Advocacy for Policy Change
Overview Understanding policy and how the healthcare system works is important, however, to influence change on a larger scale, nurses need to take the lead. Changing policy takes effort. In seeking to change policy, activities may include getting involved in politics, identifying and researching policies and issues that need changing, locating legislators and other policymakers, and effectively communicating your ideas to policymakers. In this Competency, you will focus on the larger policy issues facing the healthcare system and how you, as a nurse leader, hold power to effect change on a larger scale. For this Performance Task Assessment, you will do just that. You will identify a policy that affects your workplace, research the policy, and draft a letter to a legislator advocating for the change of that policy. Submission Length: 1- 2-page letter to a policymaker Competency Statement: Recommend policy change to advocate for positive patient outcomes. Type of Assessment: Performance Task For this Performance Task, you will select a policy that relates to your personal practice and draft a letter to a state or federal legislator explaining your stance and offering recommendations on how best to improve the policy. Access the following to complete this assessment: • American Association of Colleges of Nurses. (n.d.). From patient advocacy to political activism: AACN’s guide to understanding healthcare policy and politics (2–16; 22–23). Washington D.C. Retrieved September 14, 2017 • American Nurses Association. (2017). Federal issues. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/advocacy/federal/ • Open States. (n.d.). Find your legislator. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ • USA.gov. (n.d.). How to contact your elected officials. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials Your response to this Performance Task should reflect the criteria provided in the Rubric and adhere to the required length. Letter to a Legislator As one of more than 3.6 million nurses in the United States, you are in the unique position to share your professional insights to influence policy at all levels of government. Aiding important initiatives to gain state and national attention is an important part of professional nursing advocacy. After all, as the No. 1 most trusted profession in the country (Norman, J., 2016), nurses can really make a difference in the policy arena to effectively advocate for patients. One way to ensure effective advocacy is to contact and enlist the support of those in positions of power. In this Assessment, you will compose a 1- to 2-page letter concerning a local, state, or national policy that is similar to those that come across the desks of legislators every day. This activity allows you to share your nursing expertise with a legislator and to inform that legislator of current research that supports a policy position. • Step 1: Choose a local, state, or national policy issue that is of concern to you. Consider using the healthcare policy that you discussed in HP4001, or go to the American Nurses Association (ANA) web page—Nursing Legislative Issues and Trends at http://www.nursingworld.org/StateLegislativeAgendaReports.aspx—to read about current nursing policy issues in the United States. • Step 2: Locate legislators or policymakers in your city, state, or country who you will contact regarding your selected policy. You can find a list of local legislators in the United States at: o Open States. (n.d.). Find your legislator. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ o USA.gov. (n.d.). How to contact your elected officials. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials • Step 3: Draft a letter suggesting a change. o Read pg. 22—23 of the AACN’s “From Patient Advocacy to Political Action: AACN’s Guide to Understanding Healthcare Policy and Politics” to view a sample letter. o Using the AACN sample letter as a guide, format your letter using the following guide: Describe your education and career experiences; Describe your qualifications and expertise in a policy area using at least two examples; Analyze the critical role nurses play in improving care as they are at the point of care; Summarize the key points of your chosen policy; Defend your stance on the policy using at least two current, scholarly resources in support of your position; and Recommend at least two actions for change with regards to the selected policy. Note: Be respectful, professional, and direct with your written request. Avoid using arguments of emotion, and focus only on those arguments based in fact.