As frontline caregivers and healthcare experts, nurses are uniquely positioned to advocate for change. Their valuable insights can inform new policies that benefit patients and nursing professionals while contributing to greater societal health. As a student in Nevada State College’s online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, you can learn more about how nurses support positive change in healthcare.
What Is a Nurse’s Social Mandate?
The nurse’s social mandate refers to broader responsibilities beyond their individual roles in patient care. The mandate is based on the understanding that nursing is both a helping profession and a societal institution that plays a significant role in public health, social justice, and healthcare policy. It encompasses the role of nurses in advocating for and contributing to the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole.
What Advocacy Activities Are Available to Nurses?
Advocacy opportunities are abundant. Most nurses can find multiple ways to plug in locally or nationally, such as the following opportunities:
- Join professional organizations. Joining nursing organizations like the American Nurses Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, or the National League for Nursing can help nurses stay current on the latest healthcare policies and network with other professionals. These organizations typically have dedicated advocacy efforts, such as state capitol advocacy days, where nurses meet with lawmakers, share their perspectives, and encourage specific policy changes.
- Seek community partnerships. Nurses may connect with community organizations through their employers, but they can separately seek out nonprofits and other groups needing nurses’ support and expertise. Nurses can share their clinical knowledge and assist in coordinating local events or public awareness campaigns to garner support for policies that advance health equity and community health.
- Participate in continuing education. As nurses gain more clinical experience and learn the inner workings of the healthcare system, they can recognize the core issues contributing to poor health and work toward meaningful improvements and recommendations. Online courses, workshops, and industry seminars offer opportunities to dive into policy analysis, healthcare economics, and leadership and communication strategies.
- Pursue leadership positions. Nurses in leadership roles may have a larger platform to advocate for local, regional, and national policy changes. They can also encourage staff to suggest changes that improve employee and patient welfare and try those ideas in their unit or facility. Such collaborative efforts can result in new healthcare policies that address nursing workforce issues, patient care standards, and public health concerns.
What Skills Do Nurses Involved in Advocacy Need?
Many of the same skills nurses rely on when caring for patients come in handy when advocating for themselves and their patients, including the following:
- Communication and public speaking skills help nurses present their perspectives clearly and succinctly to influence key decision-makers, such as executive leadership and lawmakers.
- Critical-thinking skills allow nurses to analyze complex healthcare issues, identify potential solutions, and weigh the pros and cons of policy recommendations.
- Research skills ensure nurses can gather and interpret relevant data and research to support their advocacy efforts.
- Policy analysis skills are crucial to understanding policymaking, including how laws are developed, passed, and implemented.
Where Can Nurses Learn More About Advocacy?
Nevada State College’s online RN to BSN program lays the foundation for nurses seeking to shape healthcare policy and advocate for their patients. The comprehensive curriculum includes an Engaging in Leadership & Health Policy course that explores how nurse leaders can guide the profession and their institutions in providing compassionate care that meets patients’ developmental and cultural needs.
Students analyze the impact of resource allocation on equitable care delivery and learn about the societal and political factors influencing healthcare. In addition, they identify how to leverage the social mandate of nursing to effect change through advocacy.
Through nurses’ distinct blend of clinical knowledge and compassionate care, their advocacy efforts can ensure that policies and practices align with the best interests of patients, communities, and the broader healthcare system.
Learn more about Nevada State College’s online RN to BSN program.