Nurses: The Power of Political Advocacy in Healthcare - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-08-26
Nurses: The Power of Political Advocacy in Healthcare - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Nursing Healthcare
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1146 words
10 min read


Nurses play a significant role in improving the health outcomes of their patients. The American Nurse Association, a professional organization, is tasked with advocating for the nursing profession. Political advocacy in healthcare is the act of recommending a course of action to improve the wellbeing of patients. Nurses have the chance to incorporate their skills and participate in a range of matters such as political advocacy. However, professional engagement in the political process is problematic in America and many issues remain unaddressed. Since the 1950s, nurses have been celebrating nursing week to celebrate the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, the first policy advocate (American Nurses Association, nd). From 2003 to date, nurses have been celebrating nursing week on May 6th-12th (ANA, n.d). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of political advocacy in nursing. The main points to be discussed include the relevance of political advocacy, the skills important when engaging in political advocacy, and the viewpoints surrounding the issue. Also, a section in the paper will discuss ways I can become involved in political advocacy. Nurses need to be more engaged in political advocacy to improve the health outcomes of patients.

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Relevance, Historical, Societal, Political, and Economic Impacts of Political Advocacy

Political advocacy is relevant because it helps to address health inequalities in the underserved populations. Williams, Phillips, and Koyama (2018) indicated that policy advocacy is vital to shaping population health. As the authors discussed further, political advocacy improves the social, economic, physical, and mental health of populations. Today, many people across America do not have access to quality health care and some of the populations cannot afford to get treatment in hospitals. Political advocacy is relevant in today’s society to change legislative policies that help alleviate health care constraints.

Political advocacy has historical, societal, political, and economic impacts. Lewenson and Nickitas (2016) indicated that the work of nurses in America Red Cross Town & Country as well as Henry Street Settlement shape dialogs about health care today. In Henry Street Settlement, nurses advocated for the improvement of the health care needs of immigrant families (Lewenson & Nickitas, 2016). Also, in America Red Cross Town & Country, nurses advocated for access to services during disasters in remote areas (Lewenson & Nickitas, 2016). Those examples depict the historical impact of political advocacy and the way nurses should be involved in improving the health outcomes of populations. Furthermore, political advocacy can help to address social, political, and economic factors. Williams et al. (2018)) indicated that socially and economically disadvantaged groups do not have access to health care. When nurses engage in political advocacy, new policies can be put in place to help the underserved populations get access to health care at an affordable cost.

Perspectives of Political Advocacy

Nurses have their viewpoints on the subject of political advocacy. Williams, Erevelles, Carter, Cortez, Denham, and Hamner (2018) conducted a study to explore nursing perspectives on the issue of advocacy. Their findings revealed that nurses had an idea of what political advocacy entails. Also, participants in the study indicated that experience in the clinical area and injustices they have witnessed make them be involved in political advocacy. Furthermore, participants in the study explained why they do not get involved in political advocacy and joining a professional organization. Even though some nurses stated that joining a professional organization is beneficial because they can voice their concerns through it, some nurses affirmed that the organizations do not convey inspiring messages and fight for the advocacy (Williams et al., 2018). In hindsight, more research into the barriers to political advocacy needs to be examined to establish a way for more nurses to be political advocates.

Skills Important in Political Advocacy Engagement

Communication – Woodward, Smart, and Benavides-Vaello (2016) indicated that communication skills are necessary for political activism. When nurses engage with policy experts and elected officials in the political arena, they need to have excellent communication skills to ensure they put their message across.

Clinical Expertise – Woodward et al. (2016) asserted that nurses need to have a clinical expertise to draft policies that protect their patients. Seemingly, nurses’ clinical knowledge would help in the legislative process at the local, state, and federal levels.

Analytical and Attentiveness – Woodward et al. (2016) stated that nurses need to assess and be informed of problems facing their patients. With those skills, nurses can work collaboratively to manage the demands of political advocacy.

Empathy – Woodward et al. (2016) affirmed that nurses need to be involved and understand the different perspectives of their patients. When nurses are empathetic, they pay attention to their patients’ problems and advocate for their wellbeing.


As a professional nurse, I can be involved in political advocacy by first putting my skills such as communication, assertiveness, empathy, and clinical expertise to ensure that I fight for the patients’ right to quality access to health care. I can voice my thoughts through the ANA. I can volunteer to be a participant in policy meetings to help in furthering the cause of political action. Furthermore, I can draft a letter to state representatives regarding a health care policy. I could develop a research agenda such as reducing the cost of care of populations to ensure that they get access to affordable services.


Nurses are fundamental players in political advocacy. It is agreeable that every nurse needs to be engaged in political advocacy to ensure that patients get quality access to health care services. Additionally, the ANA should continue to champion for political advocacy and provide the necessary tools and resources to facilitate policy changes. The historical narrative of political advocacy has a way of shaping modern debates about health care, and think about the future of quality access to healthcare. Without a doubt, nurses possess the skills necessary for effective policy development. In light of that discussion, they have to be more proactive in political matters to improve the well-being of patients they swore to serve. Overall, there is a need to further analyze nurses’ participation in political advocacy to reduce underrepresentation in healthcare policy issues.


American Nurses Association. (n.d). National nurses’ week history.

Lewenson, S. B., & Nickitas, D. J. (2016). Nursing history of advocacy and action.

Williams, S.D., Phillips, J.M., & Koyama, K. (2018) Nurse advocacy: Adopting a health in all policies approach. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(3). doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No03Man01

Williams, T. T., Erevelles, N., Carter, M., Cortez, C., Denham, A., & Hamner, K. (2018). Political advocacy in nursing: Perspectives from the field.

Woodward, B., Smart, D., & Benavides-Vaello, S. (2016). Modifiable factors that support political participation by nurses. Journal of professional nursing: official journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 32(1), 54–61. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2015.06.005

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