Policy Brief: Detailed Directions
As stated in The Essentials, healthcare policy can facilitate or hinder healthcare delivery, and
legislation directly affects the environment in which advanced practice nurses (APN) practice.
APNs are called to participate in the legislative process, influencing policy development to better
meet the needs of providers and care recipients. Ultimately, MSN and DNP education have two
outcomes related to healthcare policy and advocacy: (a) examine and evaluate the policy
process and (b) engage in political activism as it relates to ensuring healthcare policy reduces
disparities, improves access and quality, reduces costs, and promotes equity.
This assignment focuses on the student’s ability to understand and evaluate policy processes
and make decisions on whether certain policies achieve the goals outlined above. From there,
graduates can transform this knowledge into political activism: Developing a policy brief is one
way to accomplish this. By utilizing this strategy, graduates can ensure that they have a seat at
the table when decisions about their practice are being made.
Policy briefs are succinct documents that are easy to review and work to persuade a chosen
audience to support or remove support for the development of a particular policy. The following
steps outline what you need to accomplish for this assignment. Additional questions are welcome and should be posted in the Course Q&A.
Step 1: Bill Selection. Choose a federal-level healthcare bill that addresses
a problem that you are interested in seeing solved. You must choose a
federal bill from the 116th Congress (Jan. 3, 2019 to Jan. 2021). The bill
must still be pending. You may not select a bill that has already passed both
the Senate and the House or one that is waiting on signature from President.
You may use a bill that has only passed one of the congressional branches—
either the House or the Senate, but not both. It is recommended that you use
congress.gov, senate.gov, house.gov, legiscan.com, or the Thomas Library of
Congress to search for a health-related bill to analyze for this brief.
Step 2: Executive Summary. As noted in the peer-reviewed articles on developing a
policy brief that are included in your Required Resources, you should begin
your brief with an executive summary. This section answers the question,
“What is this brief about?” This will be your audience’s initial contact with
your brief so you want to make sure it is compelling so that they continue to
In 1-2 paragraphs, you should (a) explain the issue, (b) address its impact,
(c) express why it’s timely to address this issue now, and (d) introduce what
potential good would result from fixing the problem. Support this section with
relevant facts, figures, statistics, and costs.
Step 3: Background and Significance. Describe the healthcare problem that is
central to your brief. Do not discuss potential solutions, including the bill you
chose, and just focus on the issue (opioid use, mental health, breastfeeding,
Begin with the social determinants of health (SDOH) that are related to your
issue. The discussion should include both how SDOH impact your chosen
issue and how SDOH are impacted by your issue. Include facts, numbers,
figures, research, and statistics to support your statements.
Then discuss each of the following factors and how they impact your issue
and/or are impacted by your issue: (a) health, (b) the economy, (c) the
healthcare system (d) nursing practice or advanced nursing practice, (e) the
environment, and (f) human rights (eg, ethical factors and theories). Each of
these should also include facts, numbers, figures, research, and statistics to
support your statements.
This section should paint the picture of the far-reaching impact of the
Step 4: Policy Option/Position Statement. This section has two components: (a) a
summary and analysis of past and present efforts and (b) your current policy
First, discuss what legislative efforts have attempted to address this in the
past, including any legislation that is currently in effect. Address why each
those efforts have or are falling short of solving the problem. Use evidence
from the literature to support why these efforts were/are inadequate.
Second, introduce your policy recommendation using its bill number and title
(if applicable). Address why it is the most appropriate solution compared to
previous policy, current strategies, other potential courses of action, etc.
Support why your recommended policy is a superior solution with evidence
from the literature as well.
Include a working link to your bill at the end of this section.
Step 5: Evidence-based Strategies. This section is the central aspect of this
assignment and requires you to use evidence to analyze the effectiveness,
efficiency, and equity (three Es) of the bill you selected.
Select three strategies that are proposed in the bill and discuss what current
research states about their ability to be (a) effective, (b) efficient, and (c) equitable. Each strategy should be analyzed separately. It is possible that one of
the three Es will not apply to each and every strategy. You need to address
as many of the three Es for each strategy as applicable, and all three Es
must be addressed by the end of this section. See keynote and Required
Resources for further assistance.
The ability to perform objective analysis is key to quality policy evaluation.
The conclusions presented in this section should be the result of synthesizing
research findings from the literature. It is not meant to reflect your opinion.
The bill itself cannot be used for support for any of the three Es.
Step 6: Recommendations for Action. To reflect objectivity, acknowledge at least
one (1) strategy that needs revision (eg, not effective, efficient, or equitable)
or difficulties in implementation that you foresee. Offer potential evidencebased changes or solutions to the bill. Be sure to summarize the evidence
that supports your conclusions and provide citations in this section.
Step 7: Preparing for the Opposition. Identify and summarize literature that the
opposition may be basing their stance on. Use evidence to counter their
Step 8: Reference List. There should be a minimum of 10 references published
within the last 5 years on your list. The majority must be peer-reviewed
references. Additional references types may include current events and
relevant publications from corporation websites. In-text citations and
reference list entries should be presented in APA format.
Language and Style Considerations: Although the formatting of assignment strays from APA
(exceptions discussed below), the student should maintain their professional voice throughout,
continuing to avoid the use of I and other personal pronouns and refraining from using
colloquialisms and unprofessional language. The policy brief document itself may have visual
interest as you see fit.
• Submit this assignment in PDF format to ensure that your styling is maintained.
• Use 1 or 1.2 line spacing (not double)
• Use bullets, paneling, bolding, underline, color, boxes, photos, and highlighting strategically.
• Continue to follow expected grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, abbreviation, and
numeral guidelines outlined in the APAmanual.
• Cite legislation in APA format for in-text citations and reference list entries.
• Let the styling overshadow you message. Find a balance.
• Include an APA formatted title page.
• Forget to maintain your professional voice.
See examples of policy briefs from professional organizations and previous students in the
Recommended Resources for ideas regarding appropriate styling as well as examples of well
developed and supported content.
*If you are not using photos that you own, please use the advanced search feature in Google Images to
filter results by pictures that are free for use or sharing and/or give credit to the source of your photos.
• The document should be organized with headings presented in the same order in which
they are presented in the rubric. Creativity in the use of space is allowed and encouraged,
• The assignment should be approximately 5-6 single-spaced pages in length (or 1.2 lines;
excluding the reference pages and any appendices) and must have a minimum of ten (10)
references, the majority of which should peer reviewed. References should be timely:
published within the previous five (5) years.
• Each paper will automatically be submitted to turnitin.com.
• Submission Instructions: Each paper should be submitted in PDF format to the appropriate
assignment area. There will be one document uploaded to the Assignment area.