A Staged Approach to Educating Nurses in Health Policy

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Nurse leaders and health-care experts agree that nurses have a responsibility to address the health problems facing the nation by participating in health policy development. However, nurses have not fully realized their potential when it comes to engaging in health policy advocacy and leadership. Nurse leaders, professional nursing organizations, accrediting bodies, and the Institute of Medicine have all identified the need to educate nurses in heath policy. Valuable recommendations for content and learning activities in health policy have been made. We argue that nursing education in health policy and the many recommendations offered have been broad and overly ambitious. This article presents a proposal for a staged approach to educating nurses. This approach would tailor content to the role of the nurse at each level of nursing education. The focus of health policy content would progress from the organizational level to local, state, and finally national level health policies. The goal of this approach is to better prepare all levels of nursing students to participate in shaping effective health policies.

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