What is a Policy Nurse?

In order for any health facility to continue operating properly on a long-term basis, it’s essential for them to operate with consideration to the most recent policy updates regarding healthcare and the public welfare. By keeping up to date with all of the most current public policies and health policies to be established, policy nurses can contribute a great deal of value to their employing facility by giving it greater power to stay current and implement proposed changes if necessary.

The healthcare facility environment is one of ceaseless action and endless details for healthcare providers to pay attention to, which can make it difficult for them to devote their attention to anything other than the appointments at hand and effortless to let things such as policy analysis take a necessary backseat.

With a policy nurse on duty, healthcare providers can continue to contribute the necessary degree of undivided attention to the patients that they spend hours caring for while always having a point of reference on what the latest policies to be announced are.

Education Requirement

The first step to becoming a policy nurse is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After earning their BSN, the next step in the process is to pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Following the NCLEX-RN comes the acquisition of a Masters in Science in Nursing (MSN) through a 10-week residency program. Successful completion of a health policy-focused residency program is the final necessary step to becoming eligible for health policy nurse employment, but if desired, a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) can be acquired as well.


To perform well as a policy nurse, it’s necessary to have an analytical mind with a penchant for detailed evaluation. Policy nurses don’t just simply report on important policies, but are entrusted with the duty of developing effective ways to implement policy compliance into the manner in which the healthcare facility and its providers operate, according to Discover Nursing.

In addition to being discerningly analytical, policy nurses must also be skilled at carrying out high-quality independent research. The different areas that a policy nurse can carry out their research generally won’t be boldly outlined for them, and so their sources of information will essentially fall upon their own proficiency at tracking valuable information sources down and knowing how to identify them.

Core Tasks

A policy nurse’s most important and common priority will be to conduct research on the most recent changes to national laws dictating public policy and healthcare regulations. Based on what the policy nurse learns from their constant research, they can make well-advised proposals for ways that certain policy changes might be improved through a certain alteration of their terms.

Policy nurses will collaborate with one another to develop strong plans for better ways to advocate the kinds of change that their research has indicated as being the best kind of reform. If the policy changes that they advocate are greenlit, policy nurses will need to determine what the most effective ways are to have their suggested changes put into practice. Because policy change implementation can’t happen overnight, policy nurses will oftentimes need to develop long-term plans that allow the changes to be gradually introduced without being too jarring.

Related Resource: What Careers are in Political Science?

Places Of Employment

Policy nurses can apply their skills to a variety of different settings. Some of the areas that policy nurses are found in are provider associations and legislative offices. As the position is strongly rooted in effective research conduction, policy nurses are commonly found occupying roles in dedicated research sectors aimed at health services improvement.

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