The salient tools for improving healthcare include law and policy. In particular, health policy entails rules and regulations that shape and protect a population’s health and well-being (Tricco et al., 2017). The overall healthcare program needs to combine strategies and interventions at the organizational and individual levels to standardize healthcare delivery. Policies impact issues as critical as cost, privacy, and delivery methods. Some health policies include Medicare, HIPAA, Affordable Care Act, and Patient Protect. Nurses involved in the health policy arena play a significant role in developing and implementing the policies that guide healthcare systems through leadership and advocacy. Transformational leadership in health education, advocacy, and health policy ultimately affect healthcare delivery.
Today’s complex and diverse care system needs healthcare professionals familiar with contemporary health policy issues, advocacy groups that foster person-centered healthcare, and the process influencing healthcare delivery. As part of the system, Porche (2021) states that nurses need to actively influence policy implementation through legal, political, ethical, and economic knowledge, which facilitates nurses’ access to required resources, promotes quality care delivery, and increases patient outcomes. Accordingly, local, federal, and state policymakers affect the dynamic process of health policy. APRNs can use their competency to bring needed perspectives to the legislative process and help develop and implement health policies benefiting the public. Given that APRNs have unique views on matters like healthcare access, equality, and legislation, ethics provides a framework to help nurses ensure the safety of patients and other health providers (Butts & Rich, 2019). APRNs must be mindful of the economic and legal factors affecting care delivery.
Another attribute of health policy and nursing practice ethics is advocacy. APRNs have long served as patient advocates given the increasingly fragmented and complex health system, as Hanks et al. (2018) confirm. Thus, the advocacy role of APRNs is ineffective without involvement in health policy. APRNs, as advocates, must acknowledge that healthcare is an open system and, therefore, affected by several factors (Dahlin & Coyne, 2019). Additionally, they should recognize conflicts as crucial to the success of policy implementation and manage them effectively. APRNs must provide a much-needed voice to address patient needs, policy change, and, most importantly, the nursing profession. Advocacy tools like the Public Health Policy Advocacy Guide Book and Tool Kit and the American Nurses Association Advocacy Resource Tools highlight how nurses can effectively advocate for policy change by participating in legislative action and coalitions. In addition to these efforts, APRNs can effectively advocate for themselves by addressing workplace concerns and nurses’ roles within the healthcare system.
APRNs can also take leadership roles to influence policy changes. Fischer (2017) asserts that transformational leadership inspires advocacy in the nurses and the health system. To ensure nursing leadership is transformative, APRNs must commit to the four pillars of transformational leadership; individual consideration, idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation (M’Lingera & Guanta, 2020). Through intellectual stimulation, APRNs focus on new opportunities, experiences, and innovative ways of improving care delivery. Nurses with idealized influence maintain a dedication to patients’ needs while exhibiting socially and desirable ethical professionalism. As another critical transformative trait, individual consideration gives nurses a sense of ownership and independence in the care system. M’Lingera and Guanta (2020) concede that transformational leaders foster positive relationships by communicating a clear mission and vision and recognizing unique contributions to policy change. APRNs can have a strong mission mindset to develop and implement health policies within the diverse healthcare system through inspirational motivation. In sum, transformational leadership influences the advocacy role of APRNs in influencing policy change in healthcare.
Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2019). Nursing ethics. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Dahlin, C., & Coyne, P. (2019). The palliative APRN leader. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 8(supplement 1, pp. 30-38).
Fischer, S. A. (2017). Transformational leadership in nursing education: Making the case. Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(2), 124-128.
Hanks, R. G., Starnes‐Ott, K., & Stafford, L. (2018). Patient advocacy at the APRN level: A direction for the future. Nursing Forum (Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 5-11).
M’Lingera, M., J., & Guanta, K., H. (2020). Nexus between pillars of transformational leadership and organizational effectiveness: A case of 21st-century organizations.
Porche, D. J. (2021). Health policy: Application for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Tricco, A. C., Langlois, E., Straus, S. E., & World Health Organization. (2017). Rapid reviews to strengthen health policy and systems: A practical guide. World Health Organization.