Nursing leadership is affected by the roles of interest groups and their willingness to change governing policies. There are a number of interest groups that are concerned with environmental policy in nursing as well as add towards determining the professional impact on health policy. The major policy makers in the nursing profession include the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National Council of States of Nursing (NCSBN). Nursing leadership faces challenges which can be attributed to increasing consumer demands, contradictory national priorities, rapidly shifting incentives and a dysfunctional health care system. Health care providers are required to be dynamic since there is an awakening of consumer awareness as well as technological possibilities of solving problems. Students entering the health care profession should be truly driven by the needs of the patients in order to be effective and efficient. The legislative laws set up by the professional bodies are so specific in a manner that they do not accommodate the various unique cases that arise in the practice of the profession. The environment within which policy works has to take into account the context in which healthcare is delivered and the possible ways of maintaining a stable health care provision environment. The force is evident in most nursing learning institutions since they comply with the set state policies, even in most hospitals the outlined practices and code of conduct is strictly followed. In the non compliant hospitals the professional bodies have to issue warnings of compliance to set policies (Mason, Leavitt & Chaffee 2007).
Personnel policies and programs
The policies that govern the practice of individual nurses as well as health care institutions are a very important aspect of the health care sector. On the other hand the programs offered in nursing colleges and on the job internships greatly affect the overall practice in health care institutions. According to Grossman & Valiga (2005) the luminaries in the nursing field who have both experience and wisdom in health care embrace the most salient theories of management as well as leadership. The organization of health care providers recognizes that nurse clinicians, academics, and researchers share many of the prevalent challenges in carrying out their specified roles within the health care environment. The shortage of adequate nursing personnel has greatly affected the practice and academic profile of the profession. The movement of the health care system towards accountability to the state agencies in charge of health care and the general public has transformed the way the nursing personnel carry out their duties. They are rated upon four themes which include; professional standards, health care delivery standards, health policy, quality outcomes, informatics and technology. The active participation of health care providers in health policy formulation is not a choice rather it is a mandate because the policies affect the personnel adversely both at personal and institutional level (Duncan, 2008). The policies formulated may for instance affect their compensation as health workers and alter the working conditions. The nursing organizations are keen to initiate on the job training programs on areas that they feel need specialized new knowledge for instance in provision of care to the aged. In the year 2002-2007 Atlantic philanthropies funded a five year initiative to train nurses on Nurse Competence in Aging geared towards providing the practicing nurses with new knowledge and expertise on the area. The lack of uniform policies throughout the USA in terms of personnel compensation and working conditions poses great disparities which can be ironed out by striking common grounds by representative bodies (Longest 2006).
Nurses in health care institutions do not work alone they have other organs who perform other duties. These people include; physicians, doctors, midwives, administrators, among other hospital staff. There is need for mutual respect among all disciplines in the health care institution. The nurses should be incorporated in the various decision making organs of the health institution in order to contribute to the policies as well as regulations that affect their work. There should be no discrimination in the hospital based on one worker’s profession since all workers have a role to play in delivering the health services. In the past most institutions have had to deal with the challenge of lack of mutual respect and cordial working relationships in the work environment. The problem can be solved by conducting sensitization campaigns and forums to champion for equality. During the training in nursing colleges the trainers have to incorporate work place practices in order to make sure that when they finally go to work they maintain work ethic (Keepnews 2005).
Trained nurses are termed as qualified individuals to conduct their jobs however it is important that they undergo orientation, in service education, formal education and career development courses during and after training. It is clear that most health care institutions have taken the initiative of continuously providing training to their staff through conferences, continuing education programs and scholarships. The hospitals also encourage their nurses to undertake professional examinations and registration tests such that they obtain certification. There are opportunities for competency based clinical advancement as well as resources for research, privacy and confidentiality together with cultural competency. The nurses are free to pursue special competency programs for special clinical skills (Mason, Leavitt & Chaffee 2007).
This simply refers to a national accreditation agency known as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It is an independent accrediting agency which is concerned with improving the provision of public health. The body ensures that the programs offered in nursing schools are of quality. The CCNE serves public demand through evaluation and identifying projects which meet the terms of an effective educational practice. The body supports continuing self assessment in the nursing colleges by the programs as well as continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and post baccalaureate nurse residency programs. According to the CCNE (2005) the accreditation requirements are taken into consideration in Boston College since the programs offered are properly vetted by the body including providing a proper scrutiny of the program’s mission and goals using the most effective utilization of resources available, programs and administration. The programs offered comply with the key elements outlined in the official accreditation procedure document. The elements include developing self study material whereby the body examines the materials offered by the college through a team of experts to ascertain whether the institution is exposing the learners to the right content. The programs demonstrate the incorporation of professional nursing standards and guidelines.
Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education Accreditation (2005): Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs. American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Duncan, P.A. (2008): Curing the Crisis….Progress and Prognosis: A Master Plan for Tennessee. Tennessee Center for Nursing
Grossman, S.C. & Valiga, T.M (2005): The New Leadership Challenge: Creating the Future of Nursing. (2nd ed) F.A. Davis.
Keepnews, M. D. (2005): Policy, politics & Nursing Practice. Policy Perspectives of Major Nursing Organizations. New York University Press
Longest, B. (2006): Health Policymaking in the U.S (4th ed.) Chicago. Health Administration Press
Mason, D.J, Leavitt, J.K, & Chaffee, M.W. (2007) Policy in Nursing and Health Care (5th ed.) Elsevier