Analysis of Communication Skills
Chamberlain College of Nursing-NR-506 Health Care Policy
Analysis of Communication Skills (graded)
It is vital to communicate effectively in policy and politics. Analyze two communication skills that are critical to implementing your policy-priority issue.
Mason, D. J., Gardner, D. B., Outlaw, F. H., & Oâ€™Grady, E. T. (2016). Policy & politics in nursing and healthcare (7th ed.). Retrieved from
ï¿½ Chapter 40: Contemporary Issues in Government
ï¿½ Chapter 42: Is There a Nurse in the House? The Nurses in the U.S. Congress
ï¿½ Chapter 43: An Overview of Legislation and Regulation
ï¿½ Chapter 44: Lobbying Policymakers: Individual and Collective Strategies
ï¿½ Chapter 45: TAKING ACTION: An Insiderâ€™s View of Lobbying United States Congress
ï¿½ Chapter 46: The American Voter and the Electoral Process
ï¿½ Chapter 55: TAKING ACTION: Nurse, Educator, and Legislator: My Journey to the Delaware Senate
Laxalt, N. (2009). Can you hear me now? Guidelines for effective communication with legislators. Nevada Information, 18(1), 10. link to article
Stewart, M. & Deaton, L. (2014). United our voices can make a difference. Pelican News, 70(3), 6. link to article
Page or paragraph numbers must be included with quotes per APA. See APA re how to format references and in-text citations i.e. capitalization issues and use of the
ampersand versus the word (â€œandâ€).
Including at least one in-text citation and matching reference.
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Communicating Your Issue
During your basic nursing education, you probably completed a course in communication and also encountered therapeutic communication during your psychiatric and mental
health studies. Additionally, many schools require a public-speaking course. Consider yourself lucky if you had solid foundational courses in communication. Effective
communication, such as conflict management, is a learned skill that must be consciously and consistently practiced.
Regardless of the setting, effective communication skills set you apart as a polished professional; there is never a second chance to make a first impression!
Practicing the art of politics at any level involves interacting with diverse and often sophisticated professionals. Your ability to be successful in meeting your
goals depends upon your ability to interact effectively. Membership in professional organizations is often the first step to develop important networking and
communication skills. Practicing basic skills, and practicing them often, is essential to become comfortable and fluid in communication. Continuing to push yourself
outside of your comfort zone and constantly challenging yourself promotes personal growth and allows for experiential learning.
Review the basic tips for success in the next two paragraphs and consider them in the context of your legislative visit. As you read through the tips, think about the
following questions: How will you prepare? How will you introduce yourself and your issue? How will you communicate your story? How will you ask and recommend a course
of action? How will you discuss the expectations of the policymaker? How will you end the meeting? What are your follow-up plans?
Doing your homework before attending a meeting or function is essential! Some knowledge about who will attend, as well as basic icebreakers for conversations, will
help ease the initial discomfort associated with such functions and meetings. Remember that effective listening is a key communication skill. Always have a ready
source of business cards available to leave after your meeting. In addition, be aware of cultural differences that can derail even the most astute professional.
Lastly, donâ€™t forget to take the opportunity to show your appreciation with a follow-up message of thanks.
Itâ€™s vital to be aware of basic etiquette with regard to communication involving cell phones, e-mail, faxes, Twitter, Facebook, and other electronic communication.
Depending upon the level of formality involved in the function or occasion, there may be a set of preconceived protocols. Understanding and knowing various protocols
in advance will save you from appearing less than polished and potentially damaging your credibility. It is also good to be mindful that the news media may be present,
particularly at formal events; occasionally, a celebrity may also attend an event. It is important to know how to approach the celebrity about a possible endorsement
for your issue while not overstepping boundaries. The confidence and courage to participate in the policy-making process will increase with experience and growth.
Communicating Your Message
The following tutorial will provide you with some general guidelines for communicating your advocacy message regardless of the target audience or setting. It may also
be useful in completing the Assignment 2 Public-Talk Video which is due Week 5.
Click on the link below to review the tutorial.
