Nursing Education and Health Policy

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 Health Policy In Nursing Education

Nursing Education and Health Policy

Health Policy In Nursing Education,Health Policy Aspects In Nursing Education,Promotion of Health Policy In Nursing Education,Outcomes Health Policy.

Health Policy In Nursing Education

    Policy is the deliberate course of action chosen by an individual or group to deal with a problem (Anderson, 2008). "Health policy refers to decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific healthcare goals within a society. An explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future, which in turn helps to establish targets and points of reference for the short and medium term. It outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people" (World Health Organization, 2014).

Health Policy Aspects In Nursing Education

    Health policy crosses all aspects of nursing. It guides and directs patient care at the individual, community, national, and global levels. Nurses need to understand the role of health policy in relation to delivery systems, quality standards, reimbursement, and finance. Core concepts need to be included in all levels of nursing education. Educating nurses in health policy is a mandate found in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2014),

    Students need to understand the current health policy. Health policy is integrated at all levels of the curriculum, including reimbursement guidelines, insurance, and laws guiding professional practice. Guidelines, standards, and laws direct nursing practice Health policy decisions are guided by the principle of quality and safe patient care. Nurses need to be knowledgeable about health policy, and willing to sit at the table with other decision makers to discuss health policy. Nurses are in the best position to be engaged in policy making and decisions at the local, state, national, and international level.

    Coursework should include core concepts such as health policy process and analysis community, state, and national health care trends; disparities and quality outcomes; health care financing and delivery systems; leadership principles and practice management.

Promotion of Health Policy In Nursing Education

    Nursing has been engaged in promoting health policy since the time of Florence Nightingale. Nurses have long held patient advocacy as a central tenet of nursing practice. While nurses view their role as a patient advocate, advocacy is a poorly understood concept in nursing ( McSteen & Peden-McAlpin, 2006). Nurses are the largest segment of the health care workforce, and are at the closest contact to patients. Research demonstrates that the quality of nursing care is directly related to patient outcomes (Needleman, 2008)

    The literature explores various roles and viewpoints of nurses engaging in health policy. One view is that the sphere of influence includes the community, workforce and workplace, government, professional organizations, and special interest groups (Chaffee, Mason, & Leavitt, 2012). Research studies show that nurses can develop their own political conscience by learning about and engaging in the policy and political process. Several strategies for nurses to become stronger advocates and develop a political conscience include the direct experiences of volunteering, campaigning, joining professional organizations, and seeking internships and fellowships in areas related to health policy. 

    Other activities for developing health policy expertise include political sophistication, moving to the public arena, and leading the way to health policy change (Yoder-Wise, 2011). Health care is changing with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010). Therefore, it is imperative that nurses become more politically savvy,

Outcomes Health Policy

    Nurses focus on delivering quality care and using evidence to continually improve care. Understanding the relationship between health care financing and quality outcomes that direct treatment protocols and length of stay is essential in providing care. There needs to be a strong emphasis in nursing education linking the relationship between health policy and safe patient care.In the informatics age, there are resources available for easy access to health care and policy information. Internet sites such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have online information regarding quality, safety, and standard compliance along with financial tracking data. 

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers comprehensive information regarding standards, health care statistics, and research funding. Lastly, nurse educators can partner with legislators and other decision makers in education, research, practice, and policy improvements, Nurses need to use their strong voice and be involved in areas where health policy decisions are made in shaping health policy.

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