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Health Policy Nurse – Bridging the Gap Between Health Policy and Practice
- A health policy nurse, also known as a medical policy nurse, is a nurse who works at the intersections of health care, public policy, and government.
- While these nurses spend a lot of time examining policies and practices, they bridge the gaps of knowledge across several disciplines.
- Let‘s cover everything you need to know about health policy nurses!
MPH, MSN, WHNP-BC
You’re here because you’re wondering what a health policy nurse is!
A health policy nurse, also known as a medical policy nurse, is a nurse who works at the intersections of health care, public policy, and government.
The role of health policy nurses is always evolving as policies, health care systems, technologies, and social views change.
Like all nurses, health policy nurses are educated and trained in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and assessment. However, their work specifically focuses on the intersections of policies, public health organizations, and governments with a nursing lens.
What Sort of Education Do Health Policy Nurses Have?
Health policy nurses can be licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or registered nurses (RNs). Over the past decade, more places of employment are often seeking health policy nurses who are RNs with an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
In addition to a nursing degree, some nurses will pursue a Master’s degree in public policy, health care policy, public health, or something similar. Some health policy nurses choose to become through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ACNN).
Other nurses work as health policy nurses without additional formal education or training. Nurses often learn a significant amount of health care policies and practices when providing direct patient care or seeking resources information from nursing management.
It is important to note that many health policy nurses will have a few years of nursing experience prior to working as a health policy nurse.
What Is the Salary for a Health Policy Nurse?
Salary varies by state and place of employment, such as a hospital or private practice. Typically, health policy nurses with more experience tend to have a higher salary than those without experience.
According to ZipRecruiter.com, the average salary for a health policy nurse is $79,000. Note that this average varies depending on experience, location, and place of work.
Where Do Health Policy Nurses Work?
Common places of employment include:
- Non-profit organizations
- Telehealth businesses
- Military health services
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Clinical research facilities
- Public health departments
- Corporate health agencies
- Community health centers, and more.
Health policy nurses can also serve in nursing management roles, work in direct patient care, teach at nursing schools, or be independent consultants.
What Kind of Work Does a Health Policy Nurse Do?
People often think that health policy nurses look at legislation and keep up with the news all day. While public policies and government activities are a major part of a health policy nurse’s day, common tasks and responsibilities include:
- Assessing health care facilities’ needs
- Identifying gaps in knowledge between policymakers and health care professionals
- Overseeing health care policy implementation in health systems
- Advocating for nurses’ needs in health systems
- Collaborating with clinical and non-clinical staff in policy evaluation
- Assisting organizations with policy changes
- Performing evidence-based practice and quality improvement activities
- Evaluating policies for their cost, safety, quality, and performance measures
- Providing a nursing perspective in regard to the integration of policies in patient care delivery
- Staying aware of the latest health care policy developments
- Presenting patient and health care data to relevant stakeholders
- and of course, educating as appropriate
This is just a sample of what health policy nurses can do! The scope of work for a health policy nurse mostly depends on their training, local boards of nursing, workplace practices, and local legislation.
What Kind of Work Does a Health Policy Nurse Do?
Health policy nurses do so many things! They are often viewed as the go-to nurses for all things policy and health care related. While these nurses spend a lot of time examining policies and practices, they bridge the gaps of knowledge across several disciplines.
As governments continue to oversee health care systems and as more health policies are needed, the demand for health policy nurses continues to rise.
Unfortunately, there can be times when policies do not accurately reflect the needs of nurses and other health care professionals. That’s why health policy nurses are essential.
By bringing in a nursing lens with a policy focus, health policy nurses can lead the way for nurses in health care.
If you are considering being a health policy nurse, I would recommend that you ask yourself if you truly are passionate about systems, collaboration, politics, nursing, and education.
The Bottom Line
If you are thinking about becoming a health policy nurse or learning more about the profession, I would recommend looking into your local and state nursing associations and the American Nurse Association.
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