Online Program

Health in All Policies: A House of Cards: Teaching Students to be Politically Astute

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Melody Eaton, PhD, MBA, RN, CNE, Department of Nursing, James Madison University, Broadway, VA
Maria deValpine, RN MSN PhD, School of Nursing, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Julie Sanford, DNS, RN, School of Nursing, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Background: In 2014, the Virginia legislative assembly resembled the House of Cards TV series in a fight that eventually denied healthcare for 400,000 Virginians in the health coverage gap. In a complex and sometimes contentious healthcare environment, it is critical that health professionals be politically astute in their advocacy for healthcare for all. The purpose of this study is to determine if a health policy summit impacts the political astuteness of nursing, health administration and social work students.

Methods: Eighty-two interprofessional students attended a ½ day summit, entitled Mind the Gap, to propose solutions to provide health care to those without coverage.  Students were enrolled in a health policy or other course that taught health policy concepts. Political Astuteness was measured using the 40-item Political Astuteness Inventory (Cronbach’s alpha .81; Clark, 2008) which measures components of political awareness, knowledge and engagement. Pre and Post data were analyzed via SPSS using descriptive frequencies and paired t-test comparison. Team Based Learning strategies were used to facilitate discussion and proposals for solutions to the coverage gap.

Results. Student groups developed innovative proposals and selected 3 for presentation to the state legislators who attended the summit. Students demonstrated a significant improvement in political astuteness (t -2.78, 95% CI -5 to -0.8, p = 0.007).

Conclusions. Student learning is enhanced and political astuteness significantly improves using interprofessional activities to advocate for healthcare access. Students must be inspired and taught to work passionately to advocate so that all will have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the impact of a health policy summit on the political astuteness of nursing, social work and health administration students.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, Accessibility

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-founder of the Health Policy Collaborative for James Madison University and a co-researcher for the study on healthcare professional undergraduate student political astuteness. I served as Chair for the Legislative Coalition of Virginia Nurses for two terms. I have studied the effectiveness of home health care related to a change in health policy. I am published on these related topics in The Journal of Nursing Administration, and Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.