at least 2 references in each peer responses!
Much like in the nursing process, the step of evaluation is very important in implementing any change. Deciding how the policy will be evaluated should be done as the policy is being created (Laureate education). The Institute of Medicine wants nurses to be at the forefront of healthcare change. This also contributes to the fourth aim of the quadruple aim which is to fight healthcare worker fatigue (Milstead & Short, 2019). When nurses have a say in the changes, they will be more likely to help implement them.
Nursing input was asked for in evaluating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Milstead & Short, 2019). They were, “urged to engage in the evaluation process, advocate for cost transparency, campaign for patient education regarding enrollment in subsidized health insurance plans, and assist with the dissemination of accurate evaluation results” (Milstead & Short, 2019, pp. 121). With nurses being at the forefront of healthcare and the largest group of healthcare workers, their input is critical in evaluating how a new policy is working and they are also able to identify problems.
Nursing professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), among many others, were asked to provide formative data to lawmakers while the ACA was being evaluated (Milstead & Short, 2019). In addition to assisting with data collection, they were also asked to help disseminate evaluation data among peers, stakeholders, and patients (Milstead & Short, 2019). By being highly involved in a nursing organization, a nurse can have an excellent opportunity to review policies.
There are some challenges that exist in evaluating health policies. One factor is public opinion (Milstead & Short, 2019). This played a huge role in reviewing the ACA. Members of the public were constantly being manipulated by the press to think it was either bad or good and their opinions affected congress members’ decisions since they rely on votes to stay in office. A policy that might be overall beneficial to the public, could die by public opinion. To combat that, nurses need to make sure that they advocate for policies they believe in. This could make a difference since they are a trusted profession.
Another challenge is the rapid pace of policy changes (Milstead & Short, 2019). Some policies take time to truly see the effect they will have, but constituents and stakeholders want results overnight. This challenge might be met by establishing evaluation criteria from the start and asserting that time will be needed to fully know the impact.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Importance of Program Evaluation [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.