Nursing is a noble profession that utilizes the core of caregiving, empathy, and patient advocacy. In the US alone, there are currently 3.8 million registered nurses. This proves it’s a vast industry with immense power to modify traditional policies and create a safe workplace for nurses.
Professional nurses are close to patients and are well aware of the issues that endanger or create hurdles in the healthcare environment. They serve as the primary communicator between management, doctors, and patients and play a vital role in resolving internal matters.
All these factors make nurses ideal influencers who can contribute to the reformation of healthcare policies. They can help spread awareness about critical problems and propose better solutions while considering the financial constraints. Nurses can help highlight the current policies that harm the patients or staff. They will also be a part of the implementation process to enforce existing and new changes.
To be a part of something big, they need continuous experience and knowledge. Thus, education plays a crucial role in their empowerment. Nurses should polish their professional skills to deal with everyday challenges and convey the shortcomings to concerned departments. Several nursing organizations encourage nurses to present healthcare policies that are affordable and efficient.
This blog covers a variety of ways through which nursing professionals can contribute to changes in healthcare policies.
1. Practice Patient Advocacy
In nursing, patient advocacy is the preservation of patients’ dignity. Nurses help resolve critical problems, ensure proper patient-nurse equality, and acknowledge conditions that could potentially harm the patient. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree opens more doors for nurses to engage with patients and highlight necessary policy changes for better healthcare services. Aspiring and professional nurses can enroll in online DNP programs to hone their theoretical and practical skills to stand out in the competitive industry.
Professional nurses can leverage their passion for patient advocacy to help shape up healthcare policies. Nursing advocacy is vital in a healthcare environment as nurses are directly involved with the patients and better understand the problems in their daily routines. Moreover, they play an essential role in mediating issues. It includes alerting management about errors, communicating between doctors and patients, and supporting patients when their lives are at risk.
2. Become A Good Leader
Good leadership skills are a must for nurses. As leaders, they play a critical role in altering healthcare policies at a higher level. They will attain more power as decision-makers and create significant differences in the nursing practice. Nurse managers are actively involved in the supervision of the staff, analyze day-to-day processes, and arbitrate internal issues. Moreover, leadership is an important skill to guide and educate the nurses on adhering to the best nursing practices without compromising the quality of provided services.
Nursing leaders use their experience, knowledge, and voice to bring attention to the imperfections in current policies. They can set up community awareness seminars and school sessions to increase awareness about major healthcare issues such as diseases, vaccination, precautions, and illnesses. Patients trust nurses, and therefore, they will feel heard, understood, and satisfied while communicating with a good leader.
Since they work closely with both the management and the patients, leaders often serve as a medium to convey information to and fro. They can help eliminate confusion and disparities to serve the communities better.
3. Work As An Educator
Nursing educators are mentors who are directly involved in hands-on guidance with their teams. Nurses help educate their staff and communities about routine medical issues and advocate to open up more nursing schools and institutions. Suppose they feel a need for enhanced learning opportunities. In that case, nursing professionals may emphasize how frequent training or certifications would benefit the healthcare setting. They might also influence the necessity of scholarships or financial compensations to help those who wish to pursue nursing but often don’t because of a lack of resources. Advocacy for loan forgiveness is another viable approach to changing nursing education policies.
It’s also integral to keep the current curricula updated with modern advancements. For example, nurse educators could propose improvements in emergency preparedness knowledge, geriatric or children’s healthcare, assistance during advanced surgical procedures, and more. They can highlight the need for more practical studies or solid theoretical foundations. Nursing educators can significantly influence the nursing education system through keen observation and affordable resolutions.
4. Join Organizations For Policymaking
Ultimately, nurses can join organizations at the federal or state level involved in policymaking and partake directly in the processes. Several nursing organizations have links to policymakers to help them understand the critical issues requiring immediate attention. But to be a part of such high-level activities, nurses need to gain lots of experience.
Since nurses are closely involved with the patients and staff, they are well aware of the day-to-day concerns caused by inadequate policies. Professional nurses can help highlight the problems created from existing policies and suggest new reforms. They can increase awareness about the lack of proper equipment, limited training of telemedicine for the older staff, and inequalities at the legislative stage.
Additionally, nurses with immense experience and deep insights into the world of nursing can even run for office. It is the perfect opportunity to propose and implement solutions at a higher level and directly help healthcare communities. Interestingly, three nurses are currently working in congress and are continuously assisting in shaping up the industry.
We hope this article provides sufficient information on how nurses can reshape healthcare policies and participate in the bigger picture.
Nurses engaged with communities better understand current issues that need to be addressed. Education serves as a foundation to convey these problems to upper management or policymakers by backing it up with claims and potential resources. Leadership skills are critical for implementing and enforcing the changes in policies. Advocating for patients’ rights will increase trustworthiness and create more avenues for patient-nurse interactions. In short, all nurses should consider creating ripples in the healthcare policies in their respective fields of interest.