Visibility of nursing in policy documents related to health care priorities
AuthorTønnessen, Siri; Christiansen, Karin; Hjaltadottir, Ingibjörg; Leino-Kilpi, Helena; Scott, Philomena Anne; Suhonen, Riita; Öhlén, Joakim; Halvorsen, Kristin
Background - Nurses at all levels in health care organisations set priorities on a daily basis. Such prioritization entails allocation of scarce public resources with implications for patients, nurses and society. Although prioritization in health care has been on the political agenda for many years, prioritization in nursing seems to be obscure in policy documents.
Methodology - Each author searched for relevant documents from their own country. Text analyses were conducted of the included documents concerning nursing visibility.
Results - All the Nordic countries have published documents articulating values and criteria relating to health care priorities. Nursing is seldom explicitly mentioned but rather is included and implicit in discussions of health care prioritization in general.
Conclusion - There is a need to make priorities in nursing visible to prevent missed nursing care and ensure fair allocation of limited resources.
Implications for nursing management - To highlight nursing priorities, we suggest that the fundamental need for nursing care and what this implies for patient care in different organisational settings be clarified and that policymakers explicitly include this information in national policy documents.