Communicating Your Message
Overview of Legislation and Regulation
Understanding the basics of the political process may require some time spent reviewing the processes involved in policy making. Accredited baccalaureate nursing
programs include leadership and professional activism in the curriculum. In most programs, senior nursing students are required to visit their state capitol for Nurses
Day at the legislature. During this event, student nurses are exposed to the actual legislative process, and they have the opportunity to network with legislators,
various leaders, and other nurses and get a hands-on experience relative to this process. Students are also required to participate in some type of policy issue at a
basic level. Most students select a workplace policy or procedure that is more practice oriented or includes private policy. With this exposure, students will be
encouraged to engage in the general process of healthcare policy, including joining a professional organization.
In reviewing the basic U.S. political process, a recall of what you learned in high school government class may serve as a good place to start. Review of the various
types of bills and the processes involved in their introduction, tracking, and ultimate fate is vitally important for every nurse to know and understand.
Understanding the dimensions of political actions and motives serves as the framework in which these processes take place. Legislators introduce bills or support
issues for several reasons: (a) to repay favors to constituents, (b) to go on record with their position, (c) to preserve their individual political reputation, or (d)
to support a particular special interest group. It pays for nurses to know the background, interests, and committee assignments of their policymakers, regardless of
the level of government.
As important as it is to understand the actual policy-making processes, it also is important to be familiar with the various types of committees and subcommittees, as
well as the differences between state and federal processes. What are the names and affiliations of the various congressional committee members? Who serves as the
chair and ranking member of a particular committee? Who is the designated staff member to whom you need to address correspondence? What is the critical distinction
between the authorization and appropriation process? Funding for a bill that has been authorized will determine whether or not it comes to fruition.
Any bill introduced in Congress faces a limit of 2 years in which to pass or die in committee. Although anyone can have an idea for a bill, only a member of Congress
can introduce it. Do you have an idea for a bill? How can you find out if it has been addressed previously? If it was previously addressed, how can you learn about the
outcome? What about tracking a current bill? Thousands of bills are introduced every year, but few actually make it to the formal decision-making stage. Even fewer are
eventually signed into law. During the process of hearings, markups, and reports, many events can occur to defeat the bill, including allowing the bill to languish.
This process is influenced by special interest groups, elected officials, professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA), and others. Each
of these entities has its own interest in the issue, along with other diverse and competing interests.
Take a look at the C-Span website to get a feel for this overall process, and click on the Resources tab for state, local, and even international legislative
processes. Consider differences in local versus state and federal-legislative processes. How are they different? How are they the same? The Library of Congressâ€™s
website, located at http://thomas.loc.gov, offers complete listings of bills that can be searched for a complete report; each state has a similar website. These
websites also contain contact information for the various policymakers involved in each piece of legislation.
Above is a diagram outlining the processes involved in creating legislation. Note the left side, which indicates how nurses can be involved at each step.
One of the most significant roles of government regulation is the interpretation of law. Laypeople often fail to realize that the legislation that is passed rarely
contains enough clear language for implementation and enforcement of provisions contained within that law. It is one thing to pass a law, but the accompanying
regulations can make all the difference in how the law translates to programs and services. This fact is especially important to healthcare legislation and impacts the
practice of nursing both directly and indirectly.
The Regulatory Process Specific to Healthcare
Although some regulations can be developed or amended without legislation, some new or amended laws require regulations as a result of the details involved. This
process involves due diligence and takes time.
Administrative agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration at the federal level, are charged with enacting, enforcing, and adjudicating their own rules and
regulations; rules are used to carry out the various regulations. An important necessity of this process involves the publishing of draft regulations. Commenting on
draft regulations is one of the most critically important actions nurses can take in the whole of the legislative process; look at the regulatory process figure above
and note where this occurs.
The regulatory process demands the specification of definitions, eligibility, benefits, standards, and authority issues. In essence, the regulatory process is where
the details are all spelled out. Although law impacts regulations, the regulatory process involves and impacts consumers, special interest groups, professional
organizations, and third-party payers, so nurses must track and participate in the regulatory process. An example of regulatory issues currently impacting nursing at
the state level is oversight and scope-of-practice, particularly for advanced practice nurses. Political activity ensures that you have a say in your own practice.
