Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Clinical Doctorate

College or School




Program or Major

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Degree Name


First Advisor

Marjorie Godfrey


Background: Nurses have been engaged in public policy since the inception of the profession. Academicians and thought leaders recognize the importance of nurses engaging in public policy to improve health and healthcare. Nurses are also the largest healthcare group and the most trusted profession for twenty years, yet they are minimally represented in the state and federal legislature. Nurses possess a skill set that is directly transferable to the policy arena such as listening and communicating effectively, leading by inspiring a shared vision, applying evidence-based research, and collaborating and building relationships to achieve a common goal. Locally, the New Hampshire Nurses Association has been successful in recruiting volunteers, and generating enthusiasm to engage nurses in public policy work with limited success measured by nurses giving testimony, calling legislators, and writing letters to the editor. The purpose of the project was to design and test several interventions to establish a sustainable, repeatable, evidence-based process to increase engagement of nurses in public policy.

Methods: A literature search was conducted to develop best practice competencies for nurses to engage in public policy. Data collection was conducted through a needs assessment tool (survey) based on the competencies pre and post interventions to assess gaps in three areas: knowledge, skills and attributes needed for nurses to engage in public policy. A Clinical Learning Program consisting of three voice-over PowerPoint® education modules was developed based on the competencies and offered to participants as well as 1:1 mentoring sessions provided by the principal investigator.

Interventions: A convenience sample of nurses were invited to participate in three interventions: needs assessment tool (survey), clinical learning program, and or mentoring sessions.

Results: The project developed a needs assessment tool (survey) of the knowledge, skills and attributes based on best practices of competencies needed for nurses to engage in public policy. This assessment tool has broad generalizability to any group of nurse leaders interested in understanding the baseline of the knowledge, skills, and attributes and building capacity needed for nurses to engage in public policy. The extent to which the clinical learning program and mentoring can increase engagement of nurses in public policy cannot be established due to the small sample size of participants who engaged in these three interventions.

Conclusions: The nursing process is the essential core of nursing practice which is directly applicable to increasing engagement of nurses in public policy. The needs assessment tool (survey) based on competencies recognized by multiple nurse leaders, authors, and policy experts, identifies gaps in knowledge, skills and attributes nurses need to engage in public policy. Nurse leaders, authors and policy experts also agree that nursing skills are directly transferrable to the policy arena. The clinical learning program and mentoring interventions will require further study with larger samples to demonstrate internal validity to increase engagement of nurses in public policy. Nurses have an opportunity to transform health and healthcare if they can grow a critical mass of nurses who are competent to engage in public policy as part of their professional role.

Included in

Other Nursing Commons