When you set out to study nursing and begin a career as a registered nurse, what goals did you have? Were you interested in saving lives, making patients feel comfortable, getting involved in a stable industry, and strengthening the state of South Carolina?
Whatever you love most about South Carolina healthcare, you may be able to have an even greater effect by studying healthcare policy at the graduate level.
Statistics and research have been used extensively in this state to create policies that improve health offerings for residents. A sobering 2015 study indicated that 2,400 South Carolina deaths could have been avoided if unequal access to healthcare services were not an issue (Post and Courier, 2015). Tackling these problems at the legislative level makes it much easier for nurses and doctors to save lives.
An extensive knowledge of the legislative process and the administrative aspects of healthcare is required in this specialty. Discover how you can get started by contacting graduate healthcare policy programs in South Carolina.
Getting a multifaceted education is the key to successfully transitioning from a career in registered nursing to a career in which you use your role as a nurse to influence health policy.
This involves developing a strong understanding of healthcare policies at the state and federal level, figuring out the different groups that you must work with in the world of policy, and exploring the role of ethics in legislation. In addition, you must study the specific healthcare problems and issues that affect South Carolina, as they are quite different from the problems that affect other states.
The different topics that are relevant to health policy are clear when you explore the curricula of local programs. You may find these courses or courses similar to them in your program:
- Public Health Law
- Approaches and Concepts for Health Law
- Healthcare Accounting
- Health Economics
- Leadership in Healthcare Organizations
- Health Planning
- Health Finance
- Healthcare Decision Making
- Applied Quality Management in Healthcare
Each school sets its own practice and credit hour requirements, but the average school in South Carolina requires you to earn 45 credits to get your Master's degree in health policy. This typically includes a three-credit internship and a three-credit capstone course.
You must keep your nursing license valid to maintain your position as a nurse with specialized experience in policy. According to the South Carolina Board of Nursing, your license must be renewed every two years.
While you may expect that South Carolina nurses are only involved in legislation that directly affects nurses, the fact is that the expertise of nurses is trusted in many different areas of health policy. Groups like the South Carolina Nurses Association throw their support behind health bills in many different areas, not simply those that affect nursing practice.
For example, recent legislative efforts of the South Carolina Nurses Association include public funding for medical research, an improved focus on environmental health, comprehensive healthcare offerings for vulnerable populations, and increased availability of cost-effective health services.
As you gain experience and start to develop connections in this industry, you may work with many different groups and organizations. One group with a significant presence in health policy is the South Carolina Policy Council. The groups that you work with may vary, depending on your policy priorities and the types of laws that most interest you.
No matter what part of healthcare you are passionate about, a career in policy puts you in a better position to impact significant change. You can leave behind a legacy of healthcare improvement and availability for South Carolina residents.
Get involved in this field now by requesting information from Master's in healthcare policy programs in South Carolina.