The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics 2022, there are nearly 5 million nurses in the U.S. alone, hence there are several opportunities that exist for Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to actively participate in policy making. From a universal point of view, nurses have the capability to influence political platforms, most notably, the policy making processes. It is indeed, the principle right of nurses to be involved in legislation processes that impact patient care.
One opportunity that exist for RNs and APRNs is through workplace interaction and communication process via hospital leaders who have an interaction with Politian’s in different ways and at different levels (Walden University, 2018). Nurses can offer information to their leaders that they observe and collect through direct patient care and they should be experts in getting this information because of their involvement in different aspects and levels of care.
Another opportunity is through joining and getting involved in professional organizations such as American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA), (Walden University, 2018) as well as American Nurses Association (ANA), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) which can be used by nurses as a tools to execute new nursing policies and be instrumental in making changes to existing policies with the main goal of playing the role of patient advocacy. These opportunities for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making also come faced with different challenges that need decisive attention to enhance improvement and engagement in the policy-making protocols and decisions.
One such challenge is in workplaces, that nonetheless, fail to update their nurses on the new policies that have been proposed or implemented and this can be a situation brought about by poor leadership which prevents nurses from getting up to date information to be able to take part in decision making policies. Another challenge is the complicated processing of membership registration which demands high and increased fees to be paid making some nurses not to be able to fall through, hence the minimal participation in policy making processes.
One of the strategy geared towards indemnifying some of the challenges is to, streamline the registration process to ensure that all qualified nurses are promptly registered and allowed to practice and participate in the activities of the organization (Bowers, 2020). Another strategy that I can highly recommend is training nurses, because through trainings, nurses are exposed to opportunities of learning and exploring resources that are available to enhance policy making procedures and this can be done through formation of committees in different levels of care. For example, a committee was formed in my work place to look into the changing face of youth mental health because of the crisis of youth mental health which exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Another strategy is exercising good leadership in health care organizations, so as to promote the participation of each and every staff in policy decision making (American Nurses Association, n.d.). Majority of these leaders have a chance to hold meetings with local health care teams who attempt to influence legislators with nursing issues in the legislative branch of the U.S. government. This can eventually help ease some of the challenges faced in the health care industry such as nurse burnouts and shortages, promote better patient delivery of care, and improve overall physical well-being for both staff and patients.
American Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Advocacy. Retrieved from
Bowers, B. (2020). Improving practice and informing policy development: The impact of gerontological nursing research. Geriatric Nursing, 41(1), 32–37. https://doiorg.
Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2018). Health policy and politics [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.