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Nursing and Political Activism, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 392

Essay

Throughout the history of nursing, nurses always wanted to address the issues that seemed to lie beyond the scope of their professional obligations. Political activism in nursing is “the process of trying to influence decision-makers to implement changes to improve the lives of clients, communities, and populations” (CAN, 2000). To become politically active, nurses, on the one hand, had to identify something as a political issue and, on the other hand, to develop effective resolution techniques. Today, political activism in nursing involves four critical spheres: government, workplace, professional organizations, and community involvement (Duclos-Miller, 2002). At the national and international levels, nurses can use their political abilities to influence the legislative process related to public health care. Professional organizations often reinforce the vision of nursing as a powerful political and professional force. At the local and community levels and in the workplace, nurses must become a critical element of policymaking, to be able to address and reduce the negative impact of political issues on the quality of their professional performance. Community involvement creates conditions necessary for nurses to identify themselves proudly with their profession (Duclos-Miller, 2002).

Nurses face an imperative need to become politically active, but many of them do not realize their political significance and do not see effective ways to influence the political standing of nursing (Zauderer et al, 2008). Some nurses lack knowledge and political capabilities; others are not willing to engage in political decision-making. Yet, such political activism is crucial for the success and the stability of the nursing profession, given the amount and the scope of nursing issues today. The most important ones include nursing education, ethics, research, and community action (Nelson, 2004). For nurses to become politically active, they should be able to identify the issue, the allies, and the decision-makers they want to influence (CAN, 2000). These simple steps will lay the foundation for developing political consciousness in nurses at the local, national, and international levels.

References

CAN. (2000). Nursing as a political act: The bigger picture. Canadian Nurses Association.

Retrieved from http://www.cna-nurses.ca/cna/documents/pdf/publications/Nursing_Political_Act_May_2000_e.pdf

Duclos-Miller, P.A. (2002). Shaping the future of nursing practice through political activity. Connecticut Nursing News. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3902/is_200209/ai_n9141529/

Nelson, S.S. (2004). Big issues big ideas. Carolina Nursing. Retrieved from http://nursing.unc.edu/alumni/cn/pdf/SPR2004-3.pdf

Zauderer, C.R., Ballestas, H.C., Cardoza, M.P. & Hood, P. (2008). United we stand:

Preparing nursing students for political activism. Journal of the New York State Nurses Association. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1RYY/is_2_39/ai_n35552330/?tag=content;col1

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