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Nursing Leadership and Health Policy Changes

Introduction

It has been acknowledged that the US healthcare system faces a serious issue associated with the shortage of qualified nursing professionals. To address this challenge, several incentives and policies have been introduced. Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act is one such policy that has proved to be effective. At the same time, it is clear that the Act has certain imperfections that can be removed. It is important to improve the act to ensure sustainable development of the nursing workforce in the USA.

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The Policy’s Outline

The American Nurses Association has recently addressed Congress asking to increase funding of Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act to $223.84 million in the 2015 fiscal year, which is a 12% growth compared to 2014 (Title VIII Funding for Nursing Workforce Development, 2014). The Association considers the policy to be very effective and, hence, it should be expanded to reach more people. The policy involves the provision of numerous grants to facilitate the development of the nursing workforce in the USA.

Some of the main programs involved are Advanced Education Nursing; Workforce Diversity Grants; Nurse Education, Practice, and Retention Grants; National Nurse Service Corps, Nurse Faculty Loan Program and Comprehensive Geriatric Education Grants (Title VIII Funding for Nursing Workforce Development, 2014). All of these grant programs involve funding grants given to applicants who are eager to get an education in nursing. Special attention is paid to encouraging graduates of medical schools to get degrees (master’s as well as post-master’s) in nursing. Nonetheless, it is still clear that these grants are not enough. It is essential to include on-the-job training in the policy, which will be beneficial for the development of nursing workforce.

Changes to Be Made

One of the most important changes to be implemented is to include training in healthcare facilities. Thus, graduates who received grants and successfully completed their programs should be assigned to provide certain training of staff in certain healthcare units. This will involve full-time as well as part-time jobs as a trainer for a year or several months. As for the facilities taking part in such programs, in the first place, these can be units characterized by a significant rate of turnover and a significant level of customers dissatisfaction. At the same time, the rest of the healthcare facilities can and should also take part in this program.

Another improvement that can facilitate the development of the nursing workforce is associated with knowledge sharing. The grants should involve nursing professionals exchange among healthcare facilities. Again, successful as well as unsuccessful healthcare units should participate in the program. Nursing professionals should share their knowledge and this can be achieved through close collaboration in specific facilities. The grants are needed to compensate nurses’ work as it is clear that some healthcare facilities cannot afford to employ high-profile nurses. A qualified nurse (with a degree) can work in another facility but earn the same salary. Of course, it is guaranteed that the nursing professional will occupy the post he/she occupied before participation in the program.

The Way to Implement the Change

To make sure that the funding will be provided and the act will include the changes mentioned above, it is important to make sure that certain nursing associations will be involved. Hence, the American Nurses Association can be addressed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM is a non-profit organization that provides advice on improvements of the healthcare sector to various decision-makers (About the IOM, 2013). Notably, this organization works on various projects that often originate from incentives sent from members as well as non-members of the organization.

Hence, a nursing professional can develop a brief plan on improvement of the Act mentioned above. This healthcare professional will have to address his/her colleagues and the administration of the healthcare facility. The facility can support the nurse through the provision of extra time to spend on the development of the program. The facility should also support the nurse when addressing the IOM. The healthcare facility can also address other units to support the incentive to make the IOM more interested in implementation of the program. Of course, the project provided to the IOM should include the rationale for the change. It should also include a preliminary plan of implementation. The rationale can include data on training provided at healthcare facilities and its effectiveness. It is also possible to address the public and raise awareness on the issue.

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The IOM will implement a more thorough survey and will come up with a detailed plan on the policy’s improvement. The IOM will also address Congress to add the necessary changes.

Conclusion

On balance, it is possible to note that even an individual nursing professional can initiate certain changes to policies. Of course, this process requires certain commitment, leadership skills, and persistence. It is also clear that the easiest way to address policymakers and make them add certain changes is to address a nursing association. These organizations often have the necessary experience in working with policymakers. They also have significant resources to develop sophisticated plans and convince policymakers that the change is necessary.

Reference List

About the IOM. (2013). Web.

Title VIII Funding for Nursing Workforce Development. (2014). Web.

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