POLITICS AND POLICY IN NURSING 5
Nursesinvolvement in Policy and Politics
One: TheVirginia Nursing Kitchen Cabinet
Nursesbeing the direct caregivers, spend most of their time with ailingpatients than all other health professionals. In this light, it isimportant for decision makers to constantly hear their voices andaddress their concerns. If nurses fail to air their issues and standup for the issues that are critical to them, other professional withcompeting interest in healthcare may be the only ones whose voicesmay be heard. By having knowledge of how systems functions and thetechniques are more effective to articulate their issues, and thatcan effectively influence policy, any nurse can be an advocate bothat the local and national level.
Oneof the groups that had managed to unite and give nurses a voice inthe political realm is the Virginia Nursing Kitchen Cabinet. Beforethe formation of the group in the mid 1990s, there were numerousadvocacy groups such as the Virginia Nurses Association, theLegislative Coalition of Virginia Nurses, the Nurses PAC, and theVirginia Partnership for Nursing (Mason, 2012). These nursingorganizations had been able to bring nurses together but had notattained the main goal to advance public policies that support thenursing profession. In this realization a group of nurses’ leadersfrom different backgrounds joined hands to create the Kitchen Cabinetwith the sole aim of ensuring that all the gubernatorial candidateswere well versed in the nursing issues so that they could incorporatethem in the health policy decision in the executive branch. Theseleaders would ensure that all legislators at the state level wereconscious of the fact that there was a shortage of nurse and seek toinfluence the administration at the state level on nursing policy(Mason, 2012).
Thesuccess of this group was pegged on the fact that it made thedistinction between electoral politics and policy developments(non-partisan approach). Meticulously, the leaders had learned frompast mistakes made by other groups -that support for particularcandidates did nothing but watere down their credibility with thewinning leader. In the end, the Kitchen Cabinet was able to advancenursing policy, augment the educational capacity and wages of facultymembers in colleges and public schools and was able to place nursesat executive councils and commissions (Mason, 2012). Thisorganization showed that nurses could advance their agenda if theyhad a common voice.
Mason,D. J., Leavitt, J. K., & Chaffee, M. W. (2012). Policy& Politics in Nursing and Health Care.St. Louis: Elsevier.
two: Coalition for Nurses in Advanced Practice
Coalitionfor Nurses in Advanced Practice was formed by four women to remedywhat was perceived as the frustrations of the Advanced PracticeNurses in the state of Texas. CNAP was designed to advocate for allthe advanced practice nurses in the state parliament. CNAP leadershad realized that the APN had failed to achieve it agenda because itdid not have a wing that would help it put its plans into actions, bymaking the political class in parliament conscious of the issues athand. CNAP would advance the interest of all advanced practicenurses, and not a specific group of APNs (Woolbert, 2014).
Themove to form the CNAP was also propelled by the realization that APNsfaced massive opposition from other medical organizations thatenjoyed immense support, had an extensive network and many lobbyists.Incessant to attain what others had failed to deliver and withunrelenting hard work and dedication the CNAP was able to push forthe reimbursement of all APNs. The organization has continued toflourish by fostering a strong relationship with other nursingorganizations and encouraging members to maintain close contacts withlegislators (Woolbert, 2014). CNAP has shown that in order for theinterest group to attain any meaningful development and influencepolitical decisions, they need to have one voice. It is extremelydifficult for interest groups such as CNAP to get policy maker toredress their concerns if there no cooperation and with other groupsthat share their issues. Even though interest groups are fighting formore autonomy and authority for APNs, it is paramount that competentlobbyist are engaged to air and educate policymakers on the issues athand. CNAP has created an opportunity for nurses and nursing studentsto meet with policy makers and legislators to discuss pertinentnursing issues (Woolbert, 2014).
Woolbert,L. (2014) A rough road in Texas: Advanced practice nurses build astrong coalition. In D. Mason, J. Leavitt, & M. Chaffee (Eds.),Policyand Politics in Nursing and Health Care(pp. 633-636). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier