Using Theory to Organize Nursing Political Action Plans

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 3:50 PM

Tawna Cooksey-James, PhD, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Yi-Hui Lee, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
Ali Salman, PhD, ND, RN
School of Nursing, Brandon University, Brandon, MB, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to envision their own political action plans based on the four spheres of Masonís conceptual framework.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to apply the four stages of Cohen's theory to their own political action plans.

Purpose: With changes accompanying the new health care reform and other nation-wide issues affecting nursing and health care, nurses must become more politically aware and active to advance the profession of nursing and improve health care. The realm of nursing is no longer limited to the patient’s bedside and nurses are finding themselves increasingly at the table with a need to understand the political process and the accompanying mechanisms to implement changes. 

Methods: Using learner-centered teaching principles, a health policy and politics class was taught to 35 graduate nursing students.  Assignments included projected political action plans at 1-year and 5-years based on the four spheres from Mason's conceptual framework.  Using a qualitative descriptive design, content analysis was done on the activities in the 1-year and 5-year plans using Cohen et al’s (1996) model on the stages of nursing’s political development.

Results: In the 1-year plan most activities were at the “Buy-In” to “Self-Interest” Stages, whereas the 5-year plan indicated stages of “Increasing Political Sophistication” with a few students “Leading the Way.”  More politically active students catapulted to higher levels, whereas novice students in the political arena increased to one of the first two stages.  Exemplars of projected activities will be presented. 

Conclusion: Mason's conceptual framework was effective as an organizational tool for formulating the political action plans. And Cohen’s theory was an effective means of determining the stage of development for the political activities projected by these graduate nursing students.  Findings indicate the need for curriculum content in nursing educational programs that not only focus on nursing and health care issues, but on political action plans that can project the student into effectively addressing these issues in today’s world.