The Role of RNs and APRNs in Policy-Making: Opportunities, Challenges, and Recommendations for Advocacy
Registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) play an important role in healthcare policy-making. By actively participating in the policy-making process, RNs and APRNs can advocate for better policies that promote patient safety, enhance the quality of care, and improve the overall health of the community. This paper explores the opportunities and challenges that RNs and APRNs face in policy-making, and provides recommendations for advocacy.
One of the opportunities for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making is by joining professional organizations such as the American Nurse Association or the American Association of College of Nurses (AACN). These organizations provide opportunities to review, act on, and respond to reports on health issues to policymakers and the public. For instance, nurses can collaborate to write recommendations to the lawmakers who will consider the information in drafting new policies in the healthcare environment. Another opportunity is to join the unit development meetings to propose changes or improvements to healthcare policies. Participation is critical in the formation of new policies or adjustment of existing regulations that govern the healthcare sector.
Challenges and Possible Solutions:
One of the challenges that RNs and APRNs face is interacting or working with legislators from different backgrounds. Lawmakers from different backgrounds can provide differing opinions that can undermine appropriate legislation. Differing views can lead to poor support and failure to provide appropriate funding. To overcome such a challenge, nurses have to provide quality data and evidence-based information to convince the public and lawmakers of the need for better policies.
Stakeholders in the government or healthcare sector might be afraid of change. Fear of change is a mounting problem that RNs and APRNs encounter in the process of making policies. One of the solutions to the problem of fear of change and the unknown future is to prepare ahead. Using evidence-based information and statistics can demonstrate the need for change.
Recommendations for Advocacy:
The two strategies that can be used to advocate for the existing opportunities of advocacy include seminars and social media. Seminars involve a series of training that will educate the RNs and APRNs about the need to participate in policy-making. The seminars will encourage them to join professional organizations and participate in the grassroots meetings that take the views of the public. The educative workshops will emphasize the importance of participating in the policy-making process. The second strategy is using social media for mobile RNs and APRNs. Social media is a platform used to create awareness among healthcare workers. RNs and APRNs have various network groups on various social media groups. Social media platforms provide opportunities for nurses to get the latest information and the progress in different legislations ongoing in various states and at the federal level. It has been used to call for action by healthcare workers after the controversial ruling against abortion. The platform is free and reaches out to millions of RNs and APRNs across different states. The two strategies can be used to recommend the importance of participating in the policy-making process.
In conclusion, RNs and APRNs have a significant role to play in healthcare policy-making. The opportunities and challenges in policy-making can be addressed through participation in professional organizations, providing quality data and evidence-based information to convince the public and lawmakers, and using social media platforms to create awareness. By actively participating in the policy-making process, RNs and APRNs can advocate for better policies that promote patient safety, enhance the quality of care, and improve the overall health of the community.
Lewinski, A. A., & Simmons, L. A. (2018). Nurse knowledge and engagement in health policy-making: Findings from a pilot study. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 49