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Policies and Social Programs in Nursing Practice

The medical sphere continues to develop constantly, and, nowadays, the actions of a nurse are defined not only by the evidence-based practice and educational background but also they are controlled by a diverse range of policies and social programs (Milstead, 2013). Consequently, the primary goal of the paper is to discuss the paramount importance of policies, public policies, and social programs and define their pivotal role in advanced nursing practice. In the end, conclusions are drawn to summarize the main findings of the paper.

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In the first place, a policy can be defined as an action plan that sets well-defined goals and has “authoritative guidelines that direct human behavior” (Milstead, 2013, p. 139). As for the examples, every medical institution has a procedure and policy manual, and it describes the acceptable behavior of nurses and promotes the key values, including respect, ethics, adaptability, and courage. At the same time, due to the rapid development of technology, sufficient maintenance of health records became one of the most important matters due to the potential leakage of information and the lack of privacy (Government of Alberta, 2011).

Consequently, apart from differences in private manuals, the policies of medical institutions tend to be unified. For example, the Health Information Act: Guidelines and Practice Manual underlines the importance of knowledge of information technology and usage, collection, and disclosure of information covering the health of a patient while depicting them as key attributes of nursing practice (Government of Alberta, 2011).

In turn, public policy has similar intentions, but it is proposed by a particular governmental entity to deal with social issues and concerns (Milstead, 2013). In this case, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced in 2010 had a dramatic impact on the actions of advanced nursing practitioners. It provided valuable insights concerning education (Sec. 5302-5316) and emphasized that to ensure the delivery of advanced services, the nurses had to prioritize the values of diversity, quality, and excellence (Sec. 5401-5405) while supporting health initiatives, leadership, and integrity (US Office of Legislative Counsel, 2010). This legislative document expanded the actions of nurses and defined their pivotal role in policy formation and health promotion while being not only qualified medical specialists but also role models.

As for a social program, it is used to increase the visibility of various policies by designing and implementing plans to address the needs of the population (Milstead, 2013). In this instance, the most common programs are Medicare and Medicaid since they tend to cover different ethnic and social groups and provide medical assistance to them when needed (, 2017).

For nursing professionals, this program implies highlighting the value of diversity, treating patients from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds with respect, and promoting health. Meanwhile, it implements the main concepts of the ACA by attempting to increase the coverage of healthcare (US Office of Legislative Counsel, 2010). Consequently, different social programs have a tendency to define nurses as mediators between community and government and view them as cultivators of change and social leaders.

In the end, different policies and social programs not only define the behavioral patterns of nurses but also determine skills, values, and educational spheres that have to be prioritized and developed. For instance, policies such manuals, including the Health Information Act, clearly identify the most appropriate actions and emphasize the need to have a clear understanding of modern legislation and information technology. In turn, the ACA and social programs such as Medicare change nurses’ orientation towards diversity, respect, and tolerance while promoting a healthy lifestyle and encouraging positive changes in society and decision-making.

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Government of Alberta. (2011). Health information act: guidelines and practice manual. Web. (2017). What Medicare covers. Web.

Milstead, J. (2013). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

US Office of Legislative Counsel. (2010). Compilation of patient protection and affordable care act: Patient protection and affordable care act health-related portions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, second session. Washington, DC: Author.

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