Legislators in the healthcare sector come from many different backgrounds and areas of experience, but some in the medical industry believe that policies should be more heavily influenced by nurses. After all, you spend every day working with the patients and professionals affected by these policies, so who else could better comment on potential and existing laws?
As you examine the history of healthcare policy in Iowa and in the United States as a whole, you can see that it can be difficult for legislators to account for the needs of employees and health professionals. When Iowa lawmakers pushed to privatize Medicaid in an extremely short timeframe, doctors and nurses cautioned against an overzealous push (Des Moines Register, 2015). As a result of the rapid implementation, many elderly and disabled patients were left baffled and confused. The inclusion of nurses in policy creation can help avoid crises like this one.
Find out what kind of a role you can play in Iowa policy with a graduate degree in health policy. Reach out to health policy graduate programs in Iowa to learn more.
Health policy programs are often intended for those who have current and relevant work experience in the healthcare field, so your work as a registered nurse may help you quite a bit in the application process.
In fact, job experience is often just as important as your undergraduate academic performance. If you know that you want to work in policy, learn about these programs early so you can get the right amount and type of work experience to be accepted to a program.
From school to school, graduation requirements are quite different. Generally, Iowa schools require you to earn between 36 and 42 credits to get a Master's degree in healthcare policy. To meet these expectations and build your base of knowledge, plan on taking courses like Health Policy Analysis, Cost Effectiveness and Decision Analysis, Essentials of Public Health, Health Economics, Biostatistics, and Health Research.
In addition to your classroom courses, your school may expect you to finish an internship or a fieldwork class. The type of internship you complete may impact your post-graduation job opportunities, so consider your options carefully.
All of these requirements and expectations are put in place to help you meet the learning goals outlined by your college or university. Iowa health policy programs may look for growth in the following areas:
- Identify and analyze public health issues and problems
- Conduct quantitative and qualitative research
- Formulate public health policies
Keep in mind that you must renew your registered nursing license every three years through the Iowa Board of Nursing to keep working in policy in a nursing role. This involves completing 36 hours of continuing education during each cycle.
While earning your Master's degree in healthcare policy, you may learn that experience and reputation are two of the biggest components of success in this specialty. This means that you may spend the early stages of your career getting your name out there, building a positive reputation, and becoming active in the nursing community. With your knowledge of healthcare policy, you may work for clinics or hospitals creating policies that fit federal and state standards. Later in your career, you may explore options with agencies like the Iowa Health Policy Oversight Committee.
Nurses have been directly responsible for many important pieces of health legislation in Iowa. Recent efforts of the Iowa Nurses Association have focused on allowing APRNs to use advanced medical equipment, improving chronic care management, creating a lyme disease task force, and banning the use of tanning beds by minors.
Earning a Master's degree in this field puts you in the position of being able to develop policies and laws that are truly beneficial to the healthcare industry. Take advantage of this opportunity now and request information from graduate healthcare policy programs in Iowa.