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How Do I Become a Health Policy Nurse?

Higher Education Articles August 22, 2013

For the nurse who has had years of experience and is looking for something a little bit different in the field of nursing, the role of a health policy nurse may be an interesting path to consider. Health policy nursing offers more of a leadership role, as opposed to the hands on patient care that most nurses are used to.

What is Health Policy Nursing?

Health policy nursing deals with issues regarding research, analysis, advocacy, implementation, evaluation, and development of the health policy. The health policy nurse may find employment in an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), a health care provider association, a health services research organization, an advocacy group, a regulatory office, or a legislative office. The health policy nurse will be able to recognize and critique regulations, policies, and laws at all levels, including state, local, institutional, and national.

Educational Requirements of Health Policy Nursing

The student who studies this specialty will learn about the history and process of what is involved in a health policy. In addition, they will gain knowledge regarding the structure and theory of a health policy. They will further learn about the ethics, economics, and strategies regarding changes in the policy and their effectiveness.

The student must be a registered nurse and have his or her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. He or she can then further his or her career and take the recommended course curriculum for a health policy nurse. The student’s curriculum will include taking courses in health economics, communications and policy leadership, health policy research, health policy theories, residency of the health policy nurse, policy and research utilization, dilemmas in ethics, and policies concerning race and class.

Students would benefit best in taking electives that pertain to the role of the health policy nurse, such as policy issues involving tobacco control, aging, long term care, comparative health, and other such issues.

Residency Requirements of Health Policy Nursing

Once the course curriculum has been completed, the health policy nurse must complete a 10-week residency. Students will work in areas that will give them insight and wisdom in a real-life setting. This will better prepare them for most situations that they may encounter once they are working on their own. A student will work in a variety of offices and settings including health care organizations, advocacy groups, legislative and regulatory offices, as well as other professional firms and associations. This residency generally takes place in larger cities, such as Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Outlook and Salary of Health Policy Nursing

As with any nursing career, the future is bright. This is expected to continue for at least the next several years. The salary of a health policy nurse is comparable to that of others in the nursing profession. However, health policy nursing is a specialty field, so the salary may be more substantial. This will also depend upon where the nurse will work, as well as years of experience. If the nurse works in a legislative office as opposed to a nonprofit organization, his or her wages will likely be higher. As well, the salary in different parts of the United States also varies.

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