Policy and Advocacy for Improving Population Health
Reviewing a policy is just as important as the creation and implementation of the plan. Policies will need to be adjusted and configured to fit the specific program. I can’t tell you how critical the evaluation of a policy or program is, especially in the beginning; what’s the impact being or the impact likely to be of a policy or program (Baltimore, 2018).
In small clinical settings such as private practices and rural health centers with limited resources, internal policies and programming occasionally will be evaluated informally through word of mouth, in a “water-cooler discussion” among a small group, by sharing opinions and experiences through social media, or during in-person team meetings de-briefings (Milstead & Short, 2019). Working in a rural, small clinic setting, I have witnessed this “table talk of social media” kind of discussion; unfortunately, it can sometimes become a gossip circle, complete with finger-pointing instead of brainstorm ideas of how to fix areas of the policy. As a nurse in our clinic, I recommended and volunteered as a “champion” for new policies some time ago. This Nurse will take notes and surveys staff and patients and reports back to a committee meeting throughout different stages of implementation to see what adjustment will be needed. One challenge is this Nurse is adding on more responsibility to an already busy schedule. Not only will she be tally and keeping a log of the above task, but she will also need to attend the committee meeting. The champion and committee can meet and discuss the gathered data; ideas allow staff to be fluid and adapt the policy on an as-needed basis to work best for the clinic and patients’ needs.
When new programs are implemented, many great questions and concerns are brought up by staff, patients, and government officials. I was surprised when watching the videos; they brought up the needle exchange program. In the small clinic I work at, we have a needle exchange program, and we had a lot of the same questions and concerns brought up. We are giving syringes in the needle exchange program, clean syringes, which we know people will use to inject drugs, what if someone injects and overdoses with one of our needles, are we going to be liable (Beilenson, 2018)? One way for nurses to get involved is to create a Facts and questions box. It is labeled Ask Your Nurse. The questions and directions above the box specify items are to be general and non-life threatening. The box has helped implement new programs as patients have asked great questions about new programs, and we reply on our Facebook page in our newsletter that patients and staff can pick up for free at the front of the clinic once a month. One of the questions we got about the need exchange program was how many needles patient can receive, and are we trying to help people have easier access to the needle to get high. This opened the door for us to educate the public to decrease the risk of the spread of other diseases and dirty needles being found on our beaches and streets. The Q&A response has been positive, and the nurses check the box four times a day.
Nurses being involved in the evaluation of new and old policies is critical. Nurses, by nature, access situations at many levels. Reevaluation is the key to success and being fluid and advocating for safety and quality patient care is critical.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Importance of Program Evaluation [Video file].
Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). Peter Beilenson: Ethics and advocacy [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
Jessie Bugliari RE: Discussion – Week9
One opportunity that exists for RNs and APRNs in policy making and review would be joining the American Nurses Association. The ANA is known to develop many policies in order to help nurses continue to provide evidence-based care for their patients (American Nurses Association, n.d.). One example of how the ANA has influenced policies is in 2017 the ANA took a stand against the proposed American health care act because the ANA argued that it would endanger the health of Americans (American Nurses Association, n.d.). Another opportunity that exists for RNâ€™s/APRNâ€™s in policy making and review would be to join as a member of the State Board of Nursing for that nurses state. By doing so, nurses can take part in deciding whether or not certain skills can be added to a nurses scope of practice, laws for nurses to abide by based on licensure, etc. (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, n.d.). Some challenges that can be faced would be not everyone being on the same page as you when making decisions on policies. Ways in which this challenge can be overcome would be to get as much facts as possible to support your reasoning behind why a policy should or should not be passed or how to possibly modify the policy to where both parties can agree on them.