Influencing health policy: strategies for nursing education to partner with nursing practice.
Cost, access, and quality have dominated health policy for more than 30 years. During that time, the number of health policy analysts and health services researchers has grown exponentially; however, health care policy remains a mysterious topic for most registered nurses. The foundations for a professional understanding of health care policy and policymaking should be well laid in formal education and synthesized with practice and work environments. Without time to promote synthesis of policy concepts related to the practice environment, nurses have no basis for further exploration and may remain naive to the influences of policy throughout their career. Practicing nurses, as eyewitnesses to the shortcomings of the U.S. health care system, are best suited to inform policymakers of needs, unintended consequences, and success stories. This article summarizes strategies to promote a partnership between the academy and nursing practice.
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