No matter which part of the health industry you look at, policy decisions are at play in a major way. At the local, state, and federal levels, healthcare policies determine how nurses work, what care patients receive, and what rights are enjoyed by staff members and patients.
In Illinois, this manifests in many different ways. With the Affordable Care Act, state and federal policies decide how federal money is allocated. This has led to a Springfield clinic starting a $16 million expansion, which may create more jobs for nurses and improve care options for patients (State Journal-Register, 2015). By studying health policy at the graduate level, you can give nurses a voice in an area where may be underrepresented.
It is time to advance your career and take advantage of the opportunity you have as an experience nurse. Start preparing for your new career path by contacting graduate nursing programs in healthcare policy in Illinois.
As you explore different health policy programs in Illinois, you may find that they take on many different names and titles. Quite a few schools combine policy with nursing management and research, since these three areas of nursing inevitably overlap. In fact, as you examine the learning outcomes and curriculum outline for your program, you may discover that all three of these areas are covered in-depth.
These are some common expected learning outcomes in Illinois health policy programs:
- Use statistical analyses to drive health policy decisions
- Understand epidemiological data and research
- Apply health behavior techniques and theories
- Identify areas of health risk for different populations
You develop the necessary competencies, knowledge, and skills by completing the required courses and learning experiences of your program. Commonly required courses are listed here:
- Health Policy
- Theory of Health Behavior
- Public Health Practice
- Chronic Disease Prevention
- Health Program Evaluation
- Cultural Competence and Health Promotion
However, do not overlook the importance of practical experience in your graduate nursing education. Completing an internship or fieldwork course as a graduate student may help you put your new abilities to work and develop a useful understanding of what it means to work in a legislative setting.
To serve as a legislative voice for nurses, you must be a nurse yourself, which means staying licensed through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Nursing license renewal applications are due by the last of May in every even-numbered year. To qualify for renewal, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
Ever since nurses became a significant part of healthcare in the United States, they have had a major presence in healthcare policy. In recent years, many nursing groups and associations have come together to have an even bigger impact on the legislative process.
In Illinois, the Illinois Nurses Association has impacted legislation regarding safe work environments for nurses, safe staffing levels in hospitals, and improvements to the healthcare reform system. When you specialize in health policy, it's important to stay involved with these groups to make the most of your efforts.
Public health is one of the largest areas of health policy throughout Illinois and the entire United States. The Illinois Public Health Institute develops and supports many laws and policies that lead to the improvement of health statistics in Illinois. Gaining policy experience in various work environments may assist you in creating a strong professional network and voicing areas of legislation that you are passionate about.
The policies and laws that you create as a healthcare policy expert have a direct effect on the medical system of Illinois. By utilizing research and current evidence, you can create a work environment in which nurses are free to provide high-quality care to patients.
Learn more about your options by contacting graduate healthcare policy programs in Illinois.