The Influence of Nurses on Health Policy on Prescription Drugs Name Institution’s Name Course Name/Code Date Submitted TheInfluence of Nurses on Health Policy on Prescription Drugs The health care industry has evolved tremendously over the past two decades to becomevastly complex with lesser predictability; there are constant changes and reorganizations. Evolutioncan be attributedto several factors. One of the most criticalfactors is the current changes in the populationand successive healthcare needs coupled with the system’s capacity and accessible resourcesto fulfill the ever-changingneeds (Wagner, 2018). Other factors that impact health care are advancements in technology, multigenerational staff, limited resources, changing needs of managerial accountabilities, performance measurement, andgreater consumer expectations. These factors have impacted and influenced the roles of nurses in a manner that has not been conventionally experienced in theglobal health care industry. One of the emerging roles inenhancing the credibility and visibility of the profession to positively influencepublic opinion by engaging in actions linked to better health and societal well-being (Sullivan, 2013). To be influential, nurses view themselves as experts with the moralduty, capacity, expertise, and knowledge to influence the systems by advocating for policies, whichenhance the efficiency and affordability of health care. This paper discusses how nurses can influence Canada’s health policy on prescription drug coverage using advocacy, negotiation, and communication skills. Part One: Deciding on the MessageNurses are the biggest group of regulated medical professionals in Canada as they account for almost 50% of the labour force. According to CIHI (2019), the total number of regulated nurses amounted to 431,769 in 2018 whereby the total number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and registered psychiatric nurses amounted to 303,146, 122,600, and 6,023 respectively. Intrinsically, nursepractitioners have the potential to overpoweringly influence healthcare policy by charting the course in the redesign of the healthcare system as they work directly with their patients and comprehend the health needs of their communities. Nurses have both a professional and moral responsibilityto participate in the national, provinces and territorieshealthcare legislation, whichimpactsthe patients and other stakeholders in the industry. Whennursing professionals influence the health policiesaimedat improving healthcare delivery, they are advocating for all patients. The Canadian health care system is mostly paid for publicly and provided privately as Canadians are authorized to select their preferred health care providers, then the government reimbursespractitioners with fees for their medical services. But, the system is flawed as there are a number of issues, scoping from the long waiting times for the nonemergency and specialty medical proceduresto the gender gap. Besides,the coverage is aimedatguaranteeing that all citizens can access the medically essential and physician services in hospitals (Boychuk, 2012). However, the CHA does not stipulatewhich elements are medically necessary or not as some provinces and territories do not cover supplementary health care and medical benefits. In most cases, vision care, dental health, rehabilitative services, home health care, as well as prescription drugsare not covered bythe CHA. One of the areas in which nurses can influence healthcare policy is the improvement of Medicare to cover both medically necessary and supplementary health benefits, especially the provision of prescription drugs in all provinces and territories.Nurses are aware that the health care system is flawed and needs to be changed to improve the delivery of efficient and affordable health services. Therefore, nurses should undertake an advocacy role to influence fundamental changes in policies governing the CHA. It is time to implement a universal pharmacare to safeguard the coverage of prescription drugs from corporate attrition. At present, the government covers physician and hospital services only and any additional health needs, like prescriptions, are funded by patients and private insurance plans. But, this has led to unjustifiedburden, pain, and suffering for the patients and families who do not have insurance plans bought by employers. Canada is the sole developed nation with a universal health system that does not incorporate pharmacare for patients’ prescription drugs. Also, Canadian patients incur higher costs for medications than patients in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Accordingly, the theme of the message is influencing the inclusion of prescription drugs in a one-payer pharmacare to make sure that all essential drugs are free and available to everybody. This is important as it ultimately improves the outcomes of the health care industry by safeguarding the safety of patients, increasing quality of health care, as well as facilitating the access of patients to all essential resources that promote quality care at the least possible costs. The primary goal that seeks to be accomplished in the message is providing all patients with free accessibility to essential medicines by ensuring that all patients stick with their prescribed treatments and controlling chronic