Registered nurses are an instrumental part of West Virginia healthcare. The hours you put in for your patients are the foundation of the medical industry, making the most of every medical professional’s time and ensuring that every single patient receives the care they deserve.
As you develop your intuition and your clinical thinking skills, you may gain the expertise you need to take on more specialized nursing roles. In particular, you may discover the growing needs in healthcare policy.
Health policy is enmeshed in a period of significant change right now, leading to the creation of the West Virginia Public Health Impact Task Force (WV MetroNews, 2016). With the development of this agency, the state hopes to restructure public health services and ensure that existing services are cost-efficient.
The world of health policy requires extensive training and in-depth knowledge. If you’re ready to take on this challenge, request information from Master’s in healthcare policy programs in West Virginia.
There are several signs that you may be well-suited to a career in healthcare policy. When you care for patients and think about a busy shift, do you often analyze trends in diagnoses, symptoms, and population groups? When there is a bad patient outcome, to think about how stronger or different policies could have prevented it? In general, do you look at nursing through the lens of population health, rather than the experience of each individual patient? If so, you may be in a great position to earn your Master's degree.
In West Virginia, these programs last an average of 40 credits, which amounts to two or three years of study for a full-time student. After completing your classroom courses, you may round out your education with a practicum or an internship at a local hospital, nonprofit agency, or government agency.
Each West Virginia college and university sets its own learning priorities and goals. However, you may find that common topics in this area of study include management and administration, health laws, ethics and healthcare, population health, and epidemiology.
Your health policy curriculum may include courses like those listed here:
- Health Economics for Public Health
- Policy Tools
- Environmental Health
- Foundations of Health and Policy
- Capstone Course
- Health Policy Management and Leadership
Keeping your nursing license is one part of maintaining your credibility and expertise in the field of healthcare. The West Virginia RN Board requires license renewal every year by October 31.
Health policy experts go on to work in many different health settings and roles after graduation. If you enjoy working in the private sector, you may continue working for a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. These jobs often involve writing policies that are in line with evidence-based care. You may also work for the government in a variety of agencies and specialized roles. One of the largest health policy employers in West Virginia is the Health Policy Division of the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.
Throughout your education and career, make sure you stay involved with local advocacy groups. The connections you get from these groups are invaluable, and group membership gives you a chance to learn about the causes that are important to healthcare employees.
The West Virginia Nurses Association contributes to legislation in many different areas, including the right of APRNs to sign death certificates, changes in medication schedules, the prescription of hydrocodone medications, and licensing requirements for nurses.
West Virginia healthcare needs to adapt quickly and efficiently to keep up with ongoing federal change. Do your part by becoming an active voice in health policy.
Request information from graduate healthcare policy programs in West Virginia below to get started.