Opportunities for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy review
Evaluation is crucial in gauging the effectiveness and efficacy of research in clinical practice (Laureate Education, 2018). In the same way, evaluation in the nursing process is a key to assessing the quality and impact of the implementation to improve quality care. RNs and APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) have actively engaged in patient care, and they are uniquely qualified to evaluate the effect of the changes brought to the policy table. I have identified two opportunities for RNs and APRNs to participate in the policy review. The first opportunity is to be involved in the local nurse association chapter. I have been a member of ANA (American Nurses Association) since 2019 and was given automatic membership to Texas Nurses Association (TNA). It is an excellent opportunity to be informed of the ongoing legislative agenda in my state. For APRNs, the Nursing Legislative Agenda Coalition (NLAC) is a significant association to express ideas, strategies, and priorities affecting their scope of practice during the Texas Legislature. The second opportunity is to be involved in your Unit-based policymaking and review. Unit Policy is essential in guiding staff in their performance of duties.
Challenges that these opportunities may present and how to overcome them
Some challenges exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in the policy review. Nurses juggle family, work, and study life. The lack of time, commitment, and knowledge contribute to nurses’ noninvolvement in the policy review. Proper time management helps in every aspect of our life. Choosing a specific time in a week to spend on a particular activity will make considerable progress. Regarding the involvement in the organization’s policy review, the shortage of staff to represent the unit, and ever-changing adaptation to new knowledge and innovations are the most challenges nurses face. Careful schedule planning and proper communication with team members will give the possibility of attending the policy review.
Recommended strategies to be a better advocate for these opportunities
The first strategy I would recommend is for the nurse to assess her interest, capacity, and limitation. According to Milstead & Short (2019), the Policy review process begins as the program is planned. At the beginning of the policy process, the nurse’s engagement and interest will walk her through the evaluation stage. I have not been active in attending meetings nor taking part in the TNA’s activities in the legislative process but have found a way to contribute through The Nurse Talk Empowerment Series. This was designed to engage more nurses in a virtual conversation that can influence TNA’s decision-making and prioritize policies to help nurses across the states (Texas Nurses Association, n.d.).
I am looking forward to taking part in their next session and will set aside time for this. This small valuable step will be significant when I can actively and personally participate in bigger legislation sessions in the near future.
The other strategy I will recommend for those interested in joining their unit-based policy review is to talk to their manager. Nurse managers motivate and support their staff interested in a leadership role for professional development (Labraque et al., 2021). Having a designated champion in the unit is an excellent way to keep updated with the policy review and needed revision. I was actively involved in revising our visitor policy during this pandemic. Our interdepartmental collaborative effort (with registration, security, and volunteer department) contributed to a smooth revision of our visitor’s policy and efficiently improved our endoscopy unit workflow during this pandemic.
Labrague, L. J., Al Sabei, S., Al Rawajfah, O., AbuAlRub, R., & Burney, I. (2021). Authentic leadership and nurses’ motivation to engage in leadership roles: The mediating effects of nurse work environment and leadership self‐efficacy. Journal of Nursing Management, 29(8), 2444–2452. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.13448
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Importance of Program Evaluation [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved January 22, 2022
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Chapter 7, “Health Policy and Social Program Evaluation” (pp. 116–124)
Texas Nurses Association. (n.d.). The Nurse Talk Empowerment Series. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.texasnurses.org/page/NurseTalks
Opportunities for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in the policy review
The nurse’s role during policy evaluation is essential before finalizing the policy. As Nursing process also includes assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and the final part is evaluation. So, evaluation for nurses is
a critical part of the nursing process. The same concept that nurses use to assess the impact and effectiveness of clinical interventions, procedures, or clinical practices can be applied to program/outcomes evaluation or policy
evaluation (Milstead & Short, 2019). The first opportunity is by participating in policy by nurse leaders at the organizational level are always a part of policy evaluation. After that, Nurse leaders discussed those policies with the
staff to ask their views about the procedure. By doing this, the nurse leader builds good relationships with the team and at the organizational level. This is a democratic style of leadership. The second opportunity is nurses can
use their advocacy and assessment skills to evaluate policy.
Challenges that these opportunities may present and describe how you might overcome these challenges
There are some challenges as well during policy evaluation. Those challenges are poor planning, lack of readiness, different opinions, ineffective approach, and insufficient data related to the policy (Research Evaluation
Consulting, 2018). Due to these challenges, some policy not reached the finalized stage. When implementing policies or programs related to health, professional nurses must adopt strategies to minimize the evaluation
challenges (Milstead & Short, 2019). During policy evaluation, nurses should detail and assess all the pros and cons related to policy. If they are not experienced, then seek help from colleagues or other leaders.
Two strategies might make to better advocate for or communicate the existence of these opportunities
The first strategy is communication. Nurses are well known for their communication skills when approaching patients and interprofessional team members (Milstead & Short, 2019). Communication is the first step which is
easier to evaluate the policy. The second strategy is for better advocating is to have higher education and have some experience in policy designing. For example, Masters in nursing education program is preparing me for the
nurses leader role. If I get a chance in policy evaluation, I will gain experience and give my opinion. I will advocate for the policy. Nurses should always raise their voices and advocate for the patients. According to Laureate
Education (2018), RN’s, and APRNs are the primary advocates for health policies.
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Importance of Program Evaluation[Video file]. Baltimore, MD.
Research Evaluation Consulting. (2018, October 17). 6 evaluation challenges. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://researchevaluationconsulting.com/six-key-evaluation-challenges/