Engaging Policy in Science
Your role: Content contributor for The American Journal of Nursing
Audience: Healthcare professionals, nursing and administrative.
Format: 3-page paper, editorial style. Plus, a cover and reference page. A minimum of three scholarly sources should be included. In-text citations are required. APA style should be followed throughout.
Refer to the article Engaging policy in science writing: Patterns and strategies within Unit 3 Topic 2 for additional guidance on using the “push” style of writing.
Choose any scientific research topic, with relevant and reliable scholarly sources available for you to review. If your background is clinical, your focus may be heavy on the science or clinical elements. If your background is more administrative, you may choose research which is more closely related to a social issue (such as emergency contraceptives, vaping use, etc.)
Choose a policy or proposed policy that directly relates to your area of scientific research.
Write an editorial article, approximately 3 pages in length, summarizing the scientific research on your chosen topic, and aligning it with relevant health policy. Explain the need for increased awareness around the topic:
Who needs to do something about it,
When action is needed,
What that action could look like, and
Why such action will positively influence the future of healthcare.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
This essay discusses applying the Conceptual Framework for Patient and Family Engagement to partnerships with patients and consumers to increase their use of research evidence in healthcare decisions. The framework’s foundational principles hold that engagement occurs on a continuum across all levels of healthcare—from direct care to policymaking—with patients and healthcare professionals working in full partnership and sharing responsibility for achieving a safe, high-quality, efficient, and patient-centered healthcare system.
Research evidence can serve as a critical decision-making tool in partnerships between patients and health professionals. However, as the framework suggests, without patient and consumer engagement in the design, planning, interpretation, and dissemination of research findings, it is unlikely that the broader consumer population will find research evidence useful, much less use it, to guide their healthcare decisions. Understanding what factors influence patient and consumer engagement can lead to effective strategies that enable meaningful partnerships between patients and researchers.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Understanding patient and consumer perspectives of research evidence is critical to engaging them in meaningful partnerships that produce actionable research findings that they can in turn use in partnership with health professionals to improve their own health and the healthcare system as a whole.
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Patient and family engagementResearch evidenceEngaged researchMedical decision makingPatient partnership
In 2013, Health Affairs published a conceptual framework designed to unify and guide diverse stakeholders in the emerging field of patient and family engagement . The framework (Fig. 1) was built through the collaboration of clinicians, funders, patients, caregivers, administrators, medical educators, and policymakers committed to bringing patient and family voices not just to direct care decisions but to healthcare organizational design, governance, and public policy and used in various efforts to advance patient and consumer engagement , . The framework also served as the basis for the US Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research’s (AHRQ) Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety  and the Roadmap for Patient and Family Engagement in Healthcare Practice and Research funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in the US.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
We believe the conceptual framework provides practical and important insights about how to engage patients and consumers in the use of research evidence. In this essay, we identify the framework’s key principles for patient and family engagement and apply them in the context of building patient-researcher partnerships to increase use of evidence. We then focus on factors influencing engagement to explore potential pathways to increasing meaningful partnerships among patients, consumers, and researchers, and other health professionals.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
2. Engagement is a means not an end
In the conceptual framework, patient and family engagement is defined as: Patients, families, their representatives, and health professionals working in active partnership at various levels across the health care system—direct care, organizational design and governance, and policymaking—to improve health and healthcare.
This definition identifies the ultimate object of engagement as the development of a collaborative partnership between patients (including families) and consumers and health professionals. The definition also implies that the end purpose of this relationship is to improve healthcare and health outcomes for both individuals and society. Ultimately, a partnership between patients and health professionals—whether they be clinicians, administrators, support staff, policymakers, or researchers—should lead to improvements ranging from better patient outcomes, improved population health, and effective and efficient use of limited individual and societal resources. Engagement—and the partnership it creates—in and of itself is never the end goal. Instead, collaborative partnerships between patients and health professionals are an essential ingredient of improved care and health.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Defining engagement relationally also is important because it clarifies the problematic nature of consumer engagement with research evidence as a goal or outcome. Under the framework’s definitional focus on partnership, we better understand that patients or consumers are not able to partner with research findings, but rather with those who fund, conduct, disseminate, or utilize such evidence. From this perspective, research evidence is better viewed as an essential tool for patients, in partnership with health professionals, to improve healthcare and health. Sadly, this perspective of evidence is rarely presented to patients and consumers or encouraged in our current system of care.
As the conceptual model of patient engagement suggests, relationships between patients and health professionals should strive for full partnership and shared leadership. Narrowing the separation of technical experts from laypersons through specific strategies is critical to such partnerships growing and flourishing. Engaging patients in the planning, design, interpretation, and dissemination of research can potentially produce more useful evidence for consumers, not just in making individual decisions about diagnosis or treatment, but in working alongside providers, payers, and policymakers in applying the best evidence to build safe, high-quality and efficient systems of care.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
There is a growing understanding of the role social determinants such as poverty, gender discrimination, racial prejudice, and economic inequality play on health and illness. While these determinants and effects may be challenging to identify in parts of high-income countries, they are patently obvious in many other areas of the world. How we react to these determinants and effects depends on what historical, cultural, ideological, and psychological characteristics we bring to our encounters with inequity, as well as how our feelings and thoughts inform our values and actions.DiscussionTo address these issues, we share a series of questions we have asked ourselves¿United States¿ citizens with experience living and working in Central America¿in relation to our encounters with inequity. We offer a conceptual framework for contemplating responses in hopes of promoting among educators and practitioners in medicine and public health an engaged awareness of how our every day work either perpetuates or breaks down barriers of social difference. We review key moments in our own experiences as global health practitioners to provide context for these questions.SummaryIntrospective reflection can help professionals in global medicine and public health recognize the dynamic roles that they play in the world. Such reflection can bring us closer to appreciating the forces that have worked both for and in opposition to global health, human rights, and well-being. It can help us recognize how place, time, environment, and context form the social determination of health. It is from this holistic perspective of social relations that we can work to effect fair, equitable, and protective environments as they relate to global medicine and public health.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Nurses are a constant presence at the frontlines of healthcare, there for us at the bedside in times of need. Throughout a career, a nurse’s impact reaches thousands of patients and their families. As many of us know, an effective, caring nurse is simply hard to forget.
With all of that in mind, it’s no secret that nursing is a highly respected and honored profession. In fact, it has been ranked as the most trusted profession for fifteen straight years. But nursing isn’t just about comforting sick patients or grieving families. While that’s an element that’s often recognized, there’s another side to the profession many don’t think about as regularly: the science.
Healthcare, after all, is an industry steeped in scientific findings. Nurses study for years to understand the intricacies of the human body. And while it takes a sharp mind to master the science of nursing, there is also an art to caring for patients. The role of a nurse bridges both. Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Read on to learn more about the art and science of nursing with practicing nurses weighing in on how they utilize both in their day-to-day work.
Understanding the two sides to nursing
Nurses use their heads and their hearts. Each day, they utilize critical thinking to make sound judgments and select the best care solutions for their patients. They employ their compassionate side to understand their patients and will often use their knowledge of the sciences in the application of treatments.
Nursing is both an art and a science — and in this field, one can’t exist without the other.
“You can be masterful in all the medical science and technology, but if you don’t understand how to engage your own emotional intelligence, you’re not going to provide the same level of care,” says Stephanie Sargent, RN and VP of product development and quality at SE Healthcare Quality Consulting. Conversely, she explains that “you can be a caring, empathetic nurse, but if you don’t know how to work the ventilator, you’re going to be in trouble.” Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
The science of nursing: theory, evidence, technology
“Nursing is a legitimate scientific discipline rooted in theory, ongoing research and evidence. We take evidence and implement it to improve quality and to improve nursing practice,” explains St. Scholastica nursing instructor and current DNP student Amos Restad, BSN, RN, CCRN.Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Nurses study complicated scientific concepts, theories and hands-on methodology to understand the complexities of the human body. “A scientist is one who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences. Thus, nurses are scientists,” says Jonathan Steele, RN and executive director of Water Cures. “The physical sciences we work with are both nursing sciences and the medical sciences. Nurses facilitate the care doctors provide. They also work within the framework of the nursing assessment, diagnosis and treatment.”Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Before entering the workforce, nursing students must pass science courses, including anatomy, chemistry, microbiology and physiology, as well as behavioral sciences, such as psychology and/or sociology. Understanding the sciences is central to the nursing field.
