Two opportunities that exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making.

Two opportunities that exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making.

 

When most people hear about policy-making, they think of politicians and the group in the government that makes the policies. This is true in the final stages of policy-making, however, there is so much more that happens before policies make it to that point. Nurses comprise the largest number of healthcare professionals in the United States, but nurses representing policy-making have been disproportionate to the numbers (Milstead and Short 2019). Registered nurses can participate in policy-making, but it takes many sacrifices if they want to put the time and effort into playing an active role in policy-making.

 

The first opportunity that Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses can have is to join and actively participate in the local and national nursing associations. This is an excellent place to begin networking and learn about the organization’s active roles in policy making. National nursing associations have members in groups responsible for lobbying legislators and impacting healthcare policy-making (Morris, 2023). When you are in a national nursing association, you can find people to support your cause and recommend you to State positions.

 

After establishing yourself with a nursing association and building your resume, you can continue with the second opportunity in policy-making, which is to become a national board member. You are collaborating with legislators during your establishment within the nursing association. A good idea is to participate in attending the legislative sessions. You can learn the whole process of how politicians work in bringing a policy into action. If you are good at what you do and know the right people, you can advance by becoming a member of national boards like the California Board of Registered Nurses. At this level, you can have a significant influence on healthcare policies.

 

Challenges that these opportunities may present and describe how you might overcome these challenges.

 

The challenge to the first opportunity to establish yourself in a professional nursing association is personal life barriers. To play active roles in a nursing association would require a lot of time and energy. Many nurses work long hours and are deprived of energy due to patient care demands and emotional stress (Ensync-Corp. 2022). Aside from the physical aspect, other factors like family life, finances, and personal capabilities are barriers and challenges to the opportunity stated above. One way to overcome this challenge is to take one step at a time. If I aim to take part in policy-making, I will start small to join a nursing association and then venture further into it with the thought of work/life balance. It may take years to get to where I want to be, but at the same time, I understand that there are things out of my hands and that I would not be able to achieve the goals set forth.

 

The challenge to the second opportunity is much more difficult because now it comes down to personal capabilities and external factors. What I mean is that some people have good people skills, while others do not have it. To get into positions like the national board members, I am going to compete with very qualified people. Besides having to be intelligent, I would also need to be well-spoken and have charisma for others to have my trust. Developing good social skills, researching and educating myself, and practicing speaking publicly and personally is crucial. Then, I will have a shot at landing a position where I can impact healthcare policy-making.

 

Recommend two strategies you might make to better advocate for or communicate the existence of these opportunities to participate in policy-making.

 

If someone were to sit down and ask me about strategies on what they can do to play a role in policy-making, I would tell them to utilize one of the most incredible resources we have today. These resources are the internet and social media. The first opportunity is to establish yourself in a nursing association. National nursing associations have tens of thousands of members. You can develop a digital portfolio that includes media and anything to get your name and face out there to stand out. I am leaning towards being a person who can start or join podcasts, do interviews, debate, and converse with others publicly. It is like a popularity contest, and the more famous person has the upper hand. At the same time, doing such things gives you more experience with social interactions so that you can build social speaking skills, which leads to the second strategy to the second opportunity.

 

You must be well-grounded in knowledge and education regardless of what you do. A person who is educated holds more volume and has more credibility. Therefore, advanced formal education is key initially, and lifelong personal education is absolute. This relates to charisma because people have more trust and faith in a person who is well-spoken with evidence-based practice and facts. If you have these attributes, your chances of moving up the ladder and ranks in positions that directly influence policy-making is better.

 

Resources:

 

Ensync-Corp. (2022, October 17). How nursing associations increase their membership numbers. Ensync-Corp. https://www.ensync-corp.com/blog/how-nursing-assoc…

 

Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.‌

 

Morris, G. (2023). 10 Ways Nurses Can Get Involved In Policy – NurseJournal. Nursejournal.org. https://nursejournal.org/articles/ways-nurses-can-…

Two opportunities that exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making.

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