NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation

NURS 6050 The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation

The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation

Health policies at state and federal levels are an essential component of effective care delivery and nurses play a core role in their evaluation. Nurses understand policies so that they enhance care delivery and improve interventions that lead to positive outcomes for patients during the care delivery process. Nurses can also employ their knowledge, experiences, and expertise to enhance the efficiency of existing policies and even those proposed within their practice setting. The tobacco tax is an example of a state healthcare policy with a critical impact on health populations, especially smokers and those affected by smoking (Billings et al., 2019). Tobacco use increases the risk of different chronic conditions like cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Increasing taxes on tobacco products focuses on reducing the use of the product and thus improving the health and well-being of individuals while reducing the associated burden of treatment diseases related to smoking.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) (2021) considers the use of tobacco tax policies as an effective strategy to discourage the use of tobacco and associated products like cigarettes, particularly among young people and vulnerable populations. Raising taxes on tobacco products implies that the prices of cigarettes will increase and make it expensive to smoke or use (Sheikh et al., 2021). This leads to a decline in habitual smokers. Besides, the policy allows the government to increase its revenue and such resources can be used to fund productive and health activities like education and health care services provision.

Every state in the US determines the level of taxes on tobacco products based on its main purpose and goals. Evaluating this policy requires one to measure the decline in tobacco use after its implementation. A significant reduction in the number of users implies that the policy is effective. However, when changes happen, it implies that the policy lacks efficacy and requires a subsequent review and necessary alterations to meet expected needs.

Social determinants of health (SDOHs) are conditions that influence one’s aging, education, neighborhood, access to healthcare, and physical aspects as well as employment. These determinants can affect policies, including tobacco tax policy (Billings et al., 2019). For instance, thousands of Americans make a living through employment in the tobacco industry. Again, the industry contributes tax revenues that government uses to fund other programs like education and healthcare. Therefore, a decline in revenues due to stringent tax policy means that many will lose employment while state and federal governments lose revenues for other services. The implication is that there should be a balance between the inherent benefits of the product and the health of the population. If it costs more to treat tobacco-associated conditions like lung cancer compared to the economic benefits of the product, then policy evaluation should mean more taxes to discourage the use of the product.


Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2019). Teaching in nursing e-book: A Guide for Faculty.

Elsevier Health Sciences.

Sheikh, Z. D., Branston, J. R., & Gilmore, A. B. (2021). Tobacco industry pricing strategies in

response to Excise Tax Policies: A systematic review. Tobacco Control, 1–12.

World Health Organization. (2021). WHO technical manual on tobacco tax policy and

administration. Geneva: World Health Organization.


The Role of the RN/APRN in Policy Evaluation

In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making. A critical component of any policy design is evaluation of the results. How comfortable are you with the thought of becoming involved with such matters?

Some nurses may be hesitant to get involved with policy evaluation. The preference may be to focus on the care and well-being of their patients; some nurses may feel ill-equipped to enter the realm of policy and political activities. However, as you have examined previously, who better to advocate for patients and effective programs and polices than nurses? Already patient advocates in interactions with doctors and leadership, why not with government and regulatory agencies?

In this Discussion, you will reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.



Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.


To Prepare:

  • In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making.
  • Review the Resources and reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.

By Day 3 of Week 9

Select an existing healthcare program or policy evaluation or choose one of interest to you.

Review community, state, or federal policy evaluation and reflect on the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the program or policy described.

Post an evaluation topic and a brief description of the evaluation. Discuss how social determinants impact this issue.

By Day 6 of Week 9

Respond to at least two of your colleagues* on two different days by suggesting additional opportunities or recommendations for overcoming the challenges described by your colleagues.

*Note: Throughout this program, your fellow students are referred to as colleagues.

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