Nursing Health Policy

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Health policy and resource allocation: potential impact on nursing (midwifery practice)

Nurses have a professional obligation to advocate for clients through participation in the health policy and resource allocation process. Participation in the policy process influences the direction of policy and legislation, ultimately shaping the type of services and the resources in which clients may access services provided by nurses and other healthcare professionals. Because nurses are situated within close contact with patients they are well positioned both to work directly with families on obesity-related health issues and to influence organizational policies that serve to exacerbate or ameliorate the problem. Nurses are positioned on the frontlines of obesity prevention, policy creation, and health promotion. Nurses have a unique role as advocates and educators because of their close contact and ability to dispense advice to families. In addition, they have the opportunity to influence the thinking of nonmedical professionals in the environments in which they work, such as schools and industries. Nurses can participate in this effort through education of, families, colleagues, and policymakers; through participation in policymaking processes to improve nutrition and activities and by participating in the legislative and budget processes to inform and influence decision making. Opportunities exist for nursing involvement in related policy issues including but not limited to safe staffing patterns, safe handling of bariatric patients, national standards for food and beverages sold in schools, and insurance policies for obesity. One example of an organisation that impacts nurse and midwifery practice through health policy is WorkSafe Victoria. WorkSafe provides the Code of Practice for Manual Handling which provides specific guidelines on assessing the risk factors associated with heavy lifting and strategies to avoid injury. This document is particularly useful to...
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