As a target policy, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act will be analyzed. This policy is an important aspect of the national health program to combat substance use and disorder prevention (“H.R.6,” 2018). Involving junior medical personnel in evaluating the effectiveness of this policy is a meaningful decision to highlight the key strengths and weaknesses and identify potential methods for improving the existing legal practice.
Opportunities for RNs and APRNs to Participate in Policy Evaluation
The involvement of RNs and APRNs in policy evaluation is characterized by several real opportunities for employee engagement. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (n.d.), highlighting barriers to introducing the planned policy can be a powerful nursing practice, which, in turn, may help legislators and other stakeholders initiate a specific decision safely and effectively. In particular, nursing staff can assess the specifics of drug prescription from the perspective of current control principles and determine the need to strengthen the existing legislation (American Nurses Association (ANA), n.d.). At Milstead and Short (2017) note, nurses can also offer effective policy design features as instruments to improve some policy provisions. In the face of crucial public health work, such opportunities to highlight barriers and offer valuable design options are relevant possibilities for RNs and APRNs.
Challenges of the Opportunities
Despite the value of involving RNs and APRNs in policy evaluation, some challenges may arise. For instance, Klein and Sorra (1996) pay attention to an ineffective implementation climate when employees may not feel the need to work hard to identify potential barriers. According to Milstead and Short (2017), interprofessional collaboration can be complicated by concomitant constraints, including inadequate education or little experience. These factors, in turn, impede the productive assessment of policy conventions due to the inability of staff to evaluate all its features comprehensively and collaboratively. As a result, the identification of barriers is limited by the degree of professionalism of the employees involved.
Another potential challenge that can arise is the difficulty of standardizing existing design features. Tummers and Bekkers (2014) argue that, in psychodynamic treatments, the assessments of the current practices may differ among practitioners depending on several related criteria, for instance, distinctive working tools and different views on optimal interventions. This outcome, in turn, is fraught with disagreement among RNs and APRNs involved on the required assessment principles. As a result, there are risks of misjudgments and a lack of objective evaluation.
Strategies for Advocating the Opportunities
To advocate for the aforementioned opportunities, some relevant strategies should be applied. One of them is searching for the key stakeholders among nurses to evaluate the policy in question adequately. Obtaining information from each employee with sufficient experience is an effective principle to ensure a safe and productive assessment (CDC, n.d.). Milstead and Short (2017) remark, that in their work, RNs and APRNs can utilize big data to highlight the key barriers and standardize measures aimed to evaluate the policy in question. Another strategy is to jointly determine the core components of the policy to assess and make the necessary conclusions regarding them. Sacristán and Dilla (2015) state that individual factors are as important to effective assessment as big data. Therefore, the analysis of factors to take into account and the allocation of responsibilities among responsible RNs and APRNs are objectively valuable strategies for advocating the opportunities to evaluate the policy under consideration.
American Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Abuse of prescription drugs. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.). Step by step: Evaluating violence and injury prevention policies: Brief 4: Evaluating policy implementation. Web.
H.R.6 – SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. (2018). Congress.gov. Web.
Klein, K. J., & Sorra, J. S. (1996). The challenge of innovation implementation. Academy of Management Review, 21(4), 1055-1080. Web.
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2017). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Sacristán, J., & Dilla, T. D. (2015). No big data without small data: Learning health care systems begin and end with the individual patient. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 21(6), 1014-1017. Web.
Tummers, L., & Bekkers, V. (2014). Policy implementation, street level bureaucracy, and the importance of discretion. Public Management Review, 16(4), 527-547. Web.