Nurses play a crucial role in the healthcare system and enhancing patient care. They have a wide range of responsibilities, such as administering medication and providing emotional support, which are both diverse and demanding. However, very little is talked about the significance of their contribution to policy-making. Nurses hold a significant position that enables them to deliver excellent patient care and influence the formulation of health policies within their institutions, enhancing the quality of care.
This article will discuss six approaches through which nurses can actively shape healthcare policy and make notable improvements in patient care. Using their expertise, nurses can transform the healthcare landscape and suggest meaningful changes in policy to benefit healthcare professionals and their patients.
- Pursue Higher Education:
Nurses have an unwavering dedication to providing quality care to their patients. They tirelessly strive to improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of care. And while their frontline experiences do equip them with valuable insights, pursuing higher education can help them take their abilities to shape healthcare policy and influence positive change to new heights.
Pursuing advanced degrees like a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can help nurses gain the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute actively to healthcare policy-making. Nurses with DNP can apply their perspectives to improve health policies in numerous ways. But the main obstacle to pursuing higher education for nurses is their schedule. It can be extremely difficult to juggle studies and work if they are working as a full-time nurse. However, many reputable institutes offer DNP in nursing education online programs to help nurses advance their education without compromising their work hours.
Advanced degrees are not only important for developing better policies, but they can also open doors to leadership positions within policy-making bodies. It enables nurses to advocate for changes in healthcare policy and assume influential roles where they can shape and implement reforms.
- Active Involvement In State Nursing Organizations:
As primary caregivers, nurses have first-hand experience identifying areas for improvement in healthcare policies. However, health administrators can often overlook their concerns and reports due to the limited number of individuals raising them. One way for nurses to make their voices heard is by active participation in state nursing organizations.
Joining these organizations allows nurses to connect with other like-minded professionals who share their passion for nursing and patient well-being. These organizations provide a platform for nurses to voice their concerns, share their expertise, and collectively work towards influencing healthcare policies at local, regional, and national levels.
Furthermore, through active engagement, nurses can access valuable resources that can equip them with the tools to understand the complexities of policy-making. Plus, being a part of an organization helps you stay updated with the latest advancements in the industry, which will further help you make informed choices.
- Engaging in Research and Evidence-Based Practice:
Another unique way to contribute to policy-making is by engaging in research and evidence-based practice. Research and evidence-based practice provide a solid foundation for policy-making and patient care rooted in scientific rigor and patient outcomes.
By actively participating in research, nurses generate valuable data and evidence supporting policy changes to improve patient care. Through research studies, they uncover best practices, evaluate interventions, and identify areas where improvements can be made to enhance patient safety and outcomes.
On the other hand, engaging in evidence-based practice allows them to bridge the gap between research findings and application in real-world healthcare settings. Armed with evidence, nurses are better equipped to critically evaluate existing policies, propose evidence-informed solutions, and advocate for changes that align with the best available evidence. It helps nurses cater to certain patients’ complex needs, thereby improving patient care.
- Collaboration with Interdisciplinary Teams:
Collaboration with interdisciplinary teams is a powerful avenue for nurses to shape healthcare policy and elevate the quality of patient care. In this case, professionals from various backgrounds come together to address complex healthcare challenges.
Working alongside experts from diverse disciplines can help nurses broaden their understanding of patient care. Also, collaborating with physicians, therapists, and other healthcare workers provides a comprehensive perspective on a patient’s health. Together, this interdisciplinary team can contribute to developing strong policies, considering the overall needs of patients.
On top of that, these collaborations empower nurses to advocate for patient-centered care in policy discussions. With the help of knowledge and insights provided by other professionals, nurses can formulate policies that address unique challenges and circumstances patients face. It will ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes.
- Patient-Centered Care:
At the core of nursing practice lies the commitment to providing patient-centered care that prioritizes the individual needs and preferences of each person under their care. Nurses are pivotal in shaping healthcare policy to ensure that patient-centered care remains a top priority in healthcare systems.
Patient-centered care goes beyond mere medical treatment. It encompasses a comprehensive approach acknowledging each patient’s unique circumstances, values, and goals. It recognizes that patients are active participants in their care and empowers them to make informed decisions about their health. And nurses have the opportunity to drive policy changes that foster and enhance patient-centered care.
Nurses’ first-hand experiences at the bedside give them an insight into the needs and challenges patients face. They also witness the impact of different policies on the quality of care provided. Nurses can easily identify and predict the areas that require improvement by thorough observations and interactions with patients. It allows them to make policy changes that address these gaps.
- Open Communication With Colleagues:
In the dynamic world of healthcare, effective communication among colleagues is essential for driving positive change and improving the quality of patient care. Open communication allows nurses to share their experiences, perspectives, and insights with colleagues from various disciplines.
When you foster open communication, you can create an environment that encourages exchanging ideas and diverse viewpoints. Actively seeking input from your colleagues will help you better understand the complex issues impacting patient care. This collaborative approach allows nurses to develop innovative solutions to these problems and advocate for policy changes that address the evolving needs of patients and healthcare systems.
Nurses hold the key to shaping healthcare policy and driving improvements in the quality of patient care. By actively adapting the six ways discussed in this article to shape healthcare policy, nurses can have a profound impact on the lives of their patients and contribute to the advancement of healthcare as a whole. With their compassion and knowledge, nurses have the power to transform healthcare systems and improve patient outcomes.