Beyond the hard sciences, nurses must also be proficient in the technology used throughout healthcare facilities. “Nursing is a completely different profession from a hundred years ago,” Sargent explains. “It’s incredibly reliant on technology, and nurses are expected to understand all of it — everything from infusion pumps to traction devices, ventilators to fall alarms and now, electronic health records.”Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
While nursing is steeped in evidence based-practice, scientific concepts and technical know-how, it’s important to note that all of these elements can come together only under the careful application of a knowledgeable nurse. Even with the numerous facts and protocols in nursing, you can’t simply train a successful nurse, Restad poses. “You can’t have them know however many algorithms or theories and expect them to be nurses. If that was the case, robots would be nurses.”
It’s the human element that brings science into practice — and that’s what makes the art of nursing come alive. Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
The art of nursing: application, interpretation, creativity
Nurses must master a plethora of information about the human body. It’s the manner in which they apply this expertise that can be considered the “art of nursing.” Without the art of the application, the knowledge and expertise of a nurse is all but useless.
The art of nursing can appear in many forms. It can be a nurse’s ability to develop a relationship with a patient or their family and to build a mutual trust. It can be the ability to empathetically understand what a patient is going through and to explain conditions and treatments in a way they will comprehend. Or it can just as easily be a way of picking up on what is unsaid.
“Something they don’t teach you in nursing school is emotional intelligence. It’s the ability to read a room — your own feelings and the feelings of others — and use that to determine how to interact,” Sargent says. “People with high emotional intelligence are really in tune with others and practice nursing at a higher level.”Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
Sometimes the art of nursing is more of an intuition developed through years of experience on the frontlines of healthcare. Steele describes a situation when, as a hospice nurse, he recognized a patient was going into the active dying phase. Despite not seeing any of the textbook signs of active death, Steele knew it was time to summon the family for one last visit.
“The reason for being able to tell she was actively dying was not something I could teach anyone,” he explains. “But when you see it enough, a nurse develops a skill where they have an unconscious competence.
Other times, the art of nursing is seen through a creativity in the application of nursing procedures. Steele recalls an instance when his resourcefulness helped someone when medical facilities weren’t near. “A friend who was an hour away from the hospital complained of chest pains,” he recalls. Steele gave the friend a pinch of salt and a bottle of water, which served as a makeshift saline IV. The chest pains disappeared in less than a minute. “When disaster strikes and hospitals are not near, [nurses can] use creative means to preserve lives.”Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
The art of nursing can also be a balancing act. For instance, a nurse in the intensive care unit may be assigned two patients, with one being much sicker than the other. “You need to be able to convey to your patient that their needs are valid and that they are valued, while still putting lots of time and energy into the other, sicker patient and their family,” Restad explains.
Taking all of the scientific concepts and hard nursing skills one learns in school and applying those to real-life scenarios is what the nursing profession is really about. The art of application makes nursing holistic, taking the entire person and unique medical scenario into consideration. “Any person could be trained to put an IV in. Any person can learn these nursing skills. But to put it all together and add the element of care — that’s nursing,” Restad says.
One profession, two sides
Nursing is as much of an art as it is a science. And a successful nurse cannot have one without the other, embodying both in tandem. When applied together, the art and science of nursing is a force to be reckoned with in healthcare. It’s what makes nurses so effective, and it’s what makes all the difference to the patients in their care.
Through it all, the best nurses never stop learning and growing. But if you find yourself hitting a wall in your career, it may be time to explore advancement options. You can learn more about expanding your career opportunities, improving patient outcomes and increasing your impact as a nurse by visiting our article, “RN to BS online: Is it time to move forward in your nursing career?”Engaging Policy in Science As a Healthcare Professional Essay
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