Healthcare policies are established on the legislative level for helping the providers to work effectively and identifying how most of the operations must be performed at the facilities. The regulations are vital for the practitioners to be used as guidelines and assist in decision-making; however, many become outdated and cause severe patient outcomes (Woo et al., 2019). Advanced practice nurses (APNs) have sufficient academic qualifications and clinical experience to provide high-quality healthcare for patients. Direct interaction with clients helps them timely notice the issues or drawbacks of an organization’s work and report it to the relevant person or institution in charge. Consequently, APNs can impact policymaking standards established by regulators statewide or nationwide and use their professionalism to be actively involved in making significant changes (Hanks et al., 2019). This paper aims to explain how healthcare policies influence APNs, the importance of advocacy at their work, and how their transformational leadership can affect policymaking.
The Impact of Healthcare Policy on APNs
Healthcare policies are crucial for developing efficient practices that address patients’ needs and creating the appropriate environment for practitioners’ operations. The principles are established on state and national levels to manage the involved institutions, and regulations that comply with them are also set at organizations to address their specific needs (Kersha-Aerga & Crawford, 2022). Healthcare policies address how the facilities should function, what are the factors to consider at maintenance, what are the practitioners’ responsibilities, and how the cost savings can be optimized. In the reaction to patients, the principles include insurance utilization, services providence regulations, and health conditions management.
Healthcare policies impact APN’s from their organization’s perspective, and through the approaches, they must select to provide high-quality services for their patients. The state regulations influence the practitioners the most as their autonomy and authority in performing specific tasks depend on local legislators’ established laws. For instance, California’s scope of practice policy requires APNs to receive continuing education and furnishing number to authorize for prescribing schedule II-V controlled substances (Woo et al., 2019). National healthcare regulations also impact how APNs must provide services for patients and what decisions they must make to make the care effective. Indeed, standardizations for practitioners’ basic operations are established nationwide, and these protocols dictate how the care must be provided (Kersha-Aerga & Crawford, 2022). Healthcare policies are vital for proper APNs’ work as they help professionals in their decision-making and evaluation of their services’ quality.
APNs have sufficient authority to impact the healthcare policies, and, as they are involved in organizations’ workflows and interactions with patients, they can notice the issues that demand regulatory changes. Furthermore, professionals are directly connected to the legislative boards of their states and have the options to influence policymaking by providing them with information about the challenges that disrupt their work (Woo et al., 2019). APNs can gather evidence to support their statements regarding the necessary changes and encourage other nurses to impact an ineffective policy.
The Role of Advocacy for APNs Work
APNs’ work includes advocating for the patient’s well-being and their facility’s effectiveness and beneficial working environment. Practitioners’ willingness to support the improvement and timely address the issues is the driver for policymaking that leads to positive changes. Advocacy is rooted in the nature of nursing and can be defined as support of a cause or proposal, leading professionals to actively serve and engage in positive change-making (Hanks et al., 2019). It is the essential component of the APN’s role because they have competencies and scope of practice that allow them to be perceived by the policymakers as authoritative speakers. Advocacy is crucial for practitioners’ efficiency at their facilities because it makes them collaborate and actively influence the issues that severely affect patient outcomes. APNs can join boards or create local units to energetically impact the change as their skillsets and scope of practice are relevant (Scott & Scott, 2021). Indeed, effective advocacy for healthcare providers enables them to demonstrate outstanding communicational, problem-solving, collaborative, and leadership characteristics, and most advanced practitioners have these qualities at the well-developed level.
Advocacy impacts patient care when is addressed by APNs because of their authority among other professionals and local Boards of Nursing. For instance, if policy-based operations become inefficient for clients, practitioners can gather the data such as feedback and outcomes reports to present as evidence for promoting change (Kersha-Aerga & Crawford, 2022). These activities require long-term active involvement, patience, and APNs’ willingness to improve experiences in their facility. Furthermore, patient care can be enhanced through establishing quality improvement teams for the practitioners to join it and administrate operations’ change and optimization (Woo et al., 2019). The policies might predefine these processes, and APN’s advocacy skills are essential to persist in updating the regulations if necessary. Influencing legislators requires complex activities such as current practices assessment, problem identification, evidence collection, and convincing offer of an alternative strategy (Scott & Scott, 2021). It is in APN’s advocating power to complete the tasks and enables other practitioners to support the change that benefits patient outcomes at a local facility, state, or nationwide.
APN’s Transformational Leadership and Healthcare Policy Change
APNs’ advocacy is displayed through their active engagement in improvement, and if it requires policy change, more practitioners are necessary to be involved. The demand for encouraging groups to influence healthcare regulations can be addressed through transformational leadership. That type of execution is defined as one’s ability to motivate others and recall to the higher ideals and values, resulting in achieving sustainable improvement (Boamah et al., 2018). Transformational leadership has four main components: idealized influence; inspirational motivation; intellectual stimulation; and individual consideration (Krepia et al., 2018). These pillars are the keys for APNs to encourage and maintain long-term positive change at their facilities, impacting their state’s and national operations and regulations.
Healthcare policy change is a complicated process that one person cannot handle, yet an APN who managed to build a team of like-minded colleagues can impact the regulators through effective transformational leadership. The components of administration address practitioners’ personalities, their communicational strategies, and execution style. Idealized influence, for instance, reveals the leader’s values and ethical principles they advocate for in their work and life (Boamah et al., 2018). Following high morals makes an APN reliable, and their conclusions about the necessary policy change are worth supporting. Inspirational motivation is a pillar through which a leader develops an efficient, communicative approach to encourage the team to continue improving regardless of the obstacles.
Intellectual stimulation is another transformational leadership component necessary for achieving significant change in healthcare policies and an organization’s operations. The pillar enables an APN to offer the colleagues to share their own views, ideas, and strategies, making each practitioner involved feeling valued and important for reaching the goal (Krepia et al., 2018). Individual consideration is the last component, which means that a leader recognizes personal drivers of one’s motivation to participate in an initiative and finds ways to fulfill their needs.
Transformational leadership is an appropriate tool for APNs to promote their facility’s operations or patient care improvement and enforce their authority in healthcare policy change. Regulations update require lengthy and biquadratic procedures, and it is vital for the initiators to keep pushing and maintaining sufficient encouragement to complete the initiative (Boamah et al., 2018). Furthermore, other organizations or institutions might not support policy changes, causing the debates and risks for a facility’s authority to be damaging. In these cases, APNs must remind their colleagues of the long-term positive impact of their actions and encourage them to gather more evidence suggesting the demand for regulations’ updates (Hanks et al., 2019). Healthcare policies exist to support providers’ work, yet the protocols might become outdated and cause severe patient outcomes (Krepia et al., 2018). Consequently, APNs’ advocacy for changing the regulations and encouraging their organizations to promote updates is crucial for overall health sector development.
APNs have a unique position at healthcare facilities that allow them to notice the issues in patient services, working operations, and regulations that limit the providers’ decision-making. Furthermore, advanced practitioners have sufficient authority to influence policymakers and achieve positive change in their organizations. Their advocacy for increasing healthcare quality and being actively involved in developing better patient experiences enables them to be persistent in promoting long-term improvement. Transformational leadership can be a key strategy for APNs to establish a culture of positive change in their organization and encourage other practitioners to join and influence policymakers.
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