As a nurse, you have likely had plenty of experience with how healthcare policies and laws affect your career and what you can do as a nurse. However, as a nurse, you can also have an impact on healthcare policy. As the largest state in New England, it is important for the healthcare industry of Maine to serve as an example and enforce high standards throughout the industry.
The importance of healthcare policy is extremely apparent now, with the Affordable Care Act using statistics, patient reports, and other forms of data to determine the type and amount of funding that facilities receive. In Maine, eight hospitals were recently penalized for inadequate patient safety standards (Fosters, 2015). Through the creation of strong policies and laws, nurses in Maine can protect the safety of their patients and create a work environment in which they can drive.
If you want to use your nursing knowledge and experience to change the industry in a different way, keep reading to find out more about graduate healthcare policy programs in Maine.
Health policy is a fairly complex area of study with many nuances and specialized areas of knowledge. To get your foot in the door in healthcare policy, you must have a Master's degree in health policy.
Before you can begin studying at this level, you will likely need a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Preferably, you will have at least two years of full-time nursing experience. Some schools have more rigorous experience requirements, while others have no experience requirements. Keep this in mind while evaluating different schools.
To graduate with a Master's degree in healthcare policy, you may need to earn upwards of 40 credits. This is due to the complexity of this field. Not only must you study healthcare legislation and what goes into the creation of a policy, must understand various concepts of public health, such as epidemiology and financial aspects of healthcare.
To complete your education, you may enroll in courses like Planning Theory and History, Environmental Health, Topics in Public Health, Applied Biostatistical Analysis, Social and Behavioral Health, Health Systems Organization and Management, and Health Literacy.
The majority of programs in Maine expect you to complete a practicum course or an internship. This part of your training is extremely valuable, since working in policy or administration is extremely different from your role as a registered nurse.
Maintaining your registered nursing license is essential in any nursing career. The Maine Board of Nursing expects you to submit your renewal application by the last day of your birth month every two years. There are no continuing education requirements in the state.
If you delve into Maine healthcare policies and how they have been implemented across the state, you may find that many were influenced or created by nurses. The Maine State Nurses Association has played a prominent role in legislation for many years.
In 2015, alone, they advocated for bills that strengthened the Medicaid program, clarified policies that covered critical care health services, supported policies that made hospice care available, and established mental health programs in schools.
Throughout this state, there are many agencies and institutions that may work in healthcare policy. The Maine Public Health Association works primarily for improved patient health and safety standards. They typically influence public health through policy and the creation of laws.
If you have become an established part of the nursing industry, you may be nervous about getting involved in the arena of healthcare policy. However, by targeting your efforts in this area, you have the potential to make huge improvements in the field of healthcare.
Check out your options and find out how you can get started by contacting Master's in healthcare policy programs in Maine.