As the healthcare industry grows over the years, the base of research used to shape this field has grown. With more evidence and research, healthcare providers and experts can constantly perfect the services and procedures they use with patients.
In Pennsylvania, healthcare policy experts look at laws in various industries that overlap with healthcare. Recent efforts in this state focused on a state law that makes it difficult for drug addicts to receive treatment (The Sentinel, 2015). This law resorts to incarceration rather than treatment, an expensive choice for the state of Pennsylvania that has poor outcomes for addicts. Health policy advocates hope to pass a law that makes treatment a more accessible choice for addicts.
Your nursing background is a valuable asset in the world of policy. Find out how nursing can help you become an advocate for change by contacting Master’s in healthcare policy programs in Pennsylvania.
What does it take to work in healthcare policy? The answer may surprise you, as you actually must be well-versed in several different topics of study to really thrive in the world of health policy.
Of course, you need a thorough grasp of the legislative system and the process that laws and policies go through, but you must also understand healthcare research, how it is conducted, and how to properly analyze it. In addition, you need impeccable communication skills that allow you to advocate for unpopular bills or underrepresented groups of people.
To cover the many different competencies and special topics of health policy, you may complete a Master’s program with at least 40 credits.
Commonly required courses in this particular specialty include:
- Health Services Organization and Delivery
- Health Services Financing and Policy
- Applied Statistics
- Health Data Analysis for Research
- Financing Healthcare
- Health Law
- Quality Improvement in Healthcare
- Healthcare Marketing
- Health Economics
Most policy degree programs also involve some type of practical experience, whether it's an internship or a practicum course. By working with health policy experts, you can start learning about potential work environments and get comfortable in an entirely different work setting.
To keep working as a nurse in the state of Pennsylvania, you must maintain your license through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. License renewal applications are due by either April 30 or October 31 of every other year.
Since nurses have so much experience working with the patients and policies of Pennsylvania, they have a significant presence in the world of health policy. Consider staying active in the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, which makes nursing legislation a huge priority in its annual work. 2015 priorities included safe staffing laws, delegation of nurse duties, the creation of a health registry, the use of medical cannabis, practice rights for nurse anesthetists, and prevention of workplace violence against nurses.
In addition to working with specific nursing groups, you may get involved with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and research institutions. The Pennsylvania Health Law Project is a research-based institution that analyzes policy and law issues in Pennsylvania by looking at current research and evidence.
The more time you spend in this industry, the more leeway you may have to sponsor and advocate for bills that are personally important to you. This is how you can improve funding for specific diseases, strengthen work conditions for nurses, or improve the patient experience in a variety of ways.
The potential of a health policy degree is endless. You can do countless things with this graduate degree, depending on your interests and priorities. Get the training you need by contacting graduate healthcare policy programs in Pennsylvania.