Strategies for Lobbying Policymakers
If you have ever worked with your institutionâ€™s administrators to address internal policies or procedures, you may be a lobbyist!
If you have ever written to your local, state, or federal legislator about an issue you feel strongly about, you may be a lobbyist!
If you have ever presented a decision brief or direct testimony to policymakers about your professional organizationâ€™s stance on a particular issue, you may be a
Too often, nurses think that lobbyists are paid professionals who make their livings cozening up to politicians in the interest of their respective organizations. We
tend to think in terms of big corporations and special interest groups and their highly paid and highly placed professional lobbyists. Remember, the American Nurses
Association (ANA) uses lobbyists, as does the American Medical Association (AMA). Because youâ€™re a nurse, you are part of a special interest group that utilizes
lobbyists (ANA). Are you one of them and did not realize it? The ANA, like many other professional organizations, posts position statements regarding various issues on
its website, along with sample letters or issue briefs to assist nurses with framing their arguments in favor of, or opposition to, a particular bill. Remember, the
ANA has a state-level organization, and both websites contain information helpful in connecting with legislators and tracking various pieces of legislation important
to nurses. For hot button issues, the website will send out e-mail alerts that contain links for locating individual state lawmakers, as well as example briefs and
People frequently channel their personal grief and energy into productive outlets for change. Activists can be born out of grief, as in the case of the founder of
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who lost a child to a drunk driver. Similarly, nurses often become involved in the political process when their own passions about a
particular issue are ignited.
Nurses are perfectly positioned to witness and participate in the daily issues that affect the lives of individuals. The choice must be made: Continue to feel
victimized by a chaotic healthcare system or push yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to instigate change. Leaving the security of the practice arena for
the less familiar arena of laws and regulations around healthcare issues need not be overwhelming, but it must begin. We all can do our individual part and come
together as advocates working toward a common goal.
Preparation for lobbying involves work. You must know your issue in great detailï¿½do your homework. Utilize the resources that are already available to you via websites,
such as the ANA or your specialty organization. Be sure to know what level of policymaker to approach, whether itâ€™s a local, city, or county policymaker or a state or
federal legislator. Lawmakers at the local, state, and especially the federal, levels have staff members who are directly responsible for working with lobbyists. If
you are dealing with a federal-level issue, ascertain whether you need to contact the memberâ€™s personal office staff or committee staff. One of the benefits associated
with working with your state and local representatives is that as policymakers, they must be accountable to their constituents. In addition, local lawmakers are more
intimately involved in and knowledgeable of issues in their own backyards. It is also easier to build relationships with state and local officials because you are
personally networking with them on their home turf. In most cases, they are also more accessible and can be contacted more directly.
Select an avenue for your lobbying efforts. Depending upon your particular issue and the timing involved, consider the most effective strategy for accomplishing your
goals because a well-planned and well-organized strategy can make all the difference. Which approach is best at a particular time, and why? Put your plan into action
and follow up. For instance, a personal, handwritten, and carefully crafted letter sometimes carries more weight than a simple e-mail, but each of these methods can be
important and worthwhile, depending upon the issue, timing, and your overall objective. Always remember that policymakers depend primarily on the political process in
order to address important issues and chart a course of action that works best for various individuals with conflicting proposals, demands, and values. If youâ€™re doing
what is needed to educate and enlighten a policymaker, you are effectively advocating for your issue.
How does it feel to be empowered and part of the system? Have you already been involved in policy making without realizing it? Whatâ€™s your current stage of
professional development relative to healthcare policy and politics, and where do you want to take it? Whatâ€™s your plan? You have identified a policy-priority issue.
Now, construct a realistic and viable strategy for approaching your issue to meet your goals. Nurses are consistently ranked the most trustworthy of professionals; we
are also experts in our areas. People like and trust nurses. We need to leverage these assets!
Now that you have a deeper understanding of effective communication, policy-making procedures, and lobbying strategies, it is time to prepare to meet with a
policymaker. Next week, we will carry all these steps further and examine the U.S. healthcare system in general, the ways in which you can influence governmental
processes, and how you can effectively deal with policy changes in your own workplace. So take a good look at your identified policy priority and strategize!
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