Healthcare policies are critical in improving health sector through ensuring access to healthcare services at an affordable rate and equally in the society. Healthcare policies are designed with the intention of contributing to socio-economic development that will ensure easy access of medical services to improve wellness of individuals in community. Policies are important as they have influence on quality and safety of nursing practice and environment because they consistently provide standardization in daily operations and activities of nursing practice (McLaughlin and McLaughlin, 2015). Moreover, policies are essential in providing clarity to nurses when dealing with issues and activities that are critical to health and safety, legal liabilities and regulatory requirements (McLaughlin and McLaughlin, 2015). Regarding duties of nurses, policies in healthcare are crucial in setting general plan of actions that nurses can embrace to realize positive outcomes of responsibilities and are important in aiding decision making to improve on quality of services offered. In addition, safety of the practice heavily depends on nurses having clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the organization, this is possible with presence of sound healthcare policies.
Notably, healthcare policies play a greater role in ensuring access of medical and healthcare services to members of community by strengthening strategic and primary health care systems which are aimed at overcoming obstacles and increasing access to health care. Policies initiate mechanisms that urge stakeholders and sponsors to invest heavily on medical services by increasing number of nurses and thus services, it is worth noting that nurses are the principal providers of services and hence their support will drive efforts to ensure access of services by communities. Equity and affordability is critical in nursing practice and so policies come in hand to ensure that decision-makers across different sectors are informed about the health, equity, and sustainability consequences of policy decisions in entire health sector (Holtz, 2013). Consequently, policies are aimed at coining initiatives that are aimed at increasing affordability of healthcare services through providing provisions for subsidizing existing healthcare packsges and abandoning tradition discrimination between the rich and poor. Healthcare policies also acts as a driver in promoting affordability through advocating for cost sharing between individual’s medical institutions and beneficiaries especially those with incomes below the poverty line. Medical social justice is important in any health setting, this is because justice demands commitment in providing healthcare services to the public (Holtz, 2013). Healthcare policy documents ensure that tangible actions are taken to promote, protect and provide healthcare service to the public through substantial commitment by government.
Nurses play critical roles in the development of healthcare policies since they are directly in touch with management and people and so offer valuable inputs to be integrated in policy development. They are vital in addressing health determinant outcomes in the policy development process that includes infrastructure, natural and social environment and information that is used in developing policies. Holtz (2013) opines that nurses ensure that special groups and the disadvantaged are catered for in the policies to ensure equity in service provision in medical practice and ensure that they are fairly treated. They ensure that plans are in place to accommodate services that involve scarce resources, it is affirmed that health emergencies can pose potential mass illness and death and therefore that play a role of ensuring that scarce facilities and resources are not left out during development of policies (Holtz, 2013). Moreover, nurses provide expertise and innovations, generate evidence from medical research they conduct, expand scope of practice and embrace technology; all these are elements that are fundamental in development of healthcare policies.
Holtz, C. (2013). Global health care: Issues and policies. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett
McLaughlin, C. P., & McLaughlin, C. (2015). Health policy analysis: An interdisciplinary
approach, second edition. Burlington, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning