Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Number 1 MS

According to the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, political competence is “putting to use abilities, viewpoints, and values necessary for successful political engagement” (Kostas-Polston, Thanavaro, Arvidson, & Taub, 2015, p. 11).  For nurses, this entails using their voices to advocate for things such as patient safety, safe working environments and having appropriate protective equipment necessary to perform a skills in patient care. This may be done locally, at the state level, or up to the national level.  Much like the nursing process, the political process for policy making uses four steps; recognize and identify a problem, formulate policy, implement the policy change and lastly monitor and evaluate the result (Patton, Zalon, & Ludwick, 2019). 

A major political battle going on across the United States for Advanced Practice Nurses is the limited scope of practice for Nurse Practitioners (NPs).  Currently only 27 states allow full practice authority to Nurse Practitioners (State Practice Environment, 2021).  While NPs are providing primary care to cover physician shortages, they are not granted the same autonomy in many states.  They are also reimbursed much less than physicians while providing the same amount of care.  Emergency authorizations were extended during the COVID-19 battle to ensure the infected population had adequate care, hopefully these pass on to a permanent solution.

 The American Association of Nurse Practitioner website advocacy page is a great resources for national and state issues that are being discussed. Another issue discussed is that while being allowed to care for patients in skilled nursing facilities, NPs are not authorized to perform admitting examinations, nor initial certification for hospice services. 

Number 2

 Political advocacy is an important role that an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) can participate in.  Through political advocacy, the APRN’s focus from the improvement of individual patient switches to the improvement of a community as a whole (Joel, 2018).  To be able to perform this role competently, understanding and exhibition of political competence is a must.  Political competence is being aware on when and how to mediate and advocate for the betterment of a community.

A nurse leader has the necessary training and education to aptly demonstrate his/her political competence in different levels of the community.  A nurse leader’s advocacy can be used to represent a community’s voice to obtain better health status.  For instance, a nurse leader can advocate for a rural farming community and demand for improved access to health care services and better working conditions. 

            Different strategies can be used to get the attention of the local officials.  Using the example given above, educating the community will be the first step.  By conducting community meetings, first-hand information from residents and farm workers can be gathered.  This is also a good opportunity to educate the people regarding health prevention and improvement.  Additionally, through these meetings the advocacy can gain support from the public.

            Once the problems and possible solutions have been identified, contacting the local officials is the next step to make them aware of the issues in the community.  This can be done though sending a letter, email, or request for a personal meeting.  While waiting for the support of the local officials on the proposed solutions, distribution of printed education materials to the community may be helpful to sustain the advocacy and make more people aware of the campaign.