What Is a Health Policy Nurse?

Many would argue that our current healthcare system needs reform to ensure that ever-growing patient care needs are met timely, safely, and efficiently. Nurses have worked to influence healthcare laws and policies ever since the field of nursing began. Therefore, those who are interested in ways to create and facilitate change in healthcare may wish to pursue a rewarding career as a Health Policy Nurse.

Health policy nurses work to review and revise healthcare laws, policies, and regulations. Using their expertise in the field of nursing, they advocate and make recommendations on how to streamline healthcare delivery as well as improve patient safety and patient care outcomes.

Becoming a Health Policy Nurse

Those interested in becoming a health policy nurse often have the following unique characteristics:

  • Well-organized
  • Research-focused
  • Have strong leadership skills
  • Are structured
  • Have an interest in the legal aspects of healthcare and law-making

To search and apply for open health policy nursing positions, visit our job boards.

What Are the Education Requirements for Health Policy Nurses?

At a minimum, health policy nurses should earn a BSN from an accredited university and pass the NCLEX examination. BSN nurses have completed courses in leadership and management as well as public health, which sets a foundation for the field of healthcare policy. However, in most cases, an MSN is preferred as MSN-prepared nurses have studied research, ethics, and health policy in an advanced-degree nursing program. The specialized MSN in Healthcare Policy is a particularly advantageous degree choice for aspiring health policy nurses.

Nurses can also choose to select a minor in pertinent fields such as law, health policy, etc. although it is usually not required. An example of the curriculum for a master's degree in health policy can be found on the University of California, San Francisco's website. Examples of courses include:

  • Theories of policy processes
  • Policy leadership
  • Healthcare economics
  • Health policy research utilization
  • Nursing leadership
  • Global health policy and nursing
  • Health policy residency

Are Any Certifications or Credentials Needed?

Completion of an MSN program with a focus on Health Policy is typically required to become a Health Policy nurse. Public Health Nurse certification can also be beneficial as nurses who possess this certification are skilled in identifying healthcare needs among a larger population or community.

Nurses may also choose to earn certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in areas such as Executive Nursing.

Where Do Health Policy Nurses Work?

Health policy nurses can work in a variety of areas. Examples include:

  • State, local, or federal government agencies
  • Research firms
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Community organizations
  • Consulting firms
  • Non-profit organizations

What Does a Health Policy Nurse Do?

Health policy nurses focus on identifying and analyzing current healthcare law and policy. They advocate for change if needed and develop methods to implement policy changes. Also, in true nursing fashion, they evaluate the changes after implementation and revise as needed.

What Are the Roles and Duties of a Health Policy Nurse?

Some of the typical daily duties of a health policy nurse include:

  • Finding ways to increase access to care
  • Planning and implementing health policies
  • Advocating for patients
  • Identifying how to reduce cost and waste in healthcare
  • Promoting individual and community health and wellness
  • Improving efficiency in healthcare
  • Assisting organizations to adapt to changes in healthcare policy or law
  • Working to coordinate care within a community or organization

Health Policy Nurse Salary and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have data specific to health policy nurses in terms of salary and employment. However, there is data for Registered Nurses and Medical and Health Services Managers, which may encompass health policy nursing.

  • Registered nurse employment is expected to increase by 12% until 2028. The median pay is $71,730 per year.
  • Medical and Health Services Manager employment is expected to increase by 18% by 2028. The median pay is $99,730 per year.

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