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Module 1 Discussion
Health Policies
         Lillian Wald and Mary Brewster took cogent leaps in the progression of nursing influence, with the development of The Henry Street Settlement in 1893 (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw, O’Grady 2016). This action paved the way for the evolution of better health care policy, centered around community needs. Now, health policy is influenced by research, media, politics, lobbyists, and much more; based on community values.
         The Structure of health care policy is yet complicated, with the basis of core determinants of health that influences policy. Said determinants are comprised of factors such as gender, education and literacy, physical environment, culture, and not to say the least, social status. (Policies and Politics, page 3). Social status stands out, as it is a headline issue with health care coverage. Oppressed communities are at stake, as they have exhausted even the thought of better health access due to low literacy, no access to good jobs, and poor nutritional standards.
         The process of health care policy has substantial dependency on nurse leadership. Meaning, nurses who understand how policy drives coverage and care should advocate for the community. Not many nurses want to approach the frontlines to tackle the many challenges in this specific side of the industry. However, one must understand the sources of health care policies and their effect on society to generate change. According to an article written by Susan Taft and Kevin Nanna of Kent State University, public sources are the core influence of governmental bodies constructing policies. Meaning a vast existence of public education should be available to communities that do not quite understand the process. Together, Taft and Nanna broke down the Ways to Influencing Public Policy. This included significant points such as media impact by writing letters and getting headlines. The same tactic is seen by many politicians during the elections; designed to stir the emotions of voters. Another is to join an organization that believes in and is driven by advocacy. Consistent research is necessary to be in-tuned with public issues, which can help in every aspect of said suggestion to create power in numbers.
         With the focus on public health, the Affordable Care Act and its purpose contributed greatly to the influencing of certain health policies; so that more people could afford care. Such policies included safe health practices by health institutions, which lead to care improvement by placing penalties on readmission less than thirty days. But, at the same time, provided funding for improved outcomes driven by the implementation of new policies.  However, coverage impacted by zip code is certainly a topic where more nurse leaders are needed to address. We are talking about a level of nursing leadership that could shift the issues affecting upstream factors. Kohnke’s philosophy of functional advocacy speaks volumes, in that it expresses the representation of patient voice, empowering patient involvement and can eventually lead to policy changing as it relates to improving health access in low-income communities.
         Like Lillian Wald and Mary Brewster, placing this task in the hands of nurse leaders who could charm an interdisciplinary care team. A team made up of doctors, lawyers, politicians, social workers, and advanced practice nurses who can make an indent on the community. With the rising of health care costs, we need a change now.
Reference:
Mason, D. J., Gardner, B. D., Outlaw, H. F., & O’Grady, T. E. (2016). Policy and Politics: In Nursing and Health Care. (7th ed.).

Nanna, K.M, Taft, S.H (2008). Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice. What Are the Sources of Health Policy That Influence Nursing Practice? 9, 274-287.

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