Graduate-level nursing study can expand your career options in several different ways. With the right experience and plenty of dedication, you may pursue advanced nursing programs in patient care, clinical leadership, education, or healthcare policy. Healthcare policy has seen quite a bit of growth in recent years with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In the field of healthcare policy, you can dedicate your research and advocacy efforts to specific parts of medical care. Some researchers invest time in advancing the field of nursing by supporting nurses, ensuring that they are properly trained, and establishing work environment standards that empower nurses (Arkansas Business, 2015).
Others focus on growth in this industry—just look at the recent effort to provide full practice rights to nurse practitioners. Healthcare policy nurses must know how to look at research and properly utilize it to make informed policy decisions.
If you can see yourself creating a stronger healthcare industry through the creation and abolition of relevant policies, a Master's degree is the first step.
Contact Master's degree in healthcare policy programs in Arkansas now.
When you start delving into graduate programs in healthcare policy, you may start uncovering the long-term goals and objectives of these programs. These objectives determine how you spend your time in graduate school.
Each healthcare policy program sets its own goals, which advisors then use to create curricula requirements. Commonly required learning outcomes include:
- Use systems thinking to address organizational problems
- Develop an understanding of the principles of strategic planning
- Understand the need for quality and performance improvement
- Study theories of the policy process
- Communicate health policy information to a variety of people
- Develop leadership skills
- Establish policies that ensure community health
It can take quite a bit of time and dedicated study to reach competency in all of these areas. That's why so many health policy programs require you to have some nursing experience prior to admission. Some schools in Arkansas require as much as five years of experience, so you may wish to compare program admission requirements as one of your first steps.
Specific curriculum requirements vary from school to school, but you should find some similarities across the state. Some of the courses you may take as a health policy graduate student include Biology for Public Health: Infectious Disease, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Public Health Law and Ethics, Management of Healthcare Organizations, and Health Systems Strategic Planning.
You must have a valid nursing license in Arkansas to use the title of registered nurse in any career path. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing requires you to renew every other year. Renewal must be completed by the last day of your birth month. Plan on completing 15 hours of continuing education during each renewal cycle.
To get a full understanding of the diversity of healthcare policy careers in Arkansas, simply look at the health legislation that has occurred in the state in the last year. It spans many different specialties, goals, and outcomes. The Arkansas Department of Health is one organization that contributes to healthcare policy by focusing on emergency response, the spread of infectious disease, environmental health, and injury and safety.
You can also look into local nursing groups to see the focus of the nursing community. The Arkansas Nursing Association, for example, is currently advocating for the use of telemedicine and the freedom of nurse practitioners to prescribe Schedule II medications.
The type of legislation you support and develop depends on your experience, your interests and passions, and the current culture of the nursing community. No matter where this degree takes you, it's clear that healthcare policy is a meaningful and important part of the field of nursing.
Request information from graduate programs in healthcare policy to find out how you can get started.