Health Policy Nurse Career Overview
| Ann Feeney
What is a health policy nurse? Health policy nurses advise governments, think tanks, advocacy groups, public health organizations, and public policy professionals on policy related to nursing and public health.
Health Policy Nurse Career in Brief
Health policy nurses help shape healthcare policy by advising policymakers and advocacy organizations on public health and nursing issues. They must understand how healthcare delivery systems and healthcare policy interact.
Health policy nurse job responsibilities include:
- Reviewing proposed local, state, or federal public health and healthcare policy changes.
- Analyzing changes to determine the likely impact on healthcare or public health.
- Advocating for specific approaches or policies.
- Organizing collaborations among stakeholders.
- Communicating with stakeholders and policymakers.
- Collaborative and communicative
- Policy analysis and systems thinking
- Diplomatic skills
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Where Do Health Policy Nurses Work?
Health policy nurse jobs usually involve more office and desk work than direct patient care nurse jobs. See below for common workplace settings.
- Government Agencies
- Health policy nurses analyze potential changes in healthcare and public health policy, identify likely impacts, and write reports and white papers.
- Public Health Non-governmental Organizations
- Health policy nurses conduct advocacy efforts, examine updates and modifications in policy, educate the public, and partner with collaborators to promote specific policies or approaches.
- Healthcare Providers or Trade Associations
- Health policy nurses help research and explore possible policy changes and its impacts on stakeholders, communicate with stakeholders, and work with lobbyists and public relations/communications teams.
Why Become a Health Policy Nurse?
Health policy nurses can help shape healthcare and public health at a systems level, an important work that can be immensely satisfying. However, the role rarely involves direct patient care, which is why many nurses may not enter the profession. Health policy nurses must also often deal with bureaucracy and political partisanship.
Advantages to Becoming a Health Policy Nurse
- Can improve healthcare and public health policy on a large scale
- Involves a less physically demanding role compared to general nursing
- Collaborates with a variety of partners
Disadvantages to Becoming a Health Policy Nurse
- Can be frustrating as policy changes may be slow and laborious
- Manages a lot of red tape and bureaucracy
- Must be willing to deal with politics and partisanship issues
How to Become a Health Policy Nurse
Earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
Pass the NCLEX-RN to receive registered nurse (RN) licensure.
Gain clinical nursing experience.
Earn certification in health policy.
Certification Options for Health Policy Nurses
How Much Do Health Policy Nurses Make?
Health policy nurse salaries vary widely based on education, job responsibilities, and workplace. While the average annual salary for a health policy analyst is $64,130, those with an MSN in health policy can expect to earn an average yearly salary of $111,500. In contrast, RNs earn a median annual salary of $75,330.
Nursing jobs are projected to grow by 7% between 2019-2029, much faster than the national average for all occupations combined. U.S. health policy involves many stakeholders, including governments, healthcare providers, public health organizations, philanthropies, and healthcare trade associations, all requiring health policy nurses to help accommodate growth and change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Resources for Health Policy Nurses
American Public Health AssociationAPHA publishes books, white papers, a journal and newsletters; conducts policy review and advocacy; offers an annual conference and other professional development activities; and provides networking opportunities. Membership is open to any individual with an interest in public health, public health organizations, and solutions providers.
Association of Public Health NursesThis association advances the public health nursing profession by promoting high practice standards and continuing education. APHN hosts an annual conference and offers group and individual memberships for public health nurses, students, public health staff, and stakeholders.
Organization of Nurse LeadersONL is a professional association for current and aspiring nurse leaders in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Members can enjoy professional development resources, including classes on leadership, attend quarterly and annual meetings along with networking events, and explore new job postings on an exclusive job board.
American Organization for Nurse LeadershipAONL highlights certification programs and other resources for nurses in leadership or executive positions and provides professional development and continuing education opportunities. The organization also conducts advocacy efforts and publishes newsletters and a journal.
Nicole Galan is a registered nurse who earned a master’s degree in nursing education from Capella University and currently works as a full-time freelance writer. Throughout her nursing career, Galan worked in a general medical/surgical care unit and then in infertility care. She has also worked for over 13 years as a freelance writer specializing in consumer health sites and educational materials for nursing students.
Galan is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners.
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