NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

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One of the opportunities that exist for the APRNs and RNs to participate actively in policy-making is the shift in demographics of the nursing workforce. The healthcare system in America is expected to experience an acute shortage of nurses by the year 2026 (AACN, n.d.). The shortage will be attributed to factors such as the high number of nurses who will be retiring, changes in patient demographics, and failure of institutions that train nurses to produce adequate numbers to meet the demand. This therefore implies that health organizations will have to struggle to provide care that meets the needs of their populations due to staff shortage (Haddad & Toney-Butler, 2019).. This issue presents a great opportunity for the RNs and APRNs to participate actively in policy making since healthcare sectors are exploring the possible interventions to address the issue. Healthcare stakeholders are increasingly recognizing the need for the incorporation of the inputs from the nurses in the strategies that would be adopted to address the issue of nursing shortage. Therefore, while it might be a challenge, shortage of nurses presents an opportunity for them to play an active role in policy-making.

The second opportunity that exists for the APRNs and RNs to participate actively in policymaking is the presence of professional bodies. A number of professional bodies that address the needs of the RNs and APRNs exist. Examples include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and American Nurses Association. These organizations provide RNs and APRNs with opportunities to participate in issues influencing their practice. They also provide these nurses with opportunities to present their views on the manner in which nursing policies should be transformed. The membership of the RNs and APRNs in these professional organizations also eliminates challenges such as their victimization due to their involvement or advocacy for policy changes (Masters, 2018). Therefore, besides representing these nurses, professional bodies provide RNs and APRNs to provide their insights into policy changes that are needed to transform their practice.

One of the challenges that the above opportunities present to APRNs and RNs role in policymaking is the lack of time for them to participate in the process. An acute shortage of nurses will imply that the workload for the remaining nurses will rise significantly. It will also increase the risk of burnout and job dissatisfaction among them. As a result, most of them will lack the time to engage in activities contributing to policy transformation. They will also lack the motivation to contribute to policy making on issues that affect their practice (Haddad & Toney-Butler, 2019). Therefore, while shortage of nurses is anticipated to bring opportunities in policymaking, it might also hinder the participation of RNs and APRNs in policymaking due to high workload.
The other challenge that the professional bodies for nurses might present to RNs and APRNs role in policymaking is low level of awareness among them on their role in policymaking. It is evident that participation of RNs and APRNs in activities of their professional organizations is significantly low. This is attributed to factors such as lack of information concerning them and low interest among the members in participating in them. It could also be attributed to the influence of misrepresentation of the members in these organizations (Masters, 2018). Therefore, such instances make professional organizations act as barriers in the active participation of RNs and APRNs in policymaking.

One strategy that I will utilize to advocate the existence of the above opportunities is embracing open communication. Open channels of communication are essential in creating awareness among RNs and APRNs on the existence of these opportunities. There should be sharing of information, opinions, and concerns on the ways in which the participation of the nurses can be enhanced (Masters, 2018). Open communication will ensure that the views of the entire nursing workforce are considered in the policy formulation and implementation processes.
The second strategy is strengthening the creation of organizational culture that promotes change. It is essential that health organizations recognize the role played by the RNs and APRNs in policymaking processes. They should support the adoption of interventions that increase their participation in policymaking activities. They should also ensure that leadership styles used in the organization promote flexibility in embracing change (Masters, 2018). Through this, RNs and APRNs are motivated to play an active role in policymaking activities that contribute to the development of their profession.

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AACN. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: Nursing Shortage. Retrieved on 20th March, 2020 from
Haddad, L. M., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2019). Nursing shortage. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
Masters, K. (2018). Role development in professional nursing practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making
NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

This is insightful. RNs, and APRNs are always given opportunities to participate in decision-making. For most healthcare institutions, the contribution of registered nurses and advanced registered nurses is significant given the knowledge and experiences they possess in the provision of different healthcare services (Gazza, 2019). Nurses are needed to serve on boards where they can improve health care practices and outcomes. Both RNs and APRNs have different platforms where they can express their ideas and participate in the policy-making processes (Moore et al., 2020). One of these platforms is the professional nursing organization, where they can contribute significantly to improving the healthcare process. Research and education are some other platforms where nurses can participate to ensure improvement in different healthcare processes. Unlike RN nurses, APRN has advanced roles that make them considered in the decision-making processes (Kooienga & Wilkinson, 2017). First, they have advanced knowledge and experiences, which allow them to participate as nurse advocates and in administrative positions. The ANA advocates for nursing have a seat at the table for all healthcare discussions.
Gazza, E. A. (2019). Using Twitter to Engage Online RN-to-BSN Students in Health Care Policy. Journal of Nursing Education, 58(2), 107–109.
Kooienga, S., & Wilkinson, J. (2017, January). RN prescribing: an expanded role for nursing. In Nursing forum (Vol. 52, No. 1, pp. 3-11).
Moore, A., Parks, K., & Mello, I. (2020). Transitioning from RN to APRN. Nursing made Incredibly Easy, 18(2), 51-54.
Hello Pilar, thank you for the information you shared in your discussion. Through policy making nurses can and should influence practice standards and processes to assure the quality of health care. Nurses who influence policy, also impact resource allocation to support delivery of health care (Phillips, 2003).
Nurses should be provided with resources to get involved in political campaigns, writing letters to editors, engaging with politicians and carrying out lobbying activities.
Phillips, R. (2003). Health Care Policy: The Nurse’s Crucial Role. American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.

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Nurses should be a component of the policy review process to enhance their careers, care delivery, and better their organizations’ ability to offer primary care interventions. Imperatively, the first opportunity for nurse to be part of the policymaking is through participation in meetings to discuss policy matters. Through these fora, RNs and APRNs can influence other stakeholders to understanding healthcare issues better and existing challenges so that they can develop frameworks to address any shortcomings or improve on better practiced for quality care delivery (Joel, 2017). Through the meetings, nurses can offer insights on what should be done to reduce cost of healthcare among other issues. The second opportunity is through being members of professional organizations like the American Nurses Association. These entities collect data and disseminate it through giving information and knowledge to their members to improve policies and patient outcomes (Milstead & Short, 2019). Professional organizations give nurses the opportunity to review policies and apply evidence-based practice research to inform of the best practice interventions to enhance care delivery.
Challenges in these opportunities include the limited time that may constraint nurses from going for professional meetings and conferences to horn new trends and nursing skills. Secondly, joining professional associations like the ANA poses challenges to nurses and one among these is the availability of diverse opinions that one may not agree with and find not compatible to their perspective (Schaeffer & Haebler, 2019). Evaluation of health policies may also encounter limited resource allocation. More fundamentally, lack of knowledge on the use of EBP among nurses may hinder its effectiveness.
Strategies to communicate better and advocate for policy reviews are important. These include deployment of research on health policy to help determine ways to improve care. Nurses can also use available resources to ensure that they are effective in their communication and interactions with other stakeholders (Milstead & Short, 2019). Training and education can also help them understand policies much better and disseminate knowledge to stakeholders.
Joel, L. A. (2017). Advanced Practice Nursing: Essentials for Role Development. F.A. Davis.
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.).
Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Schaeffer, R., & Haebler, J. (2019). Nurse Leaders: Extending your policy influence. Nurse
Leader, 17(4), 340-343. doi 10.1016/j.mnl.2019.05.010

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