I noticed that there are many proposed policies on the agenda that are related to healthcare. Some of them are specific to the nursing practice. This creates the opportunity for the nurse to advocate for policies that impact nursing and healthcare directly by providing first-hand accounts and professional opinions supported by research.
Nurses have insight on issues, such as patient safety and satisfaction, health disparities, access to care, and promoting positive outcomes (Abood, 2016).
The problem is that some nurses are unable to navigate through the politics of regulation and policy (Abood, 2016). This can create a challenge and become discouraging for nurses looking to make an impact or promote an agenda (Abood, 2016).
Nurses can overcome this difficulty by participating in internships and workshops that provide the opportunity for a nurse to learn about the legislative process and the current issues being discussed (Abood, 2016).
Understanding the political process is an essential method for effectively advocate for an issue. Nurses have to learn to play the game to promote change or obtain the scarcely rationed funding available.
According to Milstead and Short (2019), key opportunities to advocate for policy lies in knowledge and perception. Being knowledgeable on an issue can increase your influence as an advocate. Perception is a significant key in politics.
Being perceived as a valuable collaborator or obtaining the support of a mentor that is respected can help push your agenda (Milstead & Short, 2019). Networking plays a significant role in politics. being introduced respected mentor or partner can help a nurse gain influence with rallying for support of a proposed agenda (Milstead & Short, 2019).
Probably the most significant opportunity for a nurse to advocate for a policy comes with becoming a member of a nursing association.
Nurses’ associations like the American Nurses Association (ANA) are set up with the mission of influencing policy and advocating for the nurses and patients (ANA, 2019).
The strength lies in numbers with the nursing association. Many of these organizations have built relationships with politicians and political parties to gain influence to support their agendas. For example, the ANA tends to favor and support democratic candidates (Milstead & Short, 2019). Nurses’ associations have enough members to get the attention of lawmakers.
However, the nurse still has to task of advocating within the association to gain support from its members.