A Hospital-Based Interdisciplinary Model for Increasing Nurses' Engagement in Legislative Advocacy

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Abstract

The Legislative Action Interest Group (LAIG) is a hospital-based health policy forum that engages nurses in exploring clinical implications of existing and pending health policies and regulations, while also creating a feedback loop to inform policy makers about the realities nursing practice and patient care. The LAIG is a collaborative effort between the hospital's Department of Nursing and Patient Care Services and the Office of Government Relations at an academic children's hospital. Nurses participating in the LAIG forums build a working knowledge of health policy and can articulate the practice realities for policy decision makers. Participants explore the political context of nursing and pediatric policies while learning about the state legislative process. Beyond the monthly meetings, members build policy advocacy skills and have testified at public hearings, met with state and federal legislators, and led tours for policy makers through the hospital. The LAIG model also benefits the government relations staff by providing time for them to discuss clinical implications of pending policies with nurses from practice settings in the hospital. Forum discussions enhance the ability of the hospital's lobbyists to articulate practice implications of health policy to lawmakers. This case study, describing the origin, structure, operations, and outcomes of the LAIG model, and has implications for nurses in hospitals and academic settings who are interested in engaging in policy work. Opportunities to research the sustainability, replicability, and patient-centered outcomes of LAIG forums represent future work needed to advance nursing's participation in policy.

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