health care improvement via legislation H e a l t h M e d i c a l
Advocacy Actions to Improve Health Care
Nurses are facing several issues at their workplaces in the current health scenario. The problems nurses experience affect them, their patients, the profession, and the entire organization. Some of the critical issues facing the nursing profession and the nurses include workplace safety and rights, nursing shortages, patient advocacy, and inappropriate staffing. Nurses must recognize and appreciate the challenges they experience, identify where they can get support, and lobby for health care improvement via legislation at the federal or state levels. This will enable nurses to become successful and satisfied professionals.
One way through which nurses can influence policy changes is by joining professional bodies or unions. Unionization enables nurses to have collective bargaining powers that are influential in advocating for policy change and improving the working environments. Professional bodies include the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Nursing Specialties. Cherry and Jacob (2016) state that collective bargaining enables nurses to have a voice in their working environments. More often, the collective bargaining process is an emotionally charged and very complex issues. Because a small group of people or individuals would have limited bargaining powers, banding together through professional bodies and unions has enabled nurses to negotiate and make agreements with administrators and employers. Additionally, the bodies stand better grounds for influencing legislation of critical matters that would promote the nursing profession, improve working conditions, leveraging the quality and delivery of health care.
Another way of influencing legislation to improve health care is by continuing with nursing research. Nursing research refers to the systematic, diligent studies and inquiries that generate new ideas, build on existing knowledge, and solve problems that directly affect the nursing profession (Berman, 2020). Ultimately, nursing research guides and informs evidence-based nursing practice (EBP), provides rationales for nursing interventions, and a ground foundation on which policies and health services can be started. By conducting research, nurses can generate ideas that would influence legislation of different policies at the federal and state levels. For instance, nursing research providing proof of existential health problems within a given locality or geographical area can move the government to institute health services and policies to promote and eliminate the health problems.
Another way of improving advocacy actions is by identifying and addressing the barrier factors that hinder nurses from participating in politics and policy issues. Brokaw (2016) purports that some of the hindrances include lack of information and awareness, skills inadequacy, lack of formal policy education programs, insufficient support for nurses to generate evidence to influence policies, and inadequate time. Nurses should be educated on the costs, benefits, and relevant gains of joining professional bodies and unions (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). Additionally, nurses should be taught the laws that affect their practice and the areas they can impact.
Lastly, nurses should vie for leadership and political positions at their workplaces and in the national arena. Some of the healthcare policies are passed by individuals with limited health experience and knowledge. Such policies can lead nurses to frustration, bitterness, and disillusionment. By assuming leadership positions, nurses can influence critical policies to be passed for the healthcare environment’s general well being (Brokaw, 2016). Additionally, nurse leaders are proactive in solving issues that may jeopardize the quality of patient care. Therefore, nurses should encourage and give each other the moral support to be involved in political activism, unionization, and leadership positions to improve health care through legislation at the state and federal levels.
Berman, A. T. (2020). KOZIER & ERB’S FUNDAMENTALS OF NURSING: concepts, process and practice. Prentice Hall
Brokaw, J. (2016). The nursing profession’s potential impact on policy and politics. American Nurse.
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