Closing the Gap in Nurse Advocacy
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Session presented on Thursday, July 21, 2016: Health care transformation is happening globally. Nurses have the knowledge and expertise to dramatically impact the reformation of local, national and global health systems. Experience working on the House Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives lead the presenter to realize that the voice and expertise of nursing is dramatically absent from the policy conversation. Paradoxically, however, when a nurse who is health policy savvy, policy makers are very interested in incorporating the nursing perspective. Policy makers understand that the broad, population health based approach of nurses is needed to design and implement health policies that support the health of the population while improving quality and controlling costs. Case discussions of the dramatic impact of nursing knowledge in the shaping of the Affordable Care Act in the United States will be presented as examples of how important it is to have nurses in key positions with expertise in policy. Each individual can make a big difference! The time is right for nurses to gain the confidence and expertise to be successful policy advocates, whether on the local school board, local and national governments or at the global level, nurses need to be active participants. This session will provide lessons learned from experienced policy advocates and include strategic tips for participants to develop their personal action plan. The need for uniting each nurse's effort to make nursing's aggregated voice sought after in creating and impacting health policy requires us to re-evaluate what we teach new students about health policy, what we include in our research studies, and how we impact health care access, cost and quality. Participants will be given the tools to develop personal advocacy plans that address local needs and individual nurses' expertise. The nursing profession is poised to provide much needed knowledge and expertise to policy makers. Policy makers are seeking knowledge and expertise to successfully transform health care delivery. Conditions are ripe for nurses to take on the mantle of leadership in health policy. This session will provide participants with the tools they need to develop confidence and expertise in health policy advocacy. This is a call to action!