Addressing health care politics has become an issue of paramount importance. As the present case demonstrates, it is not always evident for nurses how the process of policy-making develops and correlates with public health stakeholders’ consideration. To improve the situation, one should regard factors influencing the policy-making process, population health concerns, and strategies that nurses should pursue to enhance population and community health.
First and foremost, there are four main factors that refer to different dimensions and cumulatively apply leverage on health care policy. Political and legal issues constitute the first sphere of policy-making. Legislatures, executive boards, administrative agencies, and courts have the constitutional and legal authority to implement public policy and must be addressed; besides, there are nongovernmental participants, such as parties or interest groups, that interact with the primary policy-makers (Ubokudom, 2012). In the context of economy, health services corroborated by financial support should also be mentioned. Economic considerations have an effect on the type of services delivered and their costs: for example, “health professional services have accounted for the largest share of health care spending” (Ubokudom, 2012, p. 103). It is also vital to review social and cultural issues: depending on social stratification and lifestyle, people do not have equal opportunities and develop healthy or vicious habits. Finally, the health practitioner dimension includes patient need, demand for certain types of services, and their supply: ideally, patients demand what they need, and health providers have access to the necessary resources.
On condition that health policies are formulated, it is possible to identify the most significant population health concerns. According to the research conducted by Becker’s Hospital (2016), nowadays each state encounters different challenges. However, there are four population health concerns emphasized more frequently. The hospitals’ ability to provide patients with proficient care has been defined as the biggest problem. In other words, the primary task is to improve the quality of services and make them convenient. Another pressing concern deals with densely populated states: the hospitals lack employees. Many hospital CEOs, for example, in California, underscore that primary care and geriatric physicians are needed (Becker’s Hospital, 2016). In states with few metropolitan cities, reaching rural patients is the matter of primary concern. The rise of chronic diseases, especially hypertension, has also become a concern for public health.
Under such circumstances, the role of nurses is increasing. To meet new challenges and improve population and community health, the following nurse-led strategies may be implemented:
- Foster patient-oriented care via relationship-based, primary care (UC Irvine Health, n.d.). It is necessary to concentrate on individual patients. On the ground of patients’ needs, more attention should be paid to primary care enhancement.
- Focus on prevention and diagnosis (including interventions for patients with chronic diseases). Timeous aid will help diagnose diseases in early stages and raise the prospect of favorable outcomes.
- Develop educational approach. The task is not only to provide patients with information but also change their behavior for the better, for example, promote physical activity.
- Encourage participation in professional conferences and organizations. Professional contacts will help advance knowledge and maintain awareness of current medical achievements.
In conclusion, the process of developing health care policies is complex and requires combined effort in political, economic, social, cultural, and medical realms. To cope with numerous challenges in health care, it is vital to involve nurses. In the present-day situation, they should adopt several strategies concerning population and community health that will affect people’s health.
Becker’s Hospital. (2016). 50 states of population health. Web.
Ubokudom, S. (2012). United States health care policymaking: Ideological, social and cultural differences and major influences. Toledo, OH: Springer Science & Business Media.
UC Irvine Health. (n.d.) Advancing the future of healthcare – nursing strategic plan. Web.