Nurses represent the most substantial portion of the healthcare population (Milstead & Short, 2019). They possess the experience and expertise to positively affect quality improvement and efficiency when they are included as a member of policy and health care teams (Milstead & Short, 2019). RNs and APRNs can become involved in policy review on a local level, state level, or federal level (Milstead & Short, 2019).

Members of the nursing profession can become involved in policy evaluation on a local level by joining a policy review committee at their place of employment. My current job offers incentives to Nurses that participate in the policy and procedures committees. RNs and APRNs can also become members of the policy board. This will allow them to evaluate policies and advocate for policy changes that improve the quality of care at their facility. Recently at my facility, a surge committee was assembled to redesign the surge policy and protocols. Multiple members of the healthcare team, including RNs and APRNs, participated and provided insight on working during a surge or sudden influx in patient flow. They were able to make suggestions that contributed to the new design for our surge policy at the facility.

Another way RNs and APRNs can become involved in policy change on a large scale is to join an organization like the American Nurses Association (ANA). According to the ANA (2020), developing effective and useful policy is a core principle. Members of the ANA influence state and federal policymakers. The ANA provides expert information to lawmakers on policies (Milstead & Short, 2019). They assist with data collection and the evaluation of policies (Milstead & Short, 2019). According to Milstead and Short (2019), the process of policy evaluation is similar to the steps of the nursing process, making nurses a valuable asset to redesigning the healthcare system. Joining organizations like the ANA provides the opportunity for RNs and APRNs to lend their expertise to policy analysis.

The cost will always be a challenge that must be considered when evaluating policy. Sometimes a solution that is recommended during the evaluation of a policy lands outside the budget. This is true on the local, state, and federal levels of policymaking. A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can be conducted to overcome this challenge. A CBA compares the cost of a program or a policy with its benefits to select the most cost-effective and beneficial solution (Hwang, 2016). Some challenges that may occur when evaluating policy are out of the control of the evaluator, including the pace of policy change, issues with ethics, and political biases (Milstead & Short, 2019). For example, The ANA is known to support democratic candidates (Milstead & Short, 2019). This could decrease the value of the input provided by the ANA amongst policymakers that do not support the democratic agenda.

References

Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

American Nurses Association. (2019) Expert policy analysis. Retrieved https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/official-position-statements/expert-policy-analysis/

Hwang, K. (2016). Cost-benefit analysis: its usage and critiques: CBA: its usage and critiques. Journal of Public Affairs (16) p.75-80. Retrieved https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274967779_Cost-benefit_analysis_its_usage_and_critiques_CBA_its_usage_and_critiques

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