Policy review begins as the policy is being planned whereby the key stakeholders are engaged in discussions to determine their interest and degree of buy-in on the development of the proposed policy (Milstead & Short, 2019 pp.120). Stakeholders hold an influential position in the implementation of decisions and by engaging stakeholders, nurses can demonstrate how a policy will affect the profession and patient outcomes (Lemke & Harris-Wai, 2015). Two ways registered nurses (RN) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) can engage stakeholders is through professional nursing organizations (PNO) and through the workplace.
When it comes to initiating policy change, all it takes is one nurse to make a difference. While one nurse can point out an area of concern, it can often take more resources than that one nurse can provide. This is where PNOs come in. PNOs have the ability to incorporate multiple nurses and specialties to provide research and position statements that allow them to fight on the political front for all nurses (Castallo, Spalding, & Haghiri-Vijeh, 2014). PNOs have spent years learning how the system works and how best to get the voices of millions of nurses heard. When it comes to government level changes, PNOs are the best option in exacting change.
If the issue is localized to your organization, then the best way to get involved would be to join hospital level committees. Learn as much as you can about the processes to determine how to bring forth your issue(s) and who to bring them to. Having a basic knowledge of your organizations priorities and policy advocacy processes will help to establish better outcomes (MacDonald, Edwards, Davies, & et al, 2012).
With policy advocacy, there are a multitude of reasons that deter nurses from becoming involved. With the vast number of nurses employed within the United States, it is our voices that need to be heard. Us. “If nurses don’t stand up for issues that are important to us, those with competing interests in healthcare may be the only ones whose voices are heard” (Oestberg, 2012).
Catallo, C., Spalding, K., & Haghiri-Vajeh, R. (2014). Nursing professional organizations: What are they doing to engage nurses in health policy? Sage Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244014560534
Lemke, A.A. & Harris-Wai, J.N. (2015). Stakeholder engagement in policy development: Challenges and opportunities for human genomics. Genetics in Medicine, 17(12), 949-957. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2Fgim.2015.8
MacDonald, J., Edwards, N., Davies, B. & et al. (2012). Priority setting and policy advocacy by nursing associations: A scoping review and implications using a socio-ecological whole systems lens. Health Policy, 107(1), 31-43. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.03.017
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Oestberg, F. (2012). Policy and politics: Why nurses should get involved. Nursing, 42(12), 46-49. https://oce-ovid-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/article/00152193-201212000-00016/HTML
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