Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy

Write a letter to the editor (3–5 double-spaced typed pages) of an academic or professional journal. Your submission should be succinct yet substantive.

Note: Each assessment in this course builds on the work you completed in the previous assessment. Therefore, you must complete the assessments in this course in the order in which they are presented.

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Advocating for new policies is an important aspect of the master’s-prepared nurse. For new policies to be compelling they need to be supported by evidence. Supporting data can be used to illustrate why new policies and interventions are needed to help address a specific health issue. Compelling data can help sway the stakeholders and gain support for your policy.

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Another aspect of advocacy is disseminating new policies and interventions outside of the immediate care environment. This can be done by reaching out to professional organizations as well as academic and professional journals. A letter to the editor is one strategy for disseminating information to a wider audience, and to potentially enlist support throughout the wider professional community.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Design evidence-based advanced nursing care for achieving high-quality population outcomes.
    • Evaluate the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population.
    • Justify why a developed policy will be vital in improving the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population.
  • Competency 2: Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of interprofessional interventions in achieving desired population health outcomes.
    • Analyze the ways in which interprofessional aspects of a developed policy will support efficient and effective achievement of desired outcomes for the target population.
  • Competency 3: Analyze population health outcomes in terms of their implications for health policy advocacy.
    • Analyze how the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population necessitates health policy development and advocacy.
    • Advocate for policy development in other care settings with regard to a specific issue in a target population.
  • Competency 4: Communicate effectively with diverse audiences, in an appropriate form and style, consistent with organizational, professional, and scholarly standards.
    • Communicate in a professional and persuasive manner, writing content clearly and logically with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
    • Integrate relevant sources to support assertions, correctly formatting citations and references using APA style.

Nurses have the opportunity to use their skills and develop programs to keep individuals and communities healthy. Health is complex however, and the nurse needs to possess strong advocacy skills to successfully support a cause or interest. The American Nurses Association’s code of ethics (2015) describes the responsibility of a nurse to include working through and with appropriate stakeholders to advocate for the health of people in and out of the work environment. To be an effective advocate, there are several important abilities a nurse must possess, including problem solving, communication, and influencing others. One way a nurse can advocate to a broader population is through effective letter writing, both to legislators and through the media, such as with editorials and research articles.

Reference

American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/EthicsStandards/CodeofEthicsforNurses/CodeofEthicsForNurses.html

As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.

Assessment 3 will build upon the work you have done for your previous two assessments. For this assessment, you will be writing a letter to the editor of an academic or professional journal as a means to advocate for adoption or development of policies that will improve the quality of care and outcomes around your chosen health care issue and vulnerable population.

  • Looking at your health care issue from a prevention standpoint, what are the relevant levels of prevention?
    • What would be the benefits and challenges of applying a specific level of prevention to your chosen issue and population?
    • How might one or more approaches to prevention improve the care and outcomes?
      • How could your policy be leveraged, or revised, to support the relevant levels of prevention?
  • What are relevant strategies that you could use to help advocate for the policy you are proposing?
    • How could these strategies help you advocate for your policy proposal?
    • How does evidence from the literature support the benefits of your proposed policy?
      • How does citing evidence help lend credibility to your advocacy?
  • What academic or professional journal would be the best forum to advocate for your policy?
    • Why is your chosen journal an appropriate forum?
    • Which advocacy strategies would be most effective in this forum?
    • How will you craft your message to best appeal to the likely audience of your chosen journal?

Scenario

Throughout this course, you have focused on a specific health issue occurring within a specific population. You researched position papers regarding this health concern, and you developed a health policy proposal to positively impact the health of the affected individuals. It is now time to reach a greater audience regarding your policy proposal.

Instructions

Develop a letter to the editor of a peer-reviewed academic or professional nursing journal based on the policy proposal that you created for Assessment 2. Choose from one of the journals on the Ultimate List of Nursing Journals (in the Resources) and go to that journal’s Web site to find out the requirements for submitting a letter to the editor, such as format requirements, topics, and word counts. Make sure you select a nursing journal that covers the topic about which you are going to write. If you want to use another journal that is not on this list, please make sure the journal does address health care, because this is the purpose of the assessment.

The goal of your letter is to be informative about the policy that you developed for Assessment 2, while also being persuasive about the need for and benefit of similar policies in other health care settings. The bullet points below correspond to the grading criteria in the scoring guide. Be sure that your submission addresses all of them. You may also want to read the Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy Scoring Guide and Guiding Questions: Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy document to better understand how each grading criterion will be assessed.

  • Evaluate the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population.
    • Look back to the data or scenario you used in Assessment 1 to address this criterion.
  • Analyze how the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population necessitates health policy development and advocacy.
  • Justify why a developed policy will be vital in improving the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population.
  • Advocate for policy development in other care settings with regard to a specific issue in a target population.
  • Analyze the ways in which interprofessional aspects of a developed policy will support efficient and effective achievement of desired outcomes for the target population.
  • Communicate in a professional and persuasive manner, writing content clearly and logically with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Integrate relevant sources to support assertions, correctly formatting citations and references using current APA style (or the journal’s preferred style).

Example Assessment: You may use the assessment example, linked in the Assessment Example section of the Resources, to give you an idea of what a Proficient or higher rating on the scoring guide would look like.

Additional Requirements

The submission requirements for your editorial will depend on the journal you choose. To find out the requirements, go to the journal’s Web site. There should be a section regarding submissions that will address how to format letters to the editor, and whether there is a word count limit (there usually is a limit).

  • If the journal does not have submission guidelines for the number of resources required, use 3–5 sources.
  • To be sure that your instructor knows the submission and formatting requirements for your letter, include the journal’s guidelines on a separate page at the end of the document you submit for this assessment.
  • Length of submission: 3–5 double-spaced typed pages. Your submission should be succinct yet substantive.

Grading Rubric:

1-  Evaluate the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population. 

Passing Grade:  Evaluates the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population. Identifies knowledge gaps, unknowns, missing information, unanswered questions, or areas of uncertainty (where further information could improve the evaluation). 

2-  Analyze how the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population necessitates health policy development and advocacy. 

Passing Grade:  Analyzes how the current state of the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population necessitates health policy development and advocacy. Identifies areas of ambiguity or uncertainty where additional information could help to improve clarity. 

3- Justify why a developed policy will be vital in improving the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population. 

Passing Grade:  Justifies why a developed policy will be vital in improving the quality of care and outcomes for a specific issue in a target population. Impartially considers other perspectives. 

4-  Advocate for policy development in other care settings with regard to a specific issue in a target population. 

Passing Grade:  Advocates for policy development in other care settings with regard to a specific issue in a target population. Acknowledges potential challenges to policy development. 

5-  Analyze the ways in which interprofessional aspects of a developed policy will support efficient and effective achievement of desired outcomes for the target population. 

Passing Grade:  Analyzes the ways in which interprofessional aspects of a developed policy will support efficient and effective achievement of desired outcomes for the target population. Identifies areas of ambiguity or uncertainty where additional information could help to improve clarity. 

6-  Communicate in a professional and persuasive manner, writing content clearly and logically with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. 

Passing Grade:  Communicates in a professional and persuasive manner, writing content clearly and logically with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Identifies specific strategies or approaches used to ensure clear communication. 

7-  Integrate relevant sources to support assertions, correctly formatting citations and references. 

Passing Grade:  Integrates relevant sources to support assertions, correctly formatting citations and references. Citations are free from all errors. 

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