On April 16, 2019, Washington state senator, Maureen Walsh made a remark on the senate floor suggesting that nurses “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day” while denouncing a bill that would allow nurses to get mandatory, uninterrupted meal and rest breaks (Garcia, 2019). This statement received lots of air time in the news and on many media platforms. The bill did go on to pass but considering the possibility of the bill not being passed because of such a statement should be the drive for nurses wanting to see a change in policy concerning this profession. The only way to ensure that there are individuals in politics speaking on our behalf is to become the individual or hire someone to do it. Now is time that nurses recognize how we can impact change.
Change will never happen overnight and will take hard work and dedication but the days of just complaining must be put behind. The strategies nurses can use to impact health policy decisions start with educating ourselves about the ins and outs of politics, understanding it is not a solo but a group effort pulling together resources, and remaining united using the difference of opinions to map out a goal that will be beneficial for all nurses. While it sounds so simple, I’m aware its not. Many nurses were upset about the statements of one republican senator but besides venting to one another on social media platforms not many joined any efforts to rebuttal. The senator later apologized but not enough nurses were motivated to stand up for the profession.
In order to gain the confidence needed to stand up for the profession, an individual staff nurse would have to learn about the policies and the process to turn ideas into action. It is the influence of networks and coalitions, or like-minded groups that wield power most effectively. An individual nurse may not have sufficient power to champion an issue through the legislative or regulatory process, but a network, coalition, or alliance of nurses or nursing organizations can wield significant power to move an issue to the public agenda and to successfully solve it (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw & O’Grady, p. 84-85). After determining what policy needs to be implemented or changed, the nurse would need to gather those who feel the same way to tackle the issue. This makes the research and work easier as everyone is working towards a common goal. As a group you can research individual politicians and see where they stand on the side of your goals and look at ways to sway them towards siding with what nursing needs. Find out how money is involve and how working with particular politicians can get both agendas met if beneficial.
As a nurse, we come into contact with many individuals from different walks of life. It takes compassion and devotion to do nursing daily and its just assumed that all nurses must feel that way about the profession, so we do it without ever asking for anything in return. While this is true, nurses can use the rapport built with the many different people to educate about how nursing is affected by policies and why the should vote with nursing when the policy that we want is important. Developing networks involves keeping track of what you have done for others and not being afraid to ask for a favor in return (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw & O’Grady, p.88). Helping provides a rewarding feeling but these relationships can help you earn decide rewards of policy change.
It is critical for nurses to frame their policy work in terms of improving the health of patients and the broader health delivery system, rather than a singular focus on the profession (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw & O’Grady, p. 86). By staying focused on the goal and remembering how each group or coalition that is working on behalf of the goal intends to benefit than this united front can help impact policy change.
It is important to have evidence-based practice (EBP) in healthcare, because this helps to improve patient care and healthcare by data and interventions that are proven to have positive outcomes. There are different strategies that can be used to improve collecting and sharing evidence that can make an impact in health policy decisions, and these include providing data with strong explanation, cultivating the spirit of inquiry in the evidence-based practice environment and culture, and lastly is the critical appraisal of the evidence.
The first strategy is providing a strong explanation. During the collections of evidences which are aimed at informing policy decisions, the nurses should nature a spirit that is bound by evidence-based practice environment and culture. For example, the nurse ought to ask the patient the clinical question that is set in an organized format, collect and search the most relevant evidence, then carefully appraise the evidence; for example, synthesis, evaluate and recommend the evidence, including the best evidence which has patients preferences and that with clinical expertise by making a practice change or decision. Evaluate the practice decision outcome and change depending on the evidence and deliver the outcome of the decision from EBP.
The second strategy is cultivating the spirit of inquiry in the EBP environment and culture. This can be done by developing a continuous inquiry of clinical practices when providing health care to your clients or patients and consistently inquire about the current practices. For example, the use of bronchodilators that contains metered-dose inhalers with children who have asthma lead to improved levels of oxygen in the body. Also, double-checking medications can lead to fewer medication errors. This strategy can lead to advanced organization goals, mission and vision, orientation period for clinicians who communicate an anticipation of aiming evidence-based practice qualifications for training registered nurses. It also leads to advanced evidence-based practice procedures and policies, because it causes integration of EBP qualifications in clinical and evaluation performance.
The last strategy that can be used is the critical appraisal of the evidence. After the best evidence have been collected, The appraisal process starts when a rapid critical appraisal is conducted questions like: the kind of results they are, are they valid, did the researcher used the right study methods, if the results are going to be of help during patient care, and if the treatment good with patients. The answers and explanations should be well-formatted to be able to emphasize and highlight the impact of the evidence provided. The rapid appraisal checklist helps in evaluating the reliability, applicability and validity.
Evidence-based practice is a crucial tool for delivering high-quality care in numerous nursing specialties. EBP enables nurses to make data-backed solutions that incorporate clinical expertise and current research into the decision-making process (Master of Science in Nursing). There are a lot of benefits in healthcare when EBP is used, that is why it is very important for healthcare professionals to provide strategies that will help improve how to share evidence to impact healthcare positively.
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