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Nursing Advocacy in the United States, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 958

Research Paper

Health policies related to nurses in the United States are many, however, their effectiveness has not been examined in detail recently. Several projects have been created to measure career experiences and patient outcome, however, the involvement of nurses in the development of guidelines and policies has rarely been examined. The below paper is designed to offer an overview of the available publications regarding the connection between nursing advocacy, policies, career experience and patient outcomes.

Driving Forces

Policies are created for Advance Practice Nurses (APN) in order to make their job more straightforward, compliant and improve quality of care, as well as patient outcomes. Further, according to O’Grady and Johnson (2008), APN-s have a special social responsibility as well to create and maintain policies that are suitable for controlling the cost and quality of healthcare. The criticism of health care in the United States, quoted by O’Grady and Johnson (2008) is an argument that states that the funding that is provided for the US health care is not producing adequate results. Therefore, the main driving forces of policies for nursing and advocacy should be quality improvement, cost reduction and increased effectiveness. Patient safety and outcomes should also be considered when creating policies.

While the authors identified nine different policy dynamics, however, the length of this paper does not allow the author to detail all of them within. The help of professional organizations, such as the National Quality Forum should be utilized by the government and regulators. While the local and federal government focuses on cost containment and uses Congressional Advisory Bodies, creates committees and develops House of Senate Floor Action, there is a need for the involvement of advanced practice nursing experts in decision making as well.

Nurses’ Influence on Policy-making

According to Gebbie, Wakefield and Kerfoot (2000, p. 309), nurses are able to apply their nursing practice skills in policy making on both institutional and national level. As nurses are committed to making a difference and have advanced knowledge about the different health care practices, placing more health care professionals on the national health policy board would be beneficial for the outcome of policy making. Further, according to the authors, it is evident that nursing managers and advance practice nurses are able to collect statistical quantitative data that is required to issue changes in health care policies. Alongside with patient statistics available for the government, nurses would be able to support qualitative research on field.

Identifying the new path for nurses being involved in policy development, Gebbie, Wakefield and Kerfoot (2000, p. 311) conclude that there are several areas where involvement can be increased: such as education, employment, advisory and community boards, organizational activity and research, with the added benefit of personal experience of the field advance practice nurses possess. There is certainly a connection between politics and nursing policies, and this means that nursing advocates need to be aware of the rules of committees, the steps of legislative process and effective communication methods. (Spenceley, Reutter and Allen, 2006)

The Role of Professional Nursing and Healthcare in Policy and Advocacy

As mentioned above, the high commitment level of nurses and the personal experience alongside with their advanced people skills makes them suitable for a consultation and negotiation role alike. (Spenceley, Reutter and Allen, 2006) Advocacy and communication should be used to improve the quality of education in the health care industry, the policy updates and form guidelines that improve patient outcome, reduce costs and tackles the main challenges of the US health care system: such as the question of insurance, funding of research projects, the overuse of the healthcare system and the quality or coverage of professional chronic illnesses. (Eaton, 2012) Further, in a recent publication, Abood (2007) concludes that advocates work extremely successfully within the area of developing, preparing and communicating new policies and guidelines. The author also states that a higher level of involvement would certainly increase advocacy of nurses and providing these advocates with tools of power in the form of reward, referent as well as legitimate power among others.

Conclusions

All researchers examined during this study have highlighted the potential benefits of an increased level of nursing advocacy in policy making. When health care in the United States is facing various challenges, including the aging population, chronic illnesses, cancer treatment costs and insurance policy changes, it is extremely important that all goals that are set by the health care system to serve the public are considered before changes are issued. While advance practice nurses need to develop special skills to effectively communicate their ideas and views, they are able to support committees and policymakers through their personal experience, research and statistical data, as well as their insight into nursing and health care processes, according to Abood (2007), “nurses cannot afford to remain in the background or added as an after thought to the policy and legislative arenas.”

References

Abood, S. (2007) Influencing health care legislative arena. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing ANA Periodicals. Vol. 12. 2007. No. 1, 5-11

Eaton, M. (2012) Professional advocacy: Linking Virginia’s story to public policy-making theory, learning from the past and applying it to our future. Policy Politics Nursing Practice, May 2012:13: 105-112,

Gebbie, K., Wakefield, M., Kerfoot, K. (2000) Nursing and health policy. Journal Of Nursing Scholarship, 2000; 32:3, 307-315. 2000 Sigma Theta Tau International

Hamric, A., Spross, J., Hanson, C. (2008) Advanced Practice NursingAn Integrative Approach. Chapters 22-23.Missouri, Saunders Elsevier.

O’Grady, E., Johnson, J. (2008) Health policy issues in changing environments. In: Hamric, A., Spross, J., hanson, c. (eds) Advanced practice nursingan integrative approach. Ch. 22. Missouri, Saunders Elsevier

Pavlish C, Ho A, Rounkle AM. (2012) Health and human rights advocacy: perspectives from a Rwandan refugee camps. Nurs Ethics. July 2012, 19,538-549,

Spenceley, S., Reutter, L., Allen, M. (2006) The road less traveled: nursing advocacy at the policy level. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2006 Aug;7 (3),180-94.

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