It is very paramount that nurses be involved in political issues and the policy formulation process. Involvement in the political and the policy process exposes nurses to knowledge on issues on health, law and trends in the health sector. However, it is evident that many nurses do not take the responsibility of being involved in the political process seriously. Strategies need to be reinstated to promote nurse involvement in the policy and the political process.
Since nurses work in a very demanding work environment, it is highly likely that the nature of the work of the nurses poses a big challenge to them being involved in the political and policy process. Boswell, Cannon and Miller (2005) reiterates that heavy workloads are among the issues that distract nurses from participating in the political process. For example, many overworked nurses prefer to take a rest during their free time rather than spending such time politicking. Due to such flax, nurses also lack enough knowledge of the political process. It is a bit difficult for one to participate in a process where they are not adequately informed. The nurses are also constrained by time (Weston, 2010). The majority of the nurses spend their valuable time in the hospitals, making it a bit hard for them to get some good time for participating in politics. Considering the historical background and issues surrounding the nursing profession, I opine that nurses suffer an inferiority complex that makes them reluctant to participate in the political and policy process. Similarly, gender and sex issues may play a role. While, men have been more active in politics than women, the nursing profession is dominated by women.
From a professional point of view, nurses are supposed to participate actively in the political and policy process. Every sector has challenges, and the healthcare sector is not an exception. Nurses are required to participate in the policy and political process in order to stand a better chance to challenge the injustices in the nursing profession, in particular, and the health sector at large. AIDitionally, participate in health care reform and enables nurses to stand a better chance to agitate for the betterment and growth of the nursing profession. From a professional perspective, the nursing curriculum for advanced nurse practitioners states clearly that they should be actively involved in the political process in order to champion for health policy and the betterment of the nursing profession.
There are various strategies that can be employed to enhance the involvement of nurses in the political process and the policy-making process. There is a need to enhance nurse’s interest in the legislative process (AAACN,2014). Apart from incorporating the political role of nurses in the curriculum, there should be massive agitation for the need for nurses to actively participate in the policy formulation process. AIDitionally, nurses have made steps to grow the profession, though a collective voice (Abood, 2007). The enlightened nurses need to educate all nurses on the great need for a collective voice. As a step to reinforce the strategies, there should be efforts to explain to the nurses how involvement in the legislative process will help them. In essence, nurses cannot participate in the legislative process if they do not know how it will benefit them. Lastly, nurses should be guided on how to participate in the legislative process.
Abood, S. (2007).Influencing health care in the legislative arena.Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1), Manuscript 2.
American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN). (2014). Healthcare policy: The nurse’s crucial role. Retrieved from http://www.aaacn.org/health-care-policy-nurses-crucial-role
Boswell, C., Cannon, S., & Miller, J. (2005).Nurses political involvement: Responsibility versus privilege. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21(1), 5-8.
Weston, M. J. (2010). Strategies for enhancing autonomy and control over nursing practice.The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 5(1), Manuscrit 2.