Nurses Role in Healthcare Policy

It is a well-known fact that nurses play an important role in society and, particularly, in the healthcare environment. They provide advocacy in order to impact on the changes in laws, policies, and regulations that manage the entire healthcare system. Their advocacy encourages them to step beyond their professional practice and operate in the world of politics and policy (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014). This activity requires energy, time, will, and political skills that are especially necessary in the legislative arena. Historically, nurses have demonstrated their ability to shape the healthcare industry through changing and initiating various healthcare policy proposals and reforms. Numerous healthcare stakeholders, such as nursing specialty organizations, unions, national nursing organizations, sponsors, patients, and their families also take an active part in healthcare proposals and reforms.

For years, the American Nursing Association has issued various ideas regarding healthcare reforms to improve an access to healthcare for all citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status. This idea seems to come through a new Patient’s Bill of Rights under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Millions of people who were denied of health insurance have received the free access to the healthcare services, in particular to preventive and primary services. According to the research, the ANA’s history began back in 1896 when about twenty nurses took part in the American-Canadian convention of the Nurses Associated Alumnae (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014). Admittedly, at that time, there were no licensing nurses and none of the attendees were the registered nurses. In a century, ANA has expanded its services and grown in its number. Moreover, by that time, it had published a great collection of medical literature based on nursing practice and established the standards of a nursing code. It meant that nurses legislatively received their duties and areas of expertise. Since then, the American Nursing Association has advocated every nurse, regardless of her/his membership status. Nowadays, ANA continues to advocate for healthcare initiatives and reforms.

Nowadays, each and every nurse has a membership in different nursing agencies, boards, and associations, such as state nursing association, legislative bodies, state or federal government agencies, or professional nursing specialty organization (such as Advanced Practice Nurse Association, Oncology Nurse Association, Clinical Nurse Leader Association, or Wound Care Nurse Association) (Purdu, 2015). These organizations give nurses opportunities to advocate policies, lobby federal governments, state and local agencies for better working conditions and better pay. Furthermore, my membership in the American Student Association encourages me to improve the quality of care, professional skills through training and education, as well as other activities.

The findings suggest that a new Patient’s Bill of Rights under the Affordable Care Act offers low-income Americans free access to healthcare, providing insurance coverage to every citizen and free access to care (Simas, 2014). Previously, insurance companies left people in a need without coverage that led to negative consequences, raising the mortality rate among certain population groups. For many years, all healthcare stakeholders have struggled for better access to healthcare, trying to navigate this system. Millions of people could not even afford to visit a doctor because of financial problems. Thus, uninsured patients could not have free access to the medical facilities or even receive first aid. Quality care was affordable only to high-income people, while it was considered a luxury for many.

Due to this act, such people received the governmental protection of their health. Therefore, they have received stability that benefits their families and work. According to the research, a new Patient’s Bill of Rights under the Affordable Care Act helped all people to make their choices of doctors and medical facilities that were covered by insurance plans (Simas, 2014). This act guarantees the accessibility and affordability to low-income Americans and legal immigrants. To implement these decisions into life, ACA offers the regulatory insurance reforms, tax credits for employers, and many other measures that may improve the healthcare coverage of low-income populations.

I have chosen this act because this policy affects nurses in different ways. First of all, they begin to advocate patients in new rules and standards by explaining their rights to them. Since the adoption of this act, every nurse can feel free to provide healthcare to every individual patient, regardless of the amount of his or her wage and insurance coverage. Furthermore, they take part in educational programs and training for the population to enlighten them in a new policy. Particularly, my Student Association encourages its members to advocate for patients in their needs. Thus, I took part in volunteer visits to low-income families in my location to carry out the new knowledge.

Admittedly, among the most important issues in the implementation of any healthcare policy, is the involvement of stakeholders in the reform process. According to Purdu (2015), of the prominent importance are the sponsors who can contribute their money for insurance companies that can support low-income employers in small businesses. Obviously, such organizations cannot manage the expenses for healthcare coverage for their employees and they need the financial help. Thanks to sponsors, ACA could become a reality for the majority of Americans who need protection. Oftentimes, local catholic sponsoring organizations make considerable contributions to force the position of patients in new realities.

Thus, nurses have been the supportive advocates for patients’ rights throughout history. Their activities led to the establishment of different healthcare organizations and associations, which advocate nurses in their professional practices. The role of these organizations is rather considerable in healthcare changes that are directed at the improvement of care. A new Patient’s Bill of Rights under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is a true evidence of the importance of their roles in the American society.

References

Cowen, P. S., & Moorhead, S. (2014). Current issues in nursing (8th ed.). St. Louise, MS: MOSBY Elsevier.

Purdu, E. R. (2015, August 21). American Nurses Association (ANA). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/American-Nurses-Association

Simas, D. (2014, January 23). Health coverage before the ACA, and why all Americans are better off now. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/23/health-coverage-aca-and-why-all-americans-are-better-now