The Road Less Traveled: Nursing Advocacy at the Policy Level

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Abstract

A frequent observation made about nursing advocacy at the policy level is its absence—or at least its invisibility. Ye t there is a persistent belief that nurses will participate in advocacy at the societal level in matters of health. Although gaps exist in our knowledge about how to advocate at the policy level, the authors suggest that a number of other factors contribute to the disconnect between what nurses are expected to do in terms of policy advocacy and what they actually do. There are two main purposes in this article: to review the epistemological foundations of advocacy in nursing, and to present a discussion of other factors that limit our participation in policy advocacy. The authors discuss challenges within the discipline, in the practice context, and at the interface of the worlds of policy and nursing practice. The article concludes with a discussion of possible strategies for moving forward.

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