Who has the biggest impact on the field of healthcare? Perhaps this question is impossible to answer—healthcare providers, experts, administrative staff, and researchers all contribute to the ongoing improvement of the medical industry. However, there is no doubt that nursing policymakers are an essential part of this field.
Policies in the health arena affect spending, covered procedures, and the rights of patients. Rhode Island has had a fairly serious problem with healthcare spending in recent years (Rhode Island Public Radio, 2015). Public policy experts are in the midst of creating laws and policies that minimize governmental spending and ensure the proper use of state money.
If you are ready to take your career in a more political direction, you may be a great fit for a healthcare policy degree. Find out what it takes to become a nursing policy expert by reaching out to graduate healthcare policy programs in Rhode Island.
The field of healthcare policy is a fairly significant deviation from the field of nursing, so you may want to prepare for a challenging educational experience that opens your mind to new topics, concepts, and ways of thinking. Of course, your knowledge of healthcare and nursing procedures is a huge asset in the field of health policy, but there are other industries and fields you must understand to feel confident in policy.
Health policy program in Rhode Island study this subject from several angles. You should analyze the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare policy, problem-solving principles in legislation, various approaches to policy issues, and important research tenets.
A solid variety of courses provide you with the education you need in these areas. As you explore different curricula, look for courses like Analytical Methods for Health Policy, Health Economics, Ethical Issues in Healthcare, Public Health Research, Health Law and Regulation, Health Services and Policy, Health Policy Seminar, and Health Services Research Methods.
On top of these classes, you may be expected to complete a research paper or a capstone project to meet graduation requirements. Some programs offer an internship option. Rhode Island programs may work with government agencies, healthcare associations, consulting firms, and research institutions to offer internships.
The expertise you have as a nurse is very important to your credibility, so make sure you keep your nursing license valid. The Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Board requires you to renew your license by the last day of February every other year.
Since Rhode Island is such a small state, the nursing community of this state is extremely tight-knit. As a registered nurse, you should already be a member of professional organizations like the American Nurses Association of Rhode Island.
Your new position may put you in a position to work on their legislative priorities, which in 2015 included freedom of practice for nursing anesthetists, the nurse licensure process, staffing laws, and workplace protection for nurses.
You may also work with a wide variety of government agencies. Public health is a field that is closely intertwined with health policy. You may do legislative work with groups like the Rhode Island Public Health Association. As you progress in your career, you'll build more and more professional connections, giving you more pull in the policy sector and increasing the amount of career opportunities you enjoy.
Health policy is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the nursing industry. When you influence policy, you make decisions that may affect the field for decades to come.
Find out more about what it takes to become a health policy expert by contacting Master's in healthcare policy programs in Rhode Island.