Political advocacy plays a crucial role in shaping policies and decisions that affect the healthcare industry. Nurses, as frontline healthcare providers, have a unique perspective and understanding of patient needs and care delivery. Therefore, it is essential for nurses to have a strong voice in political advocacy to ensure that their expertise and perspectives are considered in policy-making processes.
However, nurses face several challenges in exerting their influence outside of their immediate care area. One of the primary obstacles is determining the intersection between opportunity and passion. While it is possible for nurses to travel to state or national capitals to advocate for the needs of nurses and patients, this limited form of influence restricts the nursing voice to the level of specific issues or concerns. To have a more significant impact, nurses should strive to be present in more strategic discussions that shape healthcare decisions on a larger scale.
Personally, my drive for nursing advocacy stems from the conviction that nurses should be decision-makers not only within the healthcare environment but also in the broader contexts of businesses, industries, and governing bodies. Despite the progress made in including nurses in healthcare leadership roles, there is still inadequate representation of nursing bodies on boards of directors, which approve strategic operations in support of healthcare (Dorritie, 2020). The goal is not merely to achieve equality, but to ensure that governing bodies have diverse representation from multiple stakeholders, including nursing professionals.
The inclusion of various stakeholders in decision-making bodies is crucial because it enhances the effectiveness of governance in meeting the needs of its constituents. Research by Prybil et al. (2019) emphasizes the importance of including multiple perspectives in decision-making processes to improve outcomes. Similar to the trend of including patients on hospital boards of directors to enhance decision-making, representing the nursing profession can contribute to informed and comprehensive decision-making.
By having nurses involved in strategic discussions, healthcare organizations can benefit from their unique insights and experience in patient care. Nurses possess valuable knowledge that can inform policy development and implementation, ensuring that decisions align with patient-centered care principles and are grounded in evidence-based practice. Moreover, nurses can bring a holistic perspective to the decision-making table; their expertise extends beyond the clinical setting to address social determinants of health, health promotion, and disease prevention.
The absence of nursing representation in decision-making bodies poses a risk of overlooking critical nursing and patient perspectives. Neglecting the nursing voice can lead to policy decisions that fail to address the complex challenges faced in healthcare delivery. By actively advocating for nursing representation in these decision-making bodies, nurses can ensure that their expertise and the needs of patients are effectively communicated and integrated into policy formulation and implementation processes.
In conclusion, nurses’ political advocacy is necessary to ensure that their perspectives and expertise are reflected in policy-making processes. While there are challenges in exerting influence outside of the immediate care area, nurses should strive to be involved in strategic discussions that shape healthcare decisions at a larger level. Representation of nursing professionals in decision-making bodies is essential for informed and comprehensive decision-making that meets the needs of patients and supports high-quality, patient-centered care. Nurses have a unique perspective and valuable insights that can contribute significantly to the development and implementation of healthcare policies. By actively advocating for nursing representation, nurses can strengthen their voice and exert influence in shaping the future of healthcare.