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RNs and APRNs have several opportunities to facilitate policy-making in their field. However, the two opportunities were RNs and APRNs can actively partake in policy-making are advocacy and engaging with policy-makers. In advocacy, it is essential to note that RNs and APRNs work with a various individuals, which gives them an opportunity to experience and learn about potential issues that their service users are facing (American Nurses Association, n.d.). In this regard, APRNs and RNs can participate in policy-making by highlighting and advocating for the public to understand the issue faced by the group (Congress.gov, n.d.). On the part of engaging with legislators, RNs and APRNs can use their expertise, knowledge, and skills to inform policy-makers about a potential issue that needs to be addressed (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). In this case, their participation helps in sponsoring the bill to the legislation.
However, these opportunities to participate come with challenges that can inhibit the participation of nurses in the policy-making process. The first challenge is limited resources, which can inhibit the advocacy activities of a nurse. RNs and APRNs may not have adequate resources to mobilize the public about a specific issue to an extent of it getting the attention of policy-makers (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). However, the RNs and APRNs can overcome this challenge by engaging specific groups of people based on the available resources. Another challenge associated with these opportunities is convincing the legislator to sponsor a bill to address the issue to become a legislation (American Nurses Association, n.d.). APRNs and RNs can overcome this barrier by ensuring that they provide appropriate data and information to convince the legislator about a specific problem.
Additional strategy that APRNs and RNs can embrace to better advocate or communicate these opportunities is by taking leadership roles. The leadership position accords the APRN or the RN the power to obtain resources needed to engage the public. Similarly, while in a leadership position, APRNs and RNs can have easy access to legislators in their region; thus, it will help in advocating and facilitating policy change. Another strategy is embracing inter-professional collaboration (Institute of Medicine, 2010), which helps in ensuring that the APRN or RN has the necessary information about an issues before engaging the legislator.
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