The healthcare topic that will be discussed in this paper is the concern of smoking in public parks, as well as the effects of second- hand smoke on children of all ages. This concern will be presented to the city elected official, with the proposal of rules and regulations regarding smoking in parks being put in place. The contents of this paper will include the overview of healthcare policy, identification of selected healthcare policy concern, description of student-identified solution to the selected healthcare policy concern, identification of the elected official and the conclusion.
Overview of Healthcare Policy
Healthcare policy is defined as measurements taken on a local, state or national level, in order to promote and better public health. The duty of implementing healthcare policies in order to promote public health is established in the United States Constitution. The health policy includes organizing, providing financial means and delivering healthcare services to the public (Acuff, 2017). According to Nickitas (2016), health policy is promoted by individuals who step up to be the leaders and therewith take a part in decision making. Healthcare policy implications related to the profession of nursing are also related to politics, as ability to vote is one of the most vital parts of the political process. One in forty- five registered voters, is a nurse, which is an indication that one nurse can make a difference in the world of healthcare, on a local as well as federal level (Nickitas, 2016).
According to Burke (2016), in order to be influential in their profession, nurses must believe that they have what it takes, to make a difference in the world of nursing and the healthcare delivery policy. Through implementation of healthcare policy, nurses have the ability to implement positive changes and assure a better quality of care for the patients. To be influential in implementing healthcare policies, also involves being able to make choices. Nurses posses the education and the experience it takes to be able to make a change in healthcare policy. Some ways that nurses can impact the healthcare policy include being familiar with how policy is developed, find who is taking part in policy development and contact them, and most importantly attend policy meetings (Burke, 2016).
In the healthcare profession, the role of advocacy is to ensure access to care, address health inequities and therewith influence and change to the health policy. In order to be an efficient advocate who can impact the healthcare policy, one must be familiar with factors that contribute to health inequities. Many healthcare professionals and educators agree that they are the voice and advocate for their patients. With that being said, many educational programs were implemented with the goal of addressing advocacy (Hubinette, Dobson, Scott, & Sherbino, 2017).
When it comes to nursing, it is very well known that advocacy is planted in the foundation of our profession, as we are our patient’s voice. The advance practice nurses are educated and trained to provide independent and/ or collaborative quality care to their patients. Advocacy is a vital part of an advance practice nurse’s job, as they operate in collaboration with other healthcare providers who have the ability to influence the health environment.
Identification of Selected Healthcare Policy Concern
The selected healthcare concern is smoking in public parks, in the city of Peoria in Arizona and the health effects of second- hand smoke on children. According to City of Peoria (2018), currently there are no rules or regulations put in place in regards to smoking in public parks. The most vulnerable population group impacted by smoking in public places such as parks and playgrounds, are children of all ages and also many adolescents. By taking my own children to the park almost on a daily basis, I have the opportunity to see many adolescents in the parks as well (City of Peoria, 2018).
Tobacco smoking at city of Peoria parks in Arizona occurs on a daily basis, as there are no rules and regulations prohibiting smoking. According to Merianos, Odar Stough, Nabors, & Mahabee-Gittens (2018), there is a very close connection and incidence of increased morbidity among children, due to tobacco exposure. Some of the most common diseases seen as the result of tobacco smoke exposure include respiratory infections, asthma exacerbations, bronchitis and sudden infant death syndrome. From 2011 to 2012, 24.7 million children in United States were exposed to tobacco/ second- hand smoke. Illnesses related to tobacco smoke exposure, are preventable childhood morbidities and also cause an increase in health- care services provided for that reason.
According to Merianos, Odar Stough, Nabors, & Mahabee-Gittens (2018), a study was performed in order to distinguish the pattern of health- care services used between children who are tobacco smoke exposed and those children who are not. The study was aimed at children ages zero to seventeen. The hypothesis was, that the children who live with smokers, utilize health- care services more often, than those children who do not live with smokers. The study and research performed, indicated as hypothesized, that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke, visit the health- care clinics and emergency departments more often than others, and that tobacco smoke exposure is a vital factor in increased health- care services use (Merianos, Odar Stough, Nabors, & Mahabee-Gittens, 2018).
According to Al- Sayed & Ibrahim, smoking is known to contain many different harmful chemicals that impact the human body with its adverse effects. Passive smoking causes many different respiratory illnesses in children including asthma and bronchitis, as well as a decline in growth and neurological disorders. In order to promote the health of children and smoking cessation, one must first be able to understand different illnesses caused by tobacco smoke exposure (Al-Sayed & Ibrahim, 2014).
