Jennie Pattison, DNP, RN, CNE, explains the importance of nurses being involved in health care policy and her passion for educating students in this area so they can be leaders in improving health outcomes.
Hello! My name is Jennie Pattison. As an Assistant Professor in the Chamberlain College of Nursing MSN ST/AT Program, I have had the privilege to teach health care policy to graduate nursing students. My passion is to empower nurses to realize that they have a voice and can make difference in the health care of their patients and communities.
Healthcare policy continues to drive many components of healthcare in our ever-changing healthcare system. It is essential that nursing education include healthcare policy concepts. The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing, updated in 2011 by the American Association of Colleges in Nursing (AACN), includes Healthcare Policy and Advocacy as one of the competencies for nurses prepared at the master’s level. Nursing students need to delve deeper into some of the drivers of healthcare policy such as cost of care, access to care, and quality of care in order to advocate for updates and changes in policy that contain costs while increasing quality and access of healthcare to all members of society.
I have witnessed apprehensive MSN students enter a healthcare policy class with little to no knowledge of healthcare policy and then complete the class with the passion and motivation necessary to advocate for their community. Healthcare policy education equips nursing students with the knowledge needed to advocate for the health and safety of their communities by participation in the development and presentation of healthcare policy proposals to policymakers at the institutional, local, state, and federal levels. For example, a MSN healthcare policy education course gave one student the knowledge and courage she needed to submit a healthcare policy idea to a local Community Law Idea Contest and win. Her healthcare policy proposal was to add a Teen Outreach Program to the High School Courses to help decrease the incidences of teen pregnancy. With local and global healthcare concerns, it is more vital than ever that nursing education prepares students for healthcare policy and advocacy.