Policy in practice: How nurses are leading the health care change
(ARA) – Health care is experiencing dramatic changes as provisions outlined in the Affordable Care Act go into effect. As the largest professional group within the health care workforce, nurses are uniquely positioned to facilitate the successful translation of critical health care policy into practice. Nurse leaders with the expertise to help shape this process - from developing and implementing new programs to monitoring and evaluating their success - are becoming increasingly valuable.
In a recent Gallup study conducted for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1,500 opinion leaders - from the public and private sector, academia and trade organizations - think nurses should have more influence in health care policy issues, including: reducing medical errors (90 percent), increasing quality of care (89 percent), promoting wellness and expanding preventative care (86 percent) and improving health care efficiency and reducing costs (84 percent).
Recognizing the importance of this emerging role, some nursing schools offer educational programs that help current nurses develop expertise in health care policy, preparing them for leadership positions that require an understanding of the economic, political and social forces that influence patient care. Chamberlain College of Nursing, for example, offers a Master of Science in Nursing Health care Policy specialty track designed to prepare nurses for expanding roles in health care policy and improve their opportunities for professional advancement.
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