Have you ever made a call in your role as a registered nurse, only to find out later that you violated a policy or law? In many cases, the policies used to direct the work of nurses and other healthcare professionals are irrelevant, overly specific, or based in outdated evidence and research.
You may have felt, like many nurses do, that you are not in a position to influence change. However, your experience may actually make you a great asset to the field of healthcare policy.
A Master’s degree in healthcare policy can help you make the most of your experience in the nursing industry and help you improve the lives of people all over Arizona. A local research facility recently received a $2.9 million research grant to look at diabetes (AZ Big Media, 2015). Graduate-level education may permit you to advocate for specific causes or areas of nursing.
Healthcare laws and policies are changing, and the right education can help you become part of this process.
Find out what it takes to earn a Master’s degree in health policy by contacting Arizona graduate programs.
Effectively contributing to legislature and policy requires advanced knowledge in many different areas. Your prior nursing education and experience creates a strong basis of knowledge on which you can build. However, you must also learn about public health, healthcare spending, the legislative process, and the various factors that go into the creation of a law.
Since so many different topics must be covered, programs in this area tend to have fairly high credit requirements. Public policy and health programs in Arizona require, on average, the completion of 46 credits. They often focus on the diverse ethnic populations of Arizona, since the population makeup of Arizona is quite different from populations in most other states.
You may prepare for a career in health policy with courses like:
- Health Services Administration
- Public Health Leadership and Management
- Fundamentals of Health Budgeting and Financial Management
- Advanced Public Health Policy Analysis
- Biostatistics in Public Health
- Environmental and Occupational Health
To continue your work in policy and legislation, you'll likely need to keep working as a registered nurse. This allows you to continue developing insight and knowledge concerning health issues in the state. Because of this, you should keep your registered nursing license valid through the Arizona Board of Nursing. This state maintains a two-year renewal cycle.
There are quite a few different work settings in which you may use your graduate degree. Both the Arizona Public Health Association and the Arizona Department of Health Services are major voices in the development of health laws and policies throughout the state.You may also look into career opportunities through nursing organizations, healthcare lobbying groups, and healthcare institutions.
A successful career in this industry involves staying up-to-date on the issues that are directly affecting patients and healthcare workers. The Arizona Nurses Association maintains a list of the current legislative issues in nursing. You may support the nursing industry by advocating for full practice rights for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, improving infectious disease procedures, and strengthening hospital nurse staffing requirements.
Whether you want to use your career to influence care protocols for specific diseases, improve the work environment for healthcare providers, or improve efficiency in health care settings, a Master’s degree in health policy or public health is the first step.
Check out the educational and work experience qualifications at Arizona graduate programs below.