Nurses are one of the most influential groups in the country when it comes to legislative changes in healthcare. They are, after all, the ones on the front lines of healthcare. They are the ones that see how the patients take to medication and treatment plans, and are the ones that deal directly with those in pain. Their expertise goes beyond just a medical opinion. They know what is best for the patient because they have seen and experienced it first-hand.
All too often the opinion of the patient is pushed aside because they do not have the medical experience of doctors, but nurses are entirely different. They can advocate for their patients because they have seen how certain treatments, care plans, and legislative policies impact people on the grand scale.
APRNs in particular have a lot of say about patient health and care, and combined their voices see huge shifts in legislative changes for all areas of medicine, from marijuana laws, to treatment plans, and even in how hospitals are run.
Nurses are instrumental to policy change, but to truly push forward the nursing industry must take some important steps.
More APRNs Must be Hired
There is a nursing shortage in the United States that is only set to grow by 2030 when an estimated 1 million nurses are set to retire. To combat this shortage more APRNs and RNs will need to be hired, but for that to occur they will need to be promoted.
To help dictate smart and effective policy change, these roles need to be filled by qualified professionals. Hospitals and other medical employers can help shape this future simply by sponsoring their existing RNs completion of a family nurse practitioner online program.
This way employers can ensure top, hardworking talent fills their upper-level APRN roles.
Nursing Associations Must Drive Change
Nursing associations lift up the voices of those on the front lines, meaning that the experience of nurses and their patients can be heard both in educational sectors and amongst those who have the power to change and introduce new policies. Individual clinics and hospitals must also work collaboratively within themselves to pool the collective power of nurses so that the healthcare and wellbeing of their patients is not just seen to, but advocated for on a grander scale.
Pulling together the voices of all nurses from a single hospital will make their opinion louder amongst the nursing association, further ensuring that real issues that nurses see are heard.
For this to work effectively, points need to be brought together. Ten similar ideas can be best represented by one single argument that can be better used to bring about policy change.
A Global Focus on Collaborative Policy Work is Needed
Nursing Associations have great power to lead change, as evidenced in the collaborative work between the Nursing Associations from Ireland and Singapore in 2013. Together, these two associations worked to create new policies and standards of care that would address the issues both associations were seeing in their hospitals and clinics.
Their work moved to affect legislative change that directly benefited both the healthcare industry and patients alike, further proving the benefit of using clinical practice when deciding on political strategic direction.
Those with Medical Backgrounds Should Get Involved with Politics
An increasing number of legislators and those in politics have a background in the healthcare industry. Nurses, as those who deal first and foremost with patients and recovery, are in the prime position to advocate for citizens in their country. Healthcare is one of the beacons of democratic society, and only when the citizens are healthy can a country flourish.
APRNs and doctors alike are instrumental in providing a voice to the sick and their families, so that improved healthcare legislation may come forth.
Nurses are not just carers, they are advocates for their patients. Higher level nurses in particular those who have greater control and say in a patient’s health and recovery must use their knowledge to push for policy change they believe will benefit their patients the most. Learning about policymaking and change, as well as working with other nurses to amplify one single voice is the best way to see this through.
For nursing associations or even just to represent one single clinic or hospital, an advocate must be chosen. This advocate must bring forward the concerns and ideas of their fellow nurses to policy meetings. Narrowing down the policies that need changing or introduction to just one or two at a time and providing actionable advice will see change come quickly to the benefit of nurses and their patients everywhere.