diseases. Besides, the erosion of corporate encroachment will eventually lead to lowmedication costs, which it turn, makes it easier for families and the local communities to readily afford other necessities in life and improve their well-being. Part Two: How to Share the MessageWhile the provincial and federal legislators might be experts on some issues, it is difficult for a lawmakerto master all matters that are likely to be presented before Parliament. The elected government officials depend on their staff, external specialists as well as input of constituents to represent the populaces of their provinces and territories effectively. Therefore, an appropriate target for the message is a legislator at the provincial, territorial, and national levels who have supported the repeal of the CHA in the last two years. In this regard, nurses can be influential in conveying the single-payer pharmacare through continuing dialogue with elected officials at the provincial, territorial, and national levels to make sure that the lawmakerscomprehend how their decisions have an impact on all constituents. Therefore, nursesare best positioned to explain the different complexities in the delivery of health care, including the impact of free and accessible drugs to all patients. This form of advocacy requires nurses to step beyond their usual practice into a less accustomed politics and policy world at the province, territory, and national level to share this message with the greatest influence. The advocacy ofsuccessful health policyis mainly dependent on the power, will, persistence, timing, efforts, and energy, together with the vital political skills required in the legislative arena to shape and influence health policy now and in the future (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). The consideration that will impact the format, timing, as well as follow-up is building and maintaining strong relationships with these legislators and staff not just contacting them whenever there is pending legislation. It is imperative to cultivate and nurture strong relationships with the legislators as well as staff in a bid to communicate effectively and navigate through the complexities of Parliament. One of the key obstacles is delayed feedback and responses to the message owing to the busy schedules of legislators. But, this can be mitigated through the use of social media by following the representatives to analyze their most important health issues and sharing the message. Here, social media will also provide an opportunity for the families, local communities, and other nurses to also participate in this dialogue to ensure that their voices are heard, too, which enhances the nurses’ negotiation and advocacy skills. Part Three: Lessons LearnedThe primary lesson learnt from the assignment is insight and understanding into how nursing practitioners can be more influential in healthcare policy by recognizing the significance of policymaking in the sector and the nurses’ influence on the processes and, subsequently, improving patients’ outcomes. Today, nurses have a distinctive role beyond the practice setting by influencing through care policy. This is important since by influencing health delivery systems, one fosters and advances the health of the individuals through their lifespans and all social levels. Unfortunately, in the past, nurses have had minimal involvement in the media discussions on policies that affect the delivery of health care to patients due to the absence of awareness, time, derisory skills, resources, minimal opportunities, as well as lackof policy education. In this regard, nurses become more influential through active and constant engagement in policies that have an impact allocation of resources to support the delivery of efficient and affordable healthcare (Traynor, 2013). At the local levels, nurses engage in active politics by taking on leadership positions and contacting legislators about existing and pending laws. At the province and national level, nurses can either join professional organizations that have lobbyists or undertake internships with officials to work on critical issues that affect healthcare.In summation, in a bid to augment the visibility and integrity of the profession, nurses can engage in policy work by influencing the medical practice standards and health processes to guarantee quality and better care today and in the future. ReferencesCanadian Institute for Health Information. (June 27, 2019). Workforce trends of registered nurses in Canada: Nursing in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Health Information. Accessed on November16, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cihi.ca/en/nursing-in-canada-2018Boychuk, G. W., & C.D. Howe Institute. (2012). Grey zones: Emerging issues at the boundaries of the Canada Health Act. Toronto, Ont: C.D. Howe InstituteSullivan, E. J. (2018). Becoming influential: A guide for nurses. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Stanhope, M., & In Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community. Maryland Heights, Missouri: Elsevier Mosby.Traynor, M. (2013). Nursing in context: Policy, politics, profession. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.Wagner, J. I. J. (2018). Leadership and influencing change in nursing. Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press.