Be the voice for change, advised Rebecca M. Patton, the past two-term president of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the book’s co-editor. Nurses Making Policy was released Nov. 20.
Patton, the Atkinson Scholar in Perioperative Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, edited the book with Margarete L. Zalon, professor of nursing at the University of Scranton, Scranton, Penn., and a past president of the American Nurses Foundation; and Ruth Ludwick, professor emeritus of nursing at Kent State University and nurse researcher at Robinson Memorial Hospital, Ravenna, Ohio.
The co-editors will donate all book royalties to endow the $2 million Washington Fellows program, administered by the American Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the ANA.
The Washington Fellows program provides support and opportunities for nurses to gain experience working with White House and Congressional policymakers.
In the book’s forward, Joyce Fitzpatrick, the Elizabeth Brooks Ford Professor of Nursing at CWRU, the chairperson of the American Nurses Foundation and a past president of the American Academy of Nursing, writes: “The legacy of this commitment is far-reaching, as each new Fellow will build on the successes of his or her predecessors.”
Involvement in the fellowship program takes the nursing agenda to a new level of influence, Fitzpatrick said, and the book offers suggestions on how to move the nursing profession forward.
Nurses Making Policy guides professional nurses and graduate-level nursing students in health care policies class through the step-by-step process to influence policy makers. This how-to process sets the book apart from other health care policy books, Patton said.
Patton draws from her experience as often the lone nurse’s voice in discussions with health care policymakers to help shape the Affordable Care Act. That experience inspired her to draw other nurses into the process.
Topics covered in the book include learning social skills to build solid relationships, finding a mentor for advice, understanding the media and more.
“The skills to change policy are the same at all levels,” with opportunities for everyone to contribute to making policies, Patton said. “Nurses bring a front-row view of what’s happening and are in an incredible position to offer ideas that resolve issues.”