A problem that requires intervention from the government for an impactful, legislative resolution is the first stage in creating a policy. After a policy is established, it goes through several stages from inception to conclusion and includes agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination. Policymaking is intended to solve problems and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Policymakers want and need to hear from constituents who are impacted by their decisions and usually divide issues among their staff members, so it is important to not overlook the staff in relationship building. Nurses are in an excellent position to provide information about issues that affect their world, their patients, and their communities. Having personal ties to policymakers allows us to share our message and help them understand our issues. Once a strong, working relationship is established, policymakers will look to you more often, and ask for your input as more issues come forward. By establishing yourself as a reliable information source, you improve your access to the policymaker. (NCWE, 2022).
Online communication, technology, and social media are enhancing the importance of quality relationships and mutual understanding between policymakers and stakeholders in the policy decision-making process. Policymakers rely on the satisfaction of their citizens which is impacted by their performance and service, and their ability to listen to and address the needs and concerns of their stakeholders (Sungkyung, 2022). While there are numerous examples of how nurses advocate daily, being political is rarely understood and is most often seen as less than desirable due to the perceived increasingly uncivil and negative world of politicians. These negative perceptions may cause nurses to view expressing a political voice as upsetting the apple cart (Patton, 2014).
Education is key to addressing barriers such as negative beliefs about policymakers and information on how building relationships will help promote issues that affect nurses. To go about building a relationship with a policymaker is similar to cultivating friendships: by being friendly, personal, and helpful. Becoming a useful and trustworthy source with sound information and insight, and contributing personal time are steps to strengthen the relationship. Personal visits, letters, phone calls, email, and other forms of communication are very important when they come from constituents who are well-known, highly regarded, and have gone out of their way to be helpful in a variety of ways. Although building relationships takes time and careful effort, a strong personal relationship is the best means of influencing legislative decision-making and is one of the most effective ways to shape the thinking of those who decide public policy (Smenet, 2022).
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