Poor health doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People who suffer from chronic health conditions are often affected by various environmental factors, including diet, environment, policies, poverty, and socioeconomic status. You likely see the effects of these lifestyle factors in your everyday work as a registered nurse.
With ongoing education and training, you may be in a great position to change these factors.
Public health professionals and policy creators have been exploring health influences for many years. The Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign has uncovered many issues in public housing that lead to overall poor health, including lead, floodwater, carbon monoxide, and cockroaches (NewsOK, 2015).
If you’re ready to make your voice heard and contribute to stronger healthcare efforts in Oklahoma, your journey starts with a Master’s degree. You can find out more by checking out graduate healthcare policy programs in Oklahoma below.
Healthcare policy is quite a bit different from most other graduate nursing programs. While it does utilize your nursing knowledge and experience, it also requires you to gain extensive experience in entirely different industries. For that reason, you may spend more time learning a healthcare policy Master's degree than another Master's degree in nursing.
In Oklahoma, most programs involve at least 40 credits. However, by the time you reach graduation, you should have the hands-on experience that you need to work successfully in both nursing and in healthcare policy.
Each program in Oklahoma is slightly different in its curriculum and goals, due to the influences of different professors and administrators. You may want to talk with professors at many different institutions to find one that fits in well with your existing experience and your long-term goals. Learning outcomes are a great way to assess each college.
Your program may include learning goals like those listed here:
- Understand the legal and ethical principles used in health policy
- Apply the principles of program planning and development to public health
- Properly use health and performance improvement concepts
- Solve policy problems in ways that meet the ethical, financial, and legal needs of an institution
The courses you take should be in line with the specific goals that are created by your program. Some of the courses that are commonly required in health policy programs include Biostatistics Methods, Principles of Epidemiology, Integrated Public Health Practice, US Healthcare System, Health Economics, Organizational Theory and Behavior, Health Policy and Politics, and Healthcare Quality Management.
A nursing license is required to keep working in any nursing capacity. Per the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, you must renew your license by the last day of your birth month in even-numbered years.
Forming close professional ties with nursing groups and healthcare organizations during graduate school can help you get involved in policy while you are still earning your degree. You may want to become involved in the legislative committee of the Oklahoma Nurses Association. They focus on priorities like prevention of violence in healthcare settings, increasing the role of nurses in policy creation, and expanding funding for healthcare and health promotion across the state.
Government agencies are common places of employment for those who work in health policy. The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority is one of the most important legislative voices in Oklahoma healthcare. You may want to choose your internship or practicum course based on what you want to do with your degree.
The policies created now will shape the future of nursing in Oklahoma. Explore your full potential by contacting Master’s in healthcare policy programs in Oklahoma.