Discussion Prompt No. 1: Strategies for nurses to influence health policies and legislation
The nurses are uniquely positioned to be advocates for both their patients and community. Participating in the political system is one of many ways they can impact health policy and legislation. Understanding the policies in place and any proposed modifications, and then advocating those changes that are likely to have a positive effect on health outcomes for patients is part of this process. Here are some ways that nurses can actively impact health policy and legislation:
- Nursing professionals can reach out to their elected officials and voice their concerns, or advocate policy changes for their patients. It can be achieved through letters, emails, phone calls.
- Nursing organizations can be joined by nurses who are interested in advocating for health policies and laws. They provide nurses with a forum to share their views and to work together in order to bring about change.
- Nursing experts can provide expert opinions at public hearings on health policies and legislation. It can be a great way to help legislators make decisions that benefit constituents.
- Working with lobbyists: Nurses are able to work together in order to promote policy change. They have contacts with legislators and can assist nurses in making their voices heard.
- Nursing professionals can take part in local efforts in order to increase awareness of policy issues and gain support. It is possible to participate in marches, rallies or other forms of public protest.
Nursing has a crucial role to play when it comes to influencing legislation and health policy. Nurses can influence health policies by being active and informed.
American Nurses Association (2015). Nurses: scope and standards of Practice. Silver Spring MD, Nursesbooks.org.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2015). The Nurses’ Board: A guide to leadership development. Princeton, NJ: Author.
Discussion Prompt # 2: Community Immunization, Childhood Immunization.
In recent years, childhood immunization was a controversial topic. Some parents chose not to vaccinate due to safety or efficacy concerns. It has caused outbreaks of diseases that are preventable by vaccines and can harm the community’s health. Nurses must be aware of the debate surrounding childhood vaccination and its potential effect on the community’s health.
Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness are at the root of controversy around childhood vaccination. Some parents fear that vaccines could cause autism, or have other harmful effects despite the scientific evidence to prove otherwise. Some parents believe their children are not at high risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses or choose to not vaccinate because they have personal or religious convictions.
It is important to consider the potential health impact that anti-vaccine groups could have on communities. Herd immunity can be compromised when large numbers of unvaccinated children exist, and diseases that are vaccine preventable spread rapidly. It is not just unvaccinated child who’s at risk. Also those who can’t receive vaccines like infants and immunocompromised people.
They can also play an important role in helping to prevent outbreaks of diseases that are vaccine-preventable. Parents and caregivers can be educated and provided with resources about vaccine safety, efficacy and the importance of immunization for the community. They can work together with partners in the community to improve vaccine rates and advocate for policies supporting childhood immunization.
As a conclusion, I believe that childhood immunizations are a key component in maintaining community health. In addition, nurses play a significant role in the promotion of vaccination and prevention of outbreaks of diseases which can be avoided by vaccine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Immunization and vaccinations. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html
Salmon, D. A., Moulton, L. H., Omer, S. B.