According to Roberts, Wagler, & Carr (2017), there is a great amount of evidence that second- hand smoke in public places, causes numerous health risks. The numerous health risks of second- hand smoke in public remain underappreciated. Exposure to environmental smoke can cause many different respiratory illnesses as well as greater incidence of child pneumonia. The evidence linked to harmful health effects caused due to exposure to environmental smoke, would have a bigger impact if awareness is raised through public education. Studies and evidence performed related to the topic of environmental smoke, can aid in helping the public understand the seriousness it poses for their health (Roberts, Wagler, & Carr, 2017).
While the general public is at risk of harmful effects caused by environmental smoke, the children are the most vulnerable ones, especially because they do not choose themselves to be around smokers. As parents and care givers, it is our duty to protect the health of our children and those in our care, and the only way to assure safe play for our children and safe environment for ourselves, is by standing up for what we know is right, and asking for a change in smoking policy in public places.
Description of Student-identified Solution to the Selected Healthcare Policy Concern
The solution to the selected healthcare concern is a smoke- free law in public places such as parks, as there is great evidence that inhaling tobacco smoke in public places, has harmful effects on an individual’s health and well-being. The solution to reducing exposure to second- hand smoke and therewith decreasing the harmful effects of environmental inhalation, is by implementing smoke free policies in public places. Smoke- free policies are best implemented by providing strong and measurable evidence connected to the public’s health as a result of second- hand smoke exposure (Wynne et al., 2018).
There are several positive outcomes related to implementation of smoke free environment law, with the first one being the public’s health and the well- being of those that choose not to smoke themselves but are exposed as a result of another individual’s choice. Community changes related to implementing the smoke- free laws that would need to occur include sending out flyers and therewith informing the public of the law changes, putting up smoke- free zone signs and making sure that the public is aware of the phone number they need to contact, if non- compliance to this law occurs. The changes that would need to occur in the population group in order to implement changes related to environmental smoke inhalation, is public awareness and education about its harmful effects on the health.
According to Kelleher & Frazer (2014), a few different reports have suggested that there is a decrease in hospital admissions related to respiratory and circulatory diseases, as a result of the smoking ban implementation across the United States (Kelleher & Frazer, 2014). A measurable action that would demonstrate a positive outcome if the solution to the proposed health concern was implemented, is providing evidence with the occurrence of clinic, urgent care, emergency room and hospital visits as a result of second- hand smoke before and after the policy implementation.
The two challenges to the proposed solution that can be implemented include, the actual enforcement of smoke- free laws in public places and the compliance to this law. In order to avoid the challenge of enforcing the smoke free laws is by presenting strong evidence of its harmful effects on health. Once the law is implemented, the worry is the public’s compliance to it. A resolution to keeping the public compliant and follow the non- smoking rule in public places are no smoking signs, fines and monitoring by the compliance officer (Wynne et al., 2018).
Identification of Elected Official
The name of the elected official is Jeff Tyne. Mr. Tyne holds a position of the city manager at the City of Peoria District. I chose Mr, Tyne as the elected official I would like to interview and present my concern to, because of his work and experience background. Mr. Tyne has been serving the citizens in the city of Peoria since 1997. Ever since, he has been acting in many different roles leading to his current position as the city manager. Something that is related to Mr. Tyne’s work experience and the current position he is holding that caught my attention and interest to present my health concern to him, is his work experience in policy analysis and managing the parks.
Mr. Tyne holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree, and also has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, both earned at the Arizona State University. As far as his past education, Mr. Tyne attended the State and Local Government program at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. With Mr. Tyne’s education, work and experience background, I am very confident that he will be an attentive listener and possibly act on the healthcare concern that I will present to him (City of Peoria, n.d.).
The healthcare topic that is discussed in this paper is the concern of smoking in public parks and the effects of second- hand smoke on children of all ages in the city of Peoria in Arizona. At this time, there are no rules and regulations that prohibit smoking on park grounds in the city of Peoria. As a parent who takes her own children to the park on a daily basis and as a healthcare professional who has a voice, I find it my duty to propose a positive change in the park smoking policy, and with that secure a safe playground environment for my own as well as all the other children and adolescents who visit the park. This health concern will be presented to a city elected official, in this case Mr. Jeff Tyne who is the city manager at the city of Peoria, with the proposal of rules and regulations regarding smoking in parks being put in place. The goal is to conduct an in- person interview with Mr. Tyne and provide evidence for positive outcomes related to this policy implementation.