Week 7: APNs as Healthcare Policy Leaders

Universal and state healthcare policies enormously impact the advanced practice nurses (APN) profession. These policies may enhance or limit their practice. However, advanced practice nurses can play a role in changing unfavorable policies. This discussion focuses on the impact of healthcare policy on the advanced practice nurse profession, the concept of advocacy in nursing and its effect on patient care, and transformational leadership and policy change.

Healthcare policy considerably impacts the advanced practice nurses’ profession on state, regional and national levels. Due to their scope of practice, advanced nurses should ideally bring healthcare services closer to the populations. However, healthcare policies in some states limit this by having restrictions on the practice of APNs. Advanced practice nurses can carry out comprehensive nursing interventions, thus helping a state achieve universal health coverage (Sevilla et al., 2022). Healthcare policies that allow APNs to run their healthcare institutions encourage APN professionals to fully use their knowledge and education in practice. Favorable healthcare policies can promote the growth of the advanced nurse practice profession. Healthcare professionals should advocate for healthcare policies that favor the practice of advanced practice nurses.

Advocacy in nursing has been defined as the act of nurses expressing patients’ needs and preferences to the hospital staff on their behalf (Kalaitzidis &Jewell, 2020). Advocacy is one of the roles that advanced practice nurses must play. Advocacy is considered an advanced practice nurse’s role since nurses are the ones who interact with the patients most compared to other healthcare providers’ team members. Therefore, they are best suited to know the patients’ preferences and needs. They are also best suited to link the hospital staff and the patients due to the strong nurse-patient relationships created when giving care to the patients. The nurse is the patient’s voice; thus, it is an obligation to advocate for their needs to other stakeholders in the healthcare department. Advocacy in nursing has had a significant positive impact on patient care. It has influenced service delivery and the overall quality of care in healthcare institutions, leading to better patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. Advocacy can also influence change of policies in healthcare, thus better care delivery.

Transformational leadership in nursing is a management concept that entails the motivation of nurses to have ownership of their roles and perform them beyond the minimum expectations. Transformational leadership enhances better demonstration of moral values and integrity in practice by cultivating teamwork among care providers. Transformational leaders focus on stimulating and inspiring followers by developing good relationships and enhancing change by emphasizing values (Giddens, 2018). The four pillars of transformational leadership are individualized consideration, idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation. These four-pillar pillars are integral for policy change.

Change of policy requires first understanding individual stakeholders of the policy, especially the policymakers and influencers, as well as the people affected by the policy and how the policy affects them. Policy change is hen followed by a planned strategy of how to influence the policymakers to change it. It also requires carefully devised logical and intellectual evidence of why the policy should be changed. In addition, the pillar of inspirational motivation would impact policy change by showing the policy makers how the change of policy would positively impact the people affected.

Advanced practice nurses can use advocacy to improve patient care and satisfaction in their institutions. They should also be on the frontline in applying transformational leadership to influence the change of policies that influence them, thus improving care delivery in their institutions and the entire healthcare field.

References

Giddens, J. (2018). Transformational leadership: What every nursing dean should know. Journal of Professional Nursing34(2), 117-121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.10.004

Kalaitzidis, E., & Jewell, P. (2020). The concept of advocacy in nursing: a critical analysis. The Health Care Manager39(2), 77-84. https://doi:10.1097/HCM.0000000000000292

Sevilla Guerra, S., Zabalegui, A., Comellas Oliva, M., Estrem Cuesta, M., Martín‐Baranera, M., & Ferrus Estopa, L. (2022). Advanced practice nurses: Analysis of their role from a multicentre cross‐sectional study. International Nursing Review69(1), 30-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12706

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