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.
If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at email@example.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (2011) ) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.