Nurses are often frustrated about policies and regulations governing nursing practice, mainly when they’re developed by individuals who lack healthcare experience. This 3-part series provides an overview of why nurses should be involved in policy, the legislative process, and how to communicate with policymakers.

A significant number of nurses are channeling these frustrations into positive initiatives as advocates. They are assuming new roles to influence the programs, rules, policies, and regulations that govern the nursing profession, the functioning of the broader health care system, and the communities we serve.

Drs. Melissa Batchelor and Alison Hernandez, are both nurses who agree that any nurse  can become a policy advocate at the local, statewide, or federal level by understanding how the political system works and what approaches can affect policy.

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️ Nurses are innately health policy experts. Dr. Alison Hernandez is a Health and Aging Policy Fellow (2019-2020) in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a fellow passionate about health policy and helping older adults achieve the highest quality of life, Dr. Alison Hernandez stressed that nurses could be political and advocate for whatever it is that they care for.

✔️Who you elect matters. Who we vote to represent makes a difference to affect change and influence policymaking. Dr. Alison Hernandez pointed out that you have to put people in power that resemble your ideologies if you want to see change.

✔️Nurses are solution-driven—we’re focused on how to fix things. One can’t undermine the role of nurses in shaping health policy. If you have RN behind your name, you have the power to send the email as a constituent and as a concerned citizen.

✔️It takes multiple voices to solve all the different problems that we have. Thus, nurses need to have a least cursory understanding of policy for their voice to be heard because we can’t be influential influencers of policy without that. Aside from that, making connections in your community, especially if you’re working and volunteering on campaigns, is an excellent way to dip your toe in the political sphere of things.

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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Find out more about her work HERE.