NURS 6051 Discussion The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

NURS 6051 Discussion The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy-Making

NURS 6051 Discussion The Role of the RN APRN in Policy-Making

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One of the opportunities that exist for the APRNs and RNs to participate actively in policy-making is the shift in demographics of the nursing workforce. The healthcare system in America is expected to experience an acute shortage of nurses by the year 2026 (AACN, n.d.). The shortage will be attributed to factors such as the high number of nurses who will be retiring, changes in patient demographics, and failure of institutions that train nurses to produce adequate numbers to meet the demand. This therefore implies that health organizations will have to struggle to provide care that meets the needs of their populations due to staff shortage (Haddad & Toney-Butler, 2019).. This issue presents a great opportunity for the RNs and APRNs to participate actively in policy making since healthcare sectors are exploring the possible interventions to address the issue. Healthcare stakeholders are increasingly recognizing the need for the incorporation of the inputs from the nurses in the strategies that would be adopted to address the issue of nursing shortage. Therefore, while it might be a challenge, shortage of nurses presents an opportunity for them to play an active role in policy-making.

The second opportunity that exists for the APRNs and RNs to participate actively in policymaking is the presence of professional bodies. A number of professional bodies that address the needs of the RNs and APRNs exist. Examples include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and American Nurses Association. These organizations provide RNs and APRNs with opportunities to participate in issues influencing their practice. They also provide these nurses with opportunities to present their views on the manner in which nursing policies should be transformed. The membership of the RNs and APRNs in these professional organizations also eliminates challenges such as their victimization due to their involvement or advocacy for policy changes (Masters, 2018). Therefore, besides representing these nurses, professional bodies provide RNs and APRNs to provide their insights into policy changes that are needed to transform their practice.

One of the challenges that the above opportunities present to APRNs and RNs role in policymaking is the lack of time for them to participate in the process. An acute shortage of nurses will imply that the workload for the remaining nurses will rise significantly. It will also increase the risk of burnout and job dissatisfaction among them. As a result, most of them will lack the time to engage in activities contributing to policy transformation. They will also lack the motivation to contribute to policy making on issues that affect their practice (Haddad & Toney-Butler, 2019). Therefore, while shortage of nurses is anticipated to bring opportunities in policymaking, it might also hinder the participation of RNs and APRNs in policymaking due to high workload.

The other challenge that the professional bodies for nurses might present to RNs and APRNs role in policymaking is low level of awareness among them on their role in policymaking. It is evident that participation of RNs and APRNs in activities of their professional organizations is significantly low. This is attributed to factors such as lack of information concerning them and low interest among the members in participating in them. It could also be attributed to the influence of misrepresentation of the members in these organizations (Masters, 2018). Therefore, such instances make professional organizations act as barriers in the active participation of RNs and APRNs in policymaking.

One strategy that I will utilize to advocate the existence of the above opportunities is embracing open

NURS 6051 Discussion The Role of the RN APRN in Policy-Making
NURS 6051 Discussion The Role of the RN APRN in Policy-Making

communication. Open channels of communication are essential in creating awareness among RNs and APRNs on the existence of these opportunities. There should be sharing of information, opinions, and concerns on the ways in which the participation of the nurses can be enhanced (Masters, 2018). Open communication will ensure that the views of the entire nursing workforce are considered in the policy formulation and implementation processes.

The second strategy is strengthening the creation of organizational culture that promotes change. It is essential that health organizations recognize the role played by the RNs and APRNs in policymaking processes. They should support the adoption of interventions that increase their participation in policymaking activities. They should also ensure that leadership styles used in the organization promote flexibility in embracing change (Masters, 2018). Through this, RNs and APRNs are motivated to play an active role in policymaking activities that contribute to the development of their profession.




AACN. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: Nursing Shortage. Retrieved on 20th March, 2020 from

Haddad, L. M., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2019). Nursing shortage. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Masters, K. (2018). Role development in professional nursing practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Two opportunities that exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy-making are by participating in disease advocacy/special interest groups and through personal experience. According to the American Nurses Association (n.d.), advocacy is a pillar of nursing. Thousands of nurses across the country have a chosen specialty that is considered their “niche.” For example, mine is psychiatry and I am a huge mental health advocate. RNs and APRNs have the opportunity to participate in policy-making dealing with their chosen specialty, as they most likely know quite a bit about those fields and can bring their knowledge to the table. Personal experience brings about another opportunity for RNs and APRNs to participate in policy-making, as experience allows one to bring to light problems encountered while working that could be addressed with advice/help from the main caretakers.
The challenge for the opportunity of a special interest group may present could be how congress would decide which advocated disease would deserve special recognition by receiving a new policy.

There are so many catastrophic diseases it would be difficult to choose which one or in what order in which to move forward. The challenge for the opportunity of those with personal experience could be that the issues a group of nurses is having may be facility-specific problems, not a nationwide common issue, which may cause the policy proposal to be thrown out.
Strategies to better communicate/advocate the existence of these opportunities include approaching the policy proposal in a systemic way and building relationships to support the policy. We respond to problems on a disease-by-disease basis instead of systemically (Health Policy and Politics, 2018). In other words, when issues in healthcare arise, they are usually only addressed according to how they affect a certain disease progression. For example, someone diagnosed with dementia is often not eligible for certain resources until their disease progression has worsened and they need to be institutionalized (Health Policy and Politics, 2018). At this point what good has the system really done for them? Mental health resources that could be used by dementia patients can also be used by someone with anxiety and depression. Approaching issues in a way that covers more than just one disease at a time could make policies so much more effective. Building relationships with media, consumer groups and businesses to help bring light to issues needing to be addressed in healthcare would be a great way to better advocate the existence of these opportunities for RNs and APRNs (Getting Your Program Designed and Implemented, 2018). The more individuals advocating for change, the better chance a proposed policy has of becoming a reality.

American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Advocacy. ANA. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). Getting your Program Designed and Implemented

[Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). Health policy and politics [Video file]. Baltimore,