The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making
Nursing leadership has become an integral part of the profession. Nurses are playing significant roles in policy formulation to enhance and influence the way that care is delivered. There are various opportunities through which nurses can participate in the process of policy review. The first opportunity is by joining professional nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Association. The organizations advocate for policies that are beneficial to the profession in their duty of providing quality care to patients. Such organizations have the voice and ability to influence changes in health care delivery systems through policies. An excellent example is Ballot Question 1 in Massachusetts, which would tighten the patient-nurse ratios in hospital settings and increase patient safety. Massachusetts Nurse Association was behind the policy change (Glaun, 2018).
Joining nursing organizations poses a challenge as the process is complicated, and nurses end up not joining such unions. Apart from the complexity, some nursing organizations are radical and go against nurses’ personal and ethical values. To overcome the challenges, nursing unions have to make joining professional organizations easier by establishing a comprehendible and straightforward procedure. Unions should also have leaders who consider the values that are held dear to the nursing profession (Murray, 2017).
Another opportunity is through volunteering in leadership and policy review processes within local, state, or federal levels. Nurses should work towards obtaining volunteer positions in policy formulation meetings. They should also have opportunities to fill in some official positions within the government to have a better influence on health. A good example is that of nurses that serve in Congress (Example: Eddie Bernice-TX and Lauren Underwood-IL). There are challenges in the above opportunity in that nurses are mostly unaware of such volunteer activities within their jurisdiction. Leadership positions in the government also require nurses to be well educated and have leadership skills, which poses a challenge, especially when nurses do not further their education (Milstead & Short, 2019). To overcome the challenges, nurses should try to always be to date with current information and participate in nurse groups and organizations. They should also aim to further their education and take a leadership course to become better leaders.
The best way to advocate about such opportunities is by holding meetings with healthcare teams and enlightening them on the benefits of taking up the opportunities. Nurses should also be notified of the benefits and importance of joining nursing unions. Nursing leaders should also create awareness of the educational need for nurses and how it will benefit the overall healthcare delivery.