Religious Ethics and Health Legislation in Nursing

Spiritual beliefs affecting the health policy reform process

Spiritual beliefs and political ideologies are inextricably linked to each other since the former impact the latter. In particular, the majority of people associate certain beliefs with social benefits, prosperity, and other positive phenomena (Ernecoff, Curlin, Buddadhumaruk, & White, 2015). It is possible to note that spiritual beliefs affect the priority assigned to certain policies and related processes (Ernecoff et al., 2015). People sticking to nationalism or Judaism are more likely to promote their own beliefs rather than focusing on socialism or communism. Policies are, as a rule, evaluated through the prism of spiritual beliefs, which impacts the overall policy-making process in one or another society.

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A vivid example is the health policy reform process in the United States, which is affected by spiritual beliefs related to faith. The specified phenomenon can be traced via the relationship between nurses and patients in terms of decision-making and problem solving (Secher, Stensballe, & Afshari, 2013). Modern nursing focuses on patient-centered care to ensure that patients have the most beneficial health outcomes. However, some cases seem to be too complicated and multifaceted to resolve. Political ideologies of the US and nursing respect the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood consumption even when blood transfusion is required (Secher et al., 2013). Nevertheless, it depends on the court how to treat a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ child diagnosed with leukemia, which is made to save his or her life. In other words, despite the great impact of spiritual beliefs on political ideologies, the state leaves the right to decide in some critical cases.

The role of a religious ethic in public policy today

Religious ethics plays a significant role in today’s public policy. Many policymakers and reforms refer to religious values, principles, and behavioral instructions. Evidence indicates that various social concerns may be addressed with the help of religion supported by relevant policies (Blank & Shaw, 2015). Such issues as early pregnancy, drug and substance abuse, murder, and other similar issues may be noted. While not all people follow public policy, religion provides the opportunity to use it as a reference to improving the lives of those who encounter the mentioned social difficulties.

One more essential point is that religious ethics provides partisanship towards public policy, thus assisting people in following healthcare-related recommendations (Blank & Shaw, 2015). However, such an advantageous impact does not mean that either a religious ethic or theistic worldview should prevail. On the contrary, a balance should be achieved since these two attitudes should be achieved as well in combination (Blank & Shaw, 2015). To accomplish this, policymakers should remain committed to social problems and the ways of addressing them despite focusing on their own beliefs. Social justice should be taken into account to ensure that religious persons, atheists, and representatives of other categories feel comfortable and recurred as members of society.

Regulation/legislation affecting the role and scope of the advanced nursing role

An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is a specialty that has changed over time under the impact of legislation and regulations. As stated by Carney (2016), the role of APRNs altered to some extent compared to the previous decades, which is largely associated with the rapidly developing environments. For example, the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) reports that some states such as Arkansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, and so on introduced the state scope-of-practice (SOP) laws that recognize nurse practitioners as the primary care providers (Carney, 2016). At the same time, others restrict the areas in which APRNs may practice, and the discussions about changes are currently underway.

However, it seems that social, economic, and religious needs pinpoint the enlargement of the services APRNs are eligible for. To assist nurses in advocating for these roles, official health organizations may be used to identify statistics, determine needs, and suggest possible ways to address the existing problems. In particular, the following resources seem to be beneficial: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Nurses Association (ANA), Healthy People 2020, Nurse Advocacy Association (NAA), and others.

Nursing association affecting health care legislation

One of the critical issues in nursing is the problem of adequate staffing. In California, for example, the minimum nurse staffing legislation introduced recently led to decreased care quality and increased acuity‐adjusted nurse staffing (Mark, Harless, Spetz, Reiter, & Pink, 2013). Such mixed results show that there is a need to regulate staffing issues more properly. In 2018, ANA applauded a Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act that implies the creation of committees including “at least 55 percent direct care nurses” in Medicare-participating hospitals (“ANA applauds nurse staffing legislation,” 2018, para. 1). It is expected that the mentioned activities will enhance staffing, reduce nurse turnover, adverse health events, and costs. Also, one should make it clear that patient outcomes will also improve based on adequate attention to their health needs and patient-centered approach application. Thus, it becomes evident that ANA strives to contribute to the practice of nursing through legislation and relevant acts.

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ANA applauds nurse staffing legislation. (2018). Web.

Blank, J. M., & Shaw, D. (2015). Does partisanship shape attitudes toward science and public policy? The case for ideology and religion. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 18-35.

Carney, M. (2016). Regulation of advanced nurse practice: Its existence and regulatory dimensions from an international perspective. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(1), 105-114.

Ernecoff, N. C., Curlin, F. A., Buddadhumaruk, P., & White, D. B. (2015). Health care professionals’ responses to religious or spiritual statements by surrogate decision makers during goals-of-care discussions. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(10), 1662-1669.

Mark, B. A., Harless, D. W., Spetz, J., Reiter, K. L., & Pink, G. H. (2013). California’s minimum nurse staffing legislation: Results from a natural experiment. Health Services Research, 48(2), 435-454.

Secher, E. L., Stensballe, J., & Afshari, A. (2013). Transfusion in critically ill children: An ongoing dilemma. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 57(6), 684-691.

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