Political Competence

According to the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, political competence is “putting to use abilities, viewpoints, and values necessary for successful political engagement” (Kostas-Polston, Thanavaro, Arvidson, & Taub, 2015, p. 11).  For nurses, this entails using their voices to advocate for things such as patient safety, safe working environments and having appropriate protective equipment necessary to perform a skills in patient care. This may be done locally, at the state level, or up to the national level.  Much like the nursing process, the political process for policy making uses four steps; recognize and identify a problem, formulate policy, implement the policy change and lastly monitor and evaluate the result (Patton, Zalon, & Ludwick, 2019).

A major political battle going on across the United States for Advanced Practice Nurses is the limited scope of practice for Nurse Practitioners (NPs).  Currently only 27 states allow full practice authority to Nurse Practitioners (State Practice Environment, 2021).  While NPs are providing primary care to cover physician shortages, they are not granted the same autonomy in many states.  They are also reimbursed much less than physicians while providing the same amount of care.  Emergency authorizations were extended during the COVID-19 battle to ensure the infected population had adequate care, hopefully these pass on to a permanent solution.

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The American Association of Nurse Practitioner website advocacy page is a great resources for national and state issues that are being discussed. Another issue discussed is that while being allowed to care for patients in skilled nursing facilities, NPs are not authorized to perform admitting examinations, nor initial certification for hospice services.





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