Enhancing Nurses' Engagement in Health Policy: From the Classroom to the Statehouse
Crowder, Sharron J.
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Session presented on Monday, November 9, 2015 and Tuesday, November 10, 2015: Enhancing Nurses' Engagement in Health Policy: From the Classroom to the Statehouse. The Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing report calls on nurses to assume leadership roles in the redesign of the health care system and policies that impact health outcomes and nursing practice. Professional nursing organizations, such as Sigma Theta Tau International, support efforts to prepare nurses to participate in the policy level at all levels of government, including the state level. Many faculty emphasize teaching students about health policy, however classroom delivery of health policy content and engagement can be enhanced through active learning strategies. Nurse educators are also positioned to prepare future state health policy leaders by expanding student engagement beyond the classroom into "real world" settings. State legislative fellowships provide opportunities for students to actively engage in the legislative process. Yet for many nursing faculty, developing effective learning strategies and experiential learning opportunities for several settings can be challenging. This session will provide strategies nurse educators can use to enhance health policy learning outcomes. Specific strategies to build student engagement in health policy leadership and advocacy will be explored. Efforts to provide experiential learning opportunities to further engage students will be supported through exemplars of state legislative fellowships. Kolb's experiential learning theory provides the framework for engaging students in legislative fellowships. Through experiential learning, legislative fellowships enable nursing students to examine the role state government plays in various aspects of policy including access to health care policy, workforce development, nursing practice, and nursing education. The implications for future innovation and research will also be explored.