Nurses have the first-hand experience needed to advocate for their patients, colleagues, and themselves. They can influence change in their workplace, communities, Nursing organizations, educational institutions, and with policymakers.
Legislators are the experts in drafting laws and regulations, but they often rely on subject matter experts to inform them on changes that must be made. When it comes to healthcare policies, Nurses are those experts.
Nurses are the largest workforce group in the healthcare industry and the most trusted.
Year after year for 20 straight years, Nurses have led Gallup's annual ranking of professions for having high honesty and ethics.
Here are some ways Nurses can influence change in healthcare policy.
In The Community
On a local level, Nurses can provide fact-based perspectives at town halls and city council meetings, as well as on school boards and in public health departments. They can also run for public office.
Not only can Nurses translate scientific jargon but they can also help raise awareness about what is factual and what is false. They have an important voice in determining public health measures such as mask mandates and stay-at-home orders.
Nurse leaders can advocate for their patients and fellow staff at their facility by shedding light on Nursing policies such as patient care standards, safe staffing levels, new technologies, and staff well-being."
Many Nurses join National Nursing Organizations which usually have state chapters or societies. These organizations offer a variety of ways Nurses can help them influence national healthcare policies such as writing letters to legislators, campaigning for public support, and organizing events/fundraisers.
By joining these organizations, Nurses can use their collective voice to influence change.
For example, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) hosts an Annual Capitol Hill Days event where Nurses from across the nation come together to hear presentations from society leaders and special congressional guests.
These organizations also offer mentoring programs. Nurses can mentor less experienced Nurses about lobbying policymakers, public speaking, campaigning, and fundraising.
Nurses are essential advocates for healthcare policy and their influence is needed at all levels - nationally, locally, and in their place of work.