What is a Health Policy Nurse?
Health policy nurses seek to enact change in health care on a wider scale by influencing public policy that governs health care systems. Health policy can impact society by defining health care issues within a community and coming up with ways to minimize or alleviate those issues, as well as by setting standards which health care providers must meet to ensure quality of care. By influencing public policy, health policy nurses aim to increase the overall health of the public and to make health care more effective and affordable for all.
|Educational Requirements||RN license; master's degree (MSN) and/or certificate in health policy|
|Job Skills||Communication, leadership, critical thinking, research, knowledge of and interest in public policy concerning health care systems|
|Median Salary (2019)||$87,138 (clinical nurse specialists-CNS)**|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||15% job growth (registered nurses)*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Payscale.com
Health policy nurses typically hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Oftentimes, MSN degree programs may require you to hold an active RN license and have relevant experience as a practicing nurse. Additionally, many health policy nurses complete residency programs at government agencies or other non-government organizations concerned with health policy.
Some schools also offer certificate programs in nursing health policy or master's degrees that specialize in health policy nursing.
Health policy nurses need a wide variety of skills. For example, they must be proficient researchers in order to remain well-versed in current health care policy. In addition, it's important that health policy nurses be skilled at analysis and critical thinking, so that they can find areas in current policy that are lacking and propose solutions to fix the problem. Health policy nurses should be skilled at communications and writing so that they can effectively convey their solutions to policymakers or others involved in the legislation they are hoping to influence.
Health policy nurses must also be leaders. They are tasked with proactively identifying gaps in health care policy, and at times may need to lead the efforts to bring attention to an issue and work with other policymakers, nurses, or organizations to come up with a solution.
Career Outlook and Salary
Health policy nurses may work for the government at either the state or federal level, or for non-governmental organizations that dedicate their work to influencing health legislation.
Health policy nurses may be considered as a type of advanced practice registered nurse called a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). Payscale.com listed a median salary for clinical nurse specialists in 2019 of $87,138. The career field of registered nursing in general is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is considered faster than average, partially due to the rapid growth in the aging population of the United States, which will result in larger numbers of people needing continued health care.
Below is information on related careers that those interested in becoming a health policy nurse may like to consider: