Health policy and resource allocation: potential impact on nursing (midwifery practice) Nurses have a professional obligation to advocate for clients through participation in the health policy and resource allocation process. Participation in the policy process influences the direction of policy and legislation, ultimately shaping the type of services and the resources in which clients may access services provided by nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Because nurses are situated within close contact with patients they are well positioned both to work directly with families on obesity-related health issues and to influence organizational policies that serve to exacerbate or ameliorate the problem.
Nurses are positioned on the frontlines of obesity prevention, policy creation, and health promotion. Nurses have a unique role as advocates and educators because of their close contact and ability to dispense advice to families. In addition, they have the opportunity to influence the thinking of nonmedical professionals in the environments in which they work, such as schools and industries.
Nurses can participate in this effort through education of, families, colleagues, and policymakers; through participation in policymaking processes to improve nutrition and activities and by participating in the legislative and budget processes to inform and influence decision making.
Opportunities exist for nursing involvement in related policy issues including but not limited to safe staffing patterns, safe handling of bariatric patients, national standards for food and beverages sold in schools, and insurance policies for obesity.
One example of an organisation that impacts nurse and midwifery practice through health policy is WorkSafe Victoria. WorkSafe provides the Code of Practice for Manual Handling which provides specific guidelines on assessing the risk factors associated with heavy lifting and strategies to avoid injury. This document is particularly useful to nurses who wish to influence policy and resource allocation related to safe handling of bariatric patients. Health policies can target and prioritize knowledge about the prevention and treatment of obesity. Unfortunately, barriers to the development of health policy exist.
Environmental and cultural issues pose major barriers, as does scepticism about the potential for policies to create change. Obesity continues to increase despite past recommendations on healthy eating and physical activity. Other barriers include the public perception that obesity is primarily a result of personal weakness and our environment, where advertising, supersizing, and the abundance of fatty and unhealthy food are increasingly tempting to children and families. Finally, knowledge about programs that are clearly effective for the prevention and treatment of obesity is lacking.
By recognizing these barriers, nurses and midwives can shape the nature of policy and develop realistic goals for implementation. Pic of fast food Nurses are able to promote policy changes from both the personal decision-making side of the argument as well as proposing and supporting government initiatives to promote prevention and treatment. In our practice setting, nurses can advise patients about diseases that are caused by obesity and the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. We can influence decisions made in our institutions and communities, propose legislation, and lobby for appropriate initiatives.
The following is an example of a nurse providing health promotion and fostering health policy within a school setting, as well as effectively allocating limited resources. Here is a picture of Former intensive care nurse Catherine Fisers is employed at Wales Street Primary School in Thornbury, Victoria. Her position is funded by the parents of students. With no government funding, the parents fund Catherine’s 11am to 3pm five-day-a-week position as school nurse to their approximately 420 students through a term fee.
Catherine may see up to 100 children a week and has a diverse role from providing first aid, including for fractures, infections, headaches, and asthma, to preventative health care for issues such as obesity and diabetes. A weekly newsletter written by Catherine for parents provides ‘practical reminders’ of health care advice, from nutritional tips to the treatment of asthma during the Victorian bushfires. “With the rate of childhood obesity, we need to get in and help children at the primary school level.
While I am providing first aid, I am educating them, parents and staff on nutrition and preventative health care. ” You can see from this example that nurses within an autonomous role are often involved in initiating health policy with limited resource and funding. Through advocacy and lobbying for support, Catherine has managed to implement a vital health service in a school setting aimed at addressing obesity and other health problems at a primary level, arming children with the knowledge and skills to maintain their health status as they develop.
In conclusion, opportunities exist for nursing involvement obesity-related health policy and resource allocation, allowing nurse advocates to apply their expertise and influence in the policy process. In a dynamic and evolving healthcare environment, new and revised policy, legislation, and regulation activity is an ongoing process. Australian Nursing Federation (2009). Primary health care in Australia : a nursing and midwifery consensus view. Retrieved from http://www. rcna. org. au/WCM/Images/RCNA_website/Files%20for%20upload%20and%20link/policy/documentation/position/consensus_statements_PHC_Australia. df Lowery, B. (2009). Obesity, bariatric nursing, and the policy process: The connecting points for patient advocacy. Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care, 4(2), 133-138. doi: http://dx. doi. org/10. 1089/bar. 2009. 9977 Sheehan, N. C. , & Yin, L. (2006). Childhood Obesity: Nursing Policy Implications. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 21(4), 308-310. doi: http://dx. doi. org/10. 1016/j. pedn. 2006. 04. 001 WorkSafe Victoria. (2000). Manual Handling Code of Practice. Retrieved from http://www. worksafe. vic. gov. au/forms-and-publications/misc/? a=9426
Cite this Nursing Health Policy
Nursing Health Policy. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/nursing-health-policy/