Evaluation is a crucial aspect of policy programs as it provides valuable data, commentary, and critical evidence for ongoing improvement and effectiveness. By evaluating programs, policymakers, administrators, clinicians, financial stakeholders, and the public can gain a better understanding of what works and identify areas that require change to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities (Milstead & Short, 2019). In this context, registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have opportunities to actively participate in policy review.
One such opportunity is by joining a professional organization. Professional nursing organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA), often have lobbyists who advocate for nursing issues at the national and state levels. Through these organizations, RNs and APRNs can gain a better understanding of how they can engage in policy review and contribute to the development and improvement of healthcare policies (ANA, 2020). Nurses can participate in policy review at the local, state, and federal levels by working with professional organizations and leveraging their collective voice and expertise to influence policy decisions.
Additionally, RNs and APRNs have the opportunity to participate in policy review through their workplace. Nurses are professionals who possess the responsibility and capacity to influence healthcare delivery programs. One of the primary roles of RNs and APRNs is to promote quality healthcare, and active engagement in policy review is a means to fulfill this role. By being aware of the policies that need to be reviewed and providing input based on their clinical expertise and knowledge, nurses can contribute to the development of effective and evidence-based policies that improve patient outcomes and the overall healthcare system.
Despite these opportunities, there are challenges that may hinder the participation of nurses in policy review. For some nurses, financial obligations and time constraints may prevent them from joining professional organizations, thereby limiting their access to resources and information related to policy review. Joining a professional organization often involves membership fees, and nurses with limited financial resources may find it difficult to bear this additional expense. Moreover, nurses may have demanding work schedules that leave them with limited time to engage in policy review activities.
In the workplace, another challenge is the lack of awareness among nurses regarding the policies that need to be reviewed. Policies may be complex and dynamic, and nurses may not always be aware of the specific policies or policy changes relevant to their practice. This lack of awareness can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as ineffective communication channels, limited dissemination of policy information, and the rapid pace of policy changes in healthcare. Without awareness of the policies that require review, nurses may miss opportunities to contribute their expertise and perspectives to policy development.
To address these challenges and maximize participation in policy review, it is important for professional organizations, healthcare institutions, and policymakers to implement strategies that promote awareness, accessibility, and engagement. Professional organizations can consider offering financial assistance or scholarships to nurses who may face financial barriers to joining and actively participating in their activities. They can also provide educational resources and training to enhance nurses’ understanding of policy processes and the relevance of their involvement in policy review.
In the workplace, healthcare institutions can establish clear channels of communication to disseminate policy information effectively and efficiently to nurses. Regular updates and interactive forums can help nurses stay informed about relevant policies, allowing them to actively engage in policy review. Moreover, policymakers should prioritize engaging nurses in the policy development process by seeking their input and feedback. By valuing the perspectives and expertise of nurses, policymakers can develop more comprehensive and effective policies that align with the realities of healthcare delivery.
In conclusion, evaluation is a vital component of policy programs, and RNs and APRNs have opportunities to actively participate in policy review. By joining professional organizations and engaging with policymakers in their workplace, nurses can contribute their expertise and perspectives to the development of effective healthcare policies. However, challenges such as financial constraints and limited awareness of policies may hinder nurses’ participation. To overcome these challenges, strategies should be implemented to promote accessibility, awareness, and engagement in policy review activities. By involving nurses in policy development, healthcare systems can benefit from their unique insights and contribute to improved health outcomes for individuals and communities.