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1. In what ways is, or is not, the nursing profession a special interest group in American
Democracy? Identify at least two.
“An interest group is a collection of people who pursue their common interests by influencing
political processes. They are also known as factions, special interests, pressure groups, or
organized interests” (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw, & O’Grady, 2016, p. 581). Based on this
definition, I believe the nursing profession is most definitely a special interest group in American
Democracy. Interest groups use several methods to advance their causes including grassroots
mobilization, lobbying, shaping public opinion, influencing elections, and litigation (Mason, et
al., 2016). We had experience with lobbying in this course by writing a letter to a legislator with
an attempt to influence them to support our topic of concern and interest. This course has taught
me that nurses use lobbying to directly influence public officials through many avenues and it
has been eye-opening to see how involved many nursing professionals are in the political
world. Nurses also use the method of shaping public opinion by advocating and campaigning for
specific causes. Unionized nurses organize strikes to advocate for their rights and for the rights
of their patients. Strikes bring in news coverage, which increases the public knowledge of health
care issues and force policymakers to listen.
2. What strategies would enhance the effective influence of nurses as a collective special
interest group in policy advocacy and electoral politics? Share at least three, with one of
the three being a specific example of using media.
“One of the most important roles that the media plays is getting issues on the agendas of the
public and policymakers. What the mainstream media do or do not cover is equally powerful in
determining which issues policymakers take into consideration” (Mason, et al., 2016, p.
125). Documentary films are extremely powerful and popular in today’s culture. Documentary
films are influencing politics and policy in health care while also achieving mainstream success
(Mason, et al., 2016). I think documentaries are a great strategy to enhance the effective
influence of nurses as a collective special interest group in policy advocacy and electoral
politics. It is a great way to get information out to the public and to raise awareness regarding a
specific cause.
Nurses already have success and experience with campaign involvement, especially with the
American Nurses Association providing a presence and voice in politics over the past four
decades (Mason, et al., 2016). Continual contributions to candidates who are supportive of the
American Nurses Association interests and agendas would enhance the effective influence of
nurses as a collective special interest group in policy advocacy and electoral politics.
I believe lobbying is one of the best strategies to enhance the effective influence of nurses as a
collective special interest group in policy advocacy and electoral politics because it has proven to
be effective. In 2013, four of the top lobbying industries were related to health and included
hospitals, insurance, physicians, and pharmaceuticals (Mason, et al., 2016).
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