change?
Week 6: Nurse Advocate Power
The American Nurses Association (ANA) believes advocacy is the heart and soul of nursing practice (American Nurses Association, n.d.). Professional nurses can advocate for patients and healthcare policy issues at state and federal legislative levels by sharing their patient-care experiences with policymakers. For example, I meet with Nick Ciofani, the District Director for Congressman David Joyce, to advocate for advocate for budget-neutral solutions including refocused social awareness campaigns, mental health treatment outreach initiatives, retargeted approaches to public employment services for sufferers of mental illness, youth mental health education, and the presence of child psychologists at public schools to both provide initial treatment for students who experience mental illnesses and act as a liaison between students, guardians, teachers, and external mental health resources. During this meeting, I shared my personal and professional experiences with those suffering from mental health illness. It is the moral and professional obligation of nursing professionals to be engaged in legislation that impacts their patients. When nurses influence the politics that improve the delivery of healthcare, they are ultimately advocating for their patients.
Nurses recognize the importance of policy-making in the health sector and their influence on this process and on positive patients’ outcomes. Nursing professionals aim to provide safe, effective and compassionate care to patients and their families. Patient safety and satisfaction, increased quality of care, positive patient outcomes, access to services, and health disparities motivate nurse’s take action and find opportunities to influence change in the health care system and political arena. (Abood, 2007; Arabi, Rafii, Ali Cheraghi, & Ghiyasvandian, 2014).
Providing assessable, quality, cost-effective healthcare has the potential to improve outcomes related quality and quantity of life. Health policies addressing these issues become important in attaining and supporting positive health outcomes. Nursing professionals understand the healthcare arena and are able to advocate for change that will improve the safety and efficacy of healthcare delivery.
Professional nurses’ educational preparation may contribute to their level of
political involvement. According to the American Associations College of Nursing to be involved in the political arena and influence policy changes the master’s prepared nurse “must understand the fiscal context in which they are practicing and make the linkages among policy, financing, and access to quality health care” (2011). The master’s prepared graduate “must understand the principles of healthcare economics, finance, payment, methods, and the relationships between policy and health economics” (American Associations College of Nursing, 2011). It is up to the nursing professional to decide on the advocacy strategies they think will be effective, that they feel comfortable doing, and that is realistic given their time and energy.
Abood, S. (2007). Influencing health care in the legislative arena. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1).
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011, March 21). The Essentials of 	Master’s Education in Nursing. Retrieved from
American Nurses Association. (n.d.) Advocacy. Retrieved from
Arabi, A., Rafii, F., Ali Cheraghi, M., & Ghiyasvandian, S. (2014). Nurses' policy influence: A concept analysis. Iranian Journal Of Nursing & Midwifery Research, 19(3), 315-322.
PROFESSOR RESPONSE TO POST:
Excellent points Carole! We want all 3.6M of us, nurses in the US, to engage at the organizational, local, state and national advocacy levels. What user-friendly tools may we share with nurses to facilitate their policy engagement at all levels?
RESPONSE TO PROFESSOR:
Thanks to a technologically advanced society and easy access to digital sources of communication, social media is becoming an increasingly effective, wide-ranging tool for nurses. As change agents’ nurses are called upon to disseminate our knowledge using various forms of media. When used correctly, social media is an important tool that medical professionals in promoting collaboration, connection, and conversation in the healthcare dialog with health policy leaders to promote change. Nurses should assume a leadership role in creating and sharing timely and accurate health information through the social media to the public and policy decision-makers. Nurses can capitalize on social media as an excellent tool for creating awareness about health promotion and disease prevention, health awareness campaigns, drug safety alerts, resource connection, or educational information (Ressler & Glazer, 2010). According to Leroy, Harber, and Revere (2016), since Twitter started, approximately fifteen percent of the population worldwide subscribes to it. Twitter can be an effective way to create a health-related conversation with the public or get a healthcare-related topic trending. Social media is also a powerful tool for advocacy. Nurses are able to connect with each other from a national level to a global level to advocate for their profession and their patients.
Leroy, G., Harber, P., & Revere, D. (2016). Public sharing of medical advice using social media: An analysis of Twitter. Grey Journal (TGJ), 12(2), 104-113.
Ressler, P., Glazer, G., (2010 October 22). Legislative: Nursing’s engagement in health policy and healthcare through social media. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing,16(1).
RESPONSE TO PEER POST:
Thank you for your post regarding nursing advocacy. Nurses can become better advocates by continually gaining more knowledge of current health and patient care issues. It is important to consider becoming active in one or more professional nursing organizations and participating in the local and national discussion regarding the future of healthcare. As professionals, we need to understand the laws and regulations governing out practice in order to be effective in our advocacy efforts. It is important for nurses to work together, across employment settings and roles, to advocate on behalf of colleagues and the profession. According to Tomajan, “an effective advocate influences decision-makers by building a case for the desired change, backing the case with facts and data, and putting a human face on the issue using a compelling visual image” (2012). Kudos to you for taking the first step in becoming an effective advocate by writing your local congressman to support compact nursing licensure.
Tomajan, K. (2012 January 31). Advocating for nurses and nursing. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 16(1).