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Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy

Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy

As you plan, develop, implement and evaluate your nursing practicum project, reflect on how this project and your graduate education have prepared you to meet the growing needs of healthcare and the diverse populations we serve.

This week you will address Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy.

400 words ; 2 cites


Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy


The healthcare environment is ever-evolving and influenced by technological, economic,

political, and sociocultural factors locally and globally. Graduates of master’s degree

nursing programs have requisite knowledge and skills to promote health, help shape the

health delivery system, and advance values like social justice through policy processes

and advocacy. Nursing’s call to political activism and policy advocacy emerges from

many different viewpoints. As more evidence links the broad psychosocial, economic,

and cultural factors to health status, nurses are compelled to incorporate these factors into

their approach to care. Most often, policy processes and system-level strategies yield the

strongest influence on these broad determinants of health. Being accountable for

improving the quality of healthcare delivery, nurses must understand the legal and

political determinants of the system and have the requisite skills to partner for an

improved system. Nurses’ involvement in policy debates brings our professional values

to bear on the process (Warner, 2003). Master’s-prepared nurses will use their political

efficacy and competence to improve the health outcomes of populations and improve the

quality of the healthcare delivery system.

Policy shapes healthcare systems, influences social determinants of health, and therefore

determines accessibility, accountability, and affordability of health care. Health policy

creates conditions that promote or impede equity in access to care and health outcomes.

Implementing strategies that address health disparities serves as a prelude to influencing

policy formation. In order to influence policy, the master’s-prepared nurse needs to work

within and affect change in systems. To effectively collaborate with stakeholders, the

master’s-prepared nurse must understand the fiscal context in which they are practicing

and make the linkages among policy, financing, and access to quality health care. The

graduate must understand the principles of healthcare economics, finance, payment

methods, and the relationships between policy and health economics.

Advocacy for patients, the profession, and health-promoting policies is operationalized in

divergent ways. Attributes of advocacy include safeguarding autonomy, promoting social

justice, using ethical principles, and empowering self and others (Grace, 2001; Hanks,

2007; Xiaoyan & Jezewski, 2006). Giving voice and persuasion to needs and preferred

direction at the individual, institution, state, or federal policy level is integral for the

master’s-prepared nurse.

The master’s-degree program prepares the graduate to:

1. Analyze how policies influence the structure and financing of health care,

practice, and health outcomes.

2. Participate in the development and implementation of institutional, local, and state

and federal policy.

3. Examine the effect of legal and regulatory processes on nursing practice,

healthcare delivery, and outcomes.

4. Interpret research, bringing the nursing perspective, for policy makers and


5. Advocate for policies that improve the health of the public and the profession of


Sample Content

• Policy process: development, implementation, and evaluation

• Structure of healthcare delivery systems

• Theories and models of policy making

• Policy making environments: values, economies, politics, social

• Policy-making process at various levels of government

• Ethical and value-based frameworks guiding policy making


• General principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, accounting, and

marketing strategies.

• Globalization and global health

• Interaction between regulatory processes and quality control

• Health disparities

• Social justice

• Political activism

• Economics of health care

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