An integrative review of pursing policy and political competence

Int Nurs Rev. 2017 Mar;64(1):135-145. doi: 10.1111/inr.12275. Epub 2016 Jun 21.


Introduction: For several decades, there have been repeated calls for nurses to become more involved in policy and political processes.

Aims: The purpose of this article is to conduct an integrative review to identify and assess the current state of the science relating to supporting the pursuit of greater involvement by the nursing profession in policy and political processes.

Design: Standard integrative review procedures were used to identify studies that examined how policy competence could be achieved. A comparative thematic approach to synthesis was used. Both published and grey literature written in English between January 1965 and January 2015 were identified via a structured search of CINAHL, SCOPUS, Science Direct and Google Scholar.

Results: Forty-five primary studies were identified with literature from North America dominating, but contributions from low- and middle-income countries have recently started to feature. Studies tended to focus on the immediate impact of didactic and action learning-based approaches. The majority of articles were descriptive survey designs utilizing small convenience samples.

Conclusions and policy implication: Many programmes of education have focused on developing an understanding of legislative policy and political processes, but the development of policy and political competencies at team and institutional levels has been ignored. Existing research have looked at the short-term effects of educational programmes. At this time, there are conflicting reports on the impact of variables such as gender and educational preparation on policy and political competence. There is an urgent need to address these major gaps if nurses at all levels are to play a full role in shaping policy and political process.

Keywords: Integrative Review; Nurse Leadership; Nursing Advocacