Role Of The Professional Nurse In Health Policy
Nursing professionals are an essential part of healthcare in general. This is due to the fact that they are on the front line of patient interaction and healing processes. The recent decades have witnessed hospitals embrace nurses as a source of support for the doctors and a significant layer of healthcare and patient management in the hospital hierarchy whose contribution to healthcare services should not be limited to feeding and administering drugs to patients. More administrative roles have been allocated to nursing professionals, such as the formulation and implementation of the health care policy. In professional nursing, the development of comprehensive healthcare policy is also crucial. It guides nurses in their work to ensure that all necessary procedures for patients are followed, and the set standards are maintained.
Nursing professionals are, therefore, considered to be an integral part of healthcare policy due to the nature of their job description. The nurses’ involvement in hospital policymaking provides a bird’s s-eye view of healthcare matters for the top management and a grass-root perspective through the practicing nurses. Healthcare policy development requires specific skills on the nurses’ side, which provides a better understanding of their relevance in inpatient care and related policy formulation. Therefore, this paper will discuss the role of a professional nurse in the healthcare policymaking process and a framework that supports more involvement of nurses in the future.
Role in Health Care Policy Development
Nursing professionals form a group of people who are always present in almost every occurrence in healthcare practice. Their presence enables them to have a first experience of the circumstances such as medication trials, breakthroughs, and even failures. As a result, nurses are perfect for collaborative policy work, which involves addressing policy issues related to patient care. According to Hofmarcher (2014), nursing associations in some countries, such as Ireland and Singapore, have been able to bridge the disparities between actual clinical practice and the strategic direction of healthcare policy. This has been achieved through the involvement of numerous healthcare areas, such as midwifery and other forms of home-based healthcare. For instance, the article pointed out that the president of the nursing association in Singapore met with the head of midwives and nurses in Ireland to discuss and identify the challenges facing midwifery and home nursing in the country and internationally. This indicates that the direct interactions with patients both in hospitals and at home create a first opportunity for identifying healthcare issues on the ground and influencing the types of health policies formulated to address these challenges globally. The nurses’ knowledge and understanding of patient care and its problems play a crucial role in connecting the healthcare policy’s strategic aspect and nursing practice aspects.
The second role of nursing professionals in policy formulation is to create a mental image for the public. The public’s impression of nursing is a significant factor since it determines the level of confidence that the public places in nursing professionals. The influence of the nurses in policymaking is affected by the media’s portrayal of nursing professionals, hence needing a perfect public image. A negative perception of the nurses could place more trust in hospitals’ top management, which may lead to biased policies due to their lack of contact with patients to understand the nurses’ perspectives of different systems and their effectiveness. On the contrary, a positive image of the nursing professionals enables the patients, their families, and the general public to have more confidence, hence encouraging their involvement in the policymaking process as opposed to the public outcry against it. Adams (2015) reported that. Nurses are the most trusted group of people, not only in health care but also in the entire service industry. This means that most patients will find it easier to convey to their nurses some personal information that they may consider confidential without fear. As a result, the nursing professionals’ public image plays an essential role in developing healthcare policy due to the general acceptance of the nurses at the policymaking table.
Nursing professionals have constant interactions with patients, some of whom may be insensitive to health conditions requiring wistful communication skills to convey crucial information about their health effects. Nursing professionals have the most reliable and practical techniques for reaching out to patients and their families through their communication skills (Hofmarcher, 2014). This quality enables them to be utilized as channels for gathering information needed for creating the most appropriate policies. In addition, the policymaking process requires wording that is clear, comprehensive, and relatable to the public, the patients, and their kin. Nurses tend to possess the relevant communication skills to pass information to appropriate parties in a politically correct way and achieve the intended motive. Additionally, the nurse’s ability to communicate tactfully and rationally assists the policymakers in rallying the necessary support from the nursing associations through the nursing heads due to their remarkable influence over fellow nurses. This is often achieved through communication, which develops charisma and confidence. The support is also essential during policy implementation and the follow-through stages of policymaking, which are substantially executed by the nurses at the patient service level.
Action Plan for Increasing Nurses Involvement
Literacy in healthcare is a fundamental part of achieving a culture of health in the world. The scholarship in nursing ranges from knowledge of clinical operations and related aspects such as the necessary policy, how to achieve its enactment, and presentation (Hofstad, 2016). Nursing professionals can get more involved in system-making through independent organizations that are not necessarily in the nursing and healthcare industry. Still, they can take a political stand and the nurses and the nursing welfare organizations. These organizations may include the American Nursing Association (ANA) and the Loyal College of Nursing (LCN).
These organizations facilitate advanced diplomatic relations with the relevant national and international health policymakers since they have the required audience with the health policy committees. Additionally, they aid in organizing nursing activism activities through which warranted policy changes can be communicated. The organizations also enable the nurses to reach the communities, carry out voluntary work get extra training that may supplement patient care and healthcare policy development involvement and implementation. According to Hofstad (2016), despite the limited participation of nurses politically, their career requires more sacrifice and volunteering to increase their leverage for lobbying for better and more suitable policies. Therefore, the organizations help the nurses understand the importance of their political involvement.
Communication is an essential aspect of all healthcare operations. It can be used as a tool to collect the views and opinions of professional nurses on the implementation or policies pending application. This is achievable through the daily shift meetings periodic, or annual meetings. In the sessions, the nurses are introduced to various policy changes and requested to review and offer their opinions on the same (Adams, 2015). The process helps in streamlining and improving new and old policies. At the same time, the nurses are given a chance to express their perspectives on the plans, which helps in identifying the policy’s shortcomings and lobbying for changes. During the implementation period, nursing managers are encouraged to keenly collect all the relevant insights as they help convey them and make the appropriate changes necessary.
The professional nurse involvement in policymaking can be increased through the Adjustment of the existing health policy to allow all stakeholders to participate. The stakeholders may include the public, the patients, the patient’s families, the doctors, and, most importantly, the professional nurses. The policy should be accompanied by a structured system that facilitates back-and-forth communication, which is not restrained by backlogs. It should be open to the stakeholders and safe to protect personal privacy and confidentiality (Han, 2020). The communication platform created should also ensure prompt responses to encourage a consistent conveyance of concerns request for clarifications, and bring forward recommendations. The regulations of involvement can be likened to a doorway for all the stakeholders to participate in the policymaking process. It should be divided into different tiers to categorize the suggestions as per stakeholder classifications.
Professional nursing is an old part of healthcare with health policy challenges that continue to persist with the growth and improvement of patient-centered care. Numerous changes have been made, especially in healthcare policy, structuring an implementation due to the increased understanding of the nurses’ role. These changes include the involvement of nurses in policy development and policy change processes. Nursing professionals have been involved in policymaking through collaborative policymaking, change of public image, and utilization of their impeccable communication skills. Another change that has been incorporated over the years is a continued involvement framework developed to increase nurses’ participation. Overall, the changes have been positively accelerated by the technological advancements that have led to a better understanding of nursing and healthcare challenges.
Adams, O. (2015). Policy Capacity for Health Reform: Necessary but Insufficient Comment on “Health Reform Requires Policy Capacity.” International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 5(1), 51-54. https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2015.164
Han, N. (2020). Korean Nurses’ Participation in Health Care Policy Reform: A Phenomenological Study. Journal of Nursing Management. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.13088
Hofmarcher, M. (2014). The Austrian Health Reform 2013 is Promising but Requires Continuous Political Ambition. Health Policy, 118(1), 8-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2014.09.001
Hofstad, H. (2016). The Ambition of Health in all Policies in Norway: The Role of Political Leadership and Bureaucratic Change. Health Policy, 120(5), 567-575. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.03.001
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Discuss the professional nurse’s role in health policy.
Identify an action plan for nurses to increase involvement.
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