How Individual Nurses Influence Policy in Las Vegas, Nevada
Considering that Nevada, and in particular the city of Las Vegas, is home to people of diverse ethnic groups, a number of healthcare issues are inescapable, especially healthcare disparities among the minority groups and inadequate healthcare services for those who access it. This is attributable to the lack of commitment from the community members in terms of influencing the policies and politics affecting healthcare services. Policy formulation and implementation in healthcare entail a variety of stakeholders such as the government, healthcare organizations and professional bodies, hospital staff members, communities, and individuals. As an individual, there are a number of steps through which one can get actively involved in influencing policies and the politics in healthcare.
Firstly, an individual can participate in the process of identifying and addressing the problem affecting one’s community. Problem identification forms the first step in policy development, and it entails a research-based analysis of the perceived problem followed by evidence-based recommendations, which influence the entire process of policy formulation. For scholars and other healthcare professionals, this forms a critical starting point where one can be involved in policy development.
Secondly, individual participation in policy development can occur through active participation in pro-health support groups. In Nevada, there are a number of advocacy groups through which individuals can influence policies and politics in healthcare. These include the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC), Nevada Center for Patient Safety, and the Nevada Sentinel Events Registry.
Lastly, individual participation in community-based healthcare education is pivotal in influencing policy development and creating awareness about the healthcare policies available. This is important in getting all community members to participate in deciding for or against matters affecting their health.