Working in the field of nursing requires a strong voice. While working as a registered nurse, you may have advocated for your patients by standing up to doctors, providing recommendations and accurate information to families, and ensuring that your patients are fully educated on their conditions or treatment plans.
However, there is a limit to what you can do as a registered nurse. Federal, statewide, and institutional policies effectively tie your hands and limit what healthcare providers can do for patients. If you've ever looked at a law or policy and thought about how it could be improved or how it negatively impacted the people of Alaska, a Master’s degree in healthcare policy may give you the chance to give a voice to those concerns.
There are plenty of areas where healthcare policy can be improved in Alaska. The Health Policy Conference examines healthcare needs, areas of deficiency in Alaska, long-term goals, and how new policies can be created or existing policies can be changed to improve outcomes (State of Reform, 2015).
To have an impact on Alaska healthcare policy, you need the right education to back up your views and experience. Explore the next step by checking out healthcare policy graduate programs in Alaska below.
As a nurse that affects policies and laws in Alaska, you are expected to be the voice for other nurses throughout the state. That's a huge responsibility, and it's part of why educational requirements are so strict in this specialty. To complete a Master’s degree in health policy and reform, plan on earning at least 36 credits.
The learning outcomes for a Master’s degree program in nursing leadership can help you compare different options and find one that fits in with what you want to accomplish.
Learning goals and outcomes in a health policy program may include ones like those listed here:
- Apply knowledge to public health policy
- Identify health challenges
- Use research appropriately
- Assess quality of research
- Understand role of politicians and lobbying groups in policy creation
These goals are quite challenging, but the classes you take at the graduate level should prepare you to meet all of them. Commonly required courses in a Master’s of Public Health program include:
• Statistical Methods in Public Health
• Policy Communications
• Formulating Policy
• Introduction to the US Health Care System
• Policy Analysis
• Research and Evaluation Methods for Health Care
The Alaska Board of Nursing has a specific nursing license for those who want to work in public health. Once your training is completed, you may attend The PHN Academy. This is an online program for Alaska nurses. Completion permits you to begin working as a PHN I.
Having an active nursing license is required throughout your career. This involves renewing your license by November 30 in every even-numbered year. 30 credits of continuing education are mandated during each renewal cycle.
When you learn how to look at nursing from a legislative viewpoint, you'll see many ways in which the field can be improved, assessed, and strengthened. The Alaska Department of Public Health notes that nurses in this area look at performance measures for different programs and legislative efforts while comparing the return on investment for programs that utilize government funds.
While working in healthcare policy, you'll be expected to keep many groups of people in mind. The statements and suggestions you make should benefit specific populations, be supported by evidence, improve patient outcomes, and be practical for healthcare workers. This often involves working with lots of different people, including community groups, healthcare providers, lobbying groups, associations, and businesses.
You got into nursing to make a difference, and with a Master’s degree in health policy, you have the rare opportunity to improve healthcare for people outside your own clinic or hospital.
Take the next step in your education now and contact admissions professionals at Alaska healthcare policy graduate programs.