ACA Ethics of Improved Equity Discussion Paper

Opportunities for RNs and APRNs to Engage in Policy Evaluation

Regardless of whether nurses are registered nurses or advanced practice registered nurses, these professionals have several important roles in evaluating healthcare policies in the United States. First, nurses participate in policy evaluation at the local level when they assume leadership positions in nursing welfare groups (Glasgow et al., 2003). Such groups profoundly affect the local and county policy-making process because they seek to address the issues nurses face in their professional practice. Consequently, nurses influence policy evaluation at the localized level by influencing improvements or redactions of laws, requirements, and policies that undermine efficiency, effectiveness, and ethical practice. Their continued contributions have enabled local jurisdictions to complement healthcare policies and empower nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The interaction of nurses at various levels of proficiency and experience with vulnerable members of the population also testifies their ability to participate in healthcare policy evaluation (Shiramizu et al., 2016). Most of the personnel involved in policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation have limited contact with minorities in the streets, veterans, ethnic minority groups, old patients, and patients in remote locations. The sentiments of such vulnerable stakeholders in the American healthcare system usually rely on their nurses, making these professionals integral in evaluating the efficacy of Federal, state, or even local healthcare policies. Therefore, nurses’ ability to interact with the American healthcare stakeholder community’s vulnerable and minority groups enables them to participate in policy evaluation through stakeholder representation (Shiramizu et al., 2016). Additionally, their input in the policy evaluation process benefits from personal, operational, and professional perspectives, which continue to demonstrate usefulness in complementing the American healthcare system’s improvement.

Challenges these Opportunities might Present and Possible Solutions

The first challenge both RNs and APRNs face when engaging in policy evaluation at the local and state levels is the lack of adequate facilitation. Most of the nurses who service remote areas and regions occupied by vulnerable stakeholders such as ethnic minorities and older patients lack the proper healthcare infrastructure (Milstead & Short, 2019). Unfortunately, most of America’s attention in healthcare improvement has focussed on access among patients without considering how critical healthcare personnel such as professional nurses could benefit. However, this challenge could be remedied using additional funding and training programs at both the local and state levels.

Political interference and hidden agendas among administrative personnel have often undermined the ability of nurses to participate in healthcare policy evaluation (Williams & Anderson, 2018). Many politicians use the plight of RNs, APRNs, and other challenged healthcare professionals to leverage their way into elective positions without helping these groups. However, nurses can effectively participate in local, state, and even national healthcare policy evaluation by electing nurses as their own administrative and political leaders. If local and state RN and APRN welfare groups elected members from their ranks, interference from political groups and other similar challenges might be eradicated.

Strategies for Better Advocacy of Opportunities

Better advocacy for healthcare evaluation opportunities could occur in the United States of healthcare administration jurisdictions enabled more nursing professionals to assume offices within their ranks. Traditionally, such management and administrative positions were reserved for doctors or career managers, but giving nurses such changes will increase their policy evaluation participation (Milstead & Short, 2019). Lastly, nursing groups at the state or local levels might be informed of opportunities to participate in policy evaluation through seminars, electronic and social media, or official communication methods. Therefore, these nursing bodies understand their role in discussions revolving around America’s healthcare policies and the need to evaluate existent policies.


Policy evaluation is increasingly becoming desirable as professional nurses in the United States seek more proactive positions in the country’s healthcare system. Two possible opportunities for RNs and APRNs to participate in policy evaluation exist in state and local practices where interaction with vulnerable stakeholder groups is more pronounced. However, these opportunities expose professional nurses to two main challenges; inadequate infrastructure and political interference. Nonetheless, better advocacy among nursing communities about such policy evalution opportunites exists in the form of more leadership positions for professional nurses and increased investment in information dissemination.


  • Glasgow, R. E., Lichtenstein, E., & Marcus, A. C. (2003). Why don’t we see more translation of health promotion research to practice? Rethinking the efficacy-to-Effectiveness transition. American Journal of Public Health93(8), 1261-1267.
  • Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Chapter 7, “Health Policy and Social Program Evaluation”. In Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed., pp. 116-124). Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
  • Shiramizu, B., Shambaugh, V., Petrovich, H., Seto, T. B., Ho, T., Mokuau, N., & Hedges, J. R. (2016). Leading by success: Impact of a clinical and translational research infrastructure program to address health inequities. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities4(5), 983-991.
  • Williams, J. K., & Anderson, C. M. (2018). Omics research ethics considerationsNursing Outlook66(4), 386-393.