No matter where you work in the Delaware healthcare industry, your work and decisions are partially limited by the policies put in place at the local, state, and national levels. These policies may not be practical, based in evidence, or in patients’ best interests.
By combining your nursing experience with a graduate degree in healthcare policy, you can fill an important void in health policy in Delaware.
Your previous experience and knowledge in the field of nursing can be extremely beneficial to Delaware residents, Delaware nurses, and others who are impacted by the healthcare industry. Delaware recently passed legislation that permits nurse practitioners to work independently in specific situations (University of Delaware, 2015). This particular victory has been in the making for several years and can be attributed to the hard work and lobbying of experienced nurses.
By shifting your career focus from practice to policy, you can make the decisions and laws that determine how nurses work and what they can do for patients.
Learn more about this process by requesting information from graduate programs in healthcare policy in Delaware.
As you start to learn about healthcare policy schools in Delaware, you may find that many of them combine policy with management and public health. This is due to how intertwined public health and policy are. Many policies are made with public health in mind, as decisions that improve public health outcomes and are applicable to the entire population are more likely to receive funding.
If you'd like to focus your education on one area of policy, check out course listings for various schools to find a curriculum that is in line with your interests. The following courses and more may be part of your education:
- Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health
- Research Methods in Health Policy
- Public Health Advocacy
- Public Health Policy and Legal Issues
- Health Program Planning
Many graduate programs in this area of study require field work. The type of field work you are allowed to complete depends on your performance at the graduate level, the type of experience you have, and which part of Delaware you live in. Internships and practicum courses may place you in nonprofit agencies, government agencies, community clinics, and lobbying groups.
Keeping your registered nursing license valid is an essential part of working as a healthcare policy nurse. Currently, the Delaware Board of Nursing requires renewal by September 30 of every odd-numbered year. When you renew, you must also have proof of at least 30 continuing education hours in the past two years.
If you have never explored healthcare policy, you may be curious about the role that nurses play in this highly political environment. When you look at healthcare and nursing laws that have been passed over the years, you may find that graduate-level nurses are behind many of them.
With a Master's degree in health policy, you have the authority and expertise needed to be a valuable asset to legislators and a leader in the nursing community. Working as a nurse gives you first-hand experience with various policies, how they affect patients, and what challenges healthcare workers face every day. You may also affect policy by working with groups like the Delaware Nurses Association.
The Delaware Campaign for Action is a grassroots organization that focuses specifically on healthcare policy. They are part of the Data Integrity Project, which makes research and raw data more readily available to nurses. Other long-term goals they have established include increased diversity in nursing, legal language used in nursing policies, and full practice rights for all APRNs.
The goals of healthcare policy will undoubtedly change from year to year. No matter what, the nursing industry needs nurses who are educated in policy and who will be a voice for the nursing community.
Start your search by checking out healthcare policy Master's degree programs in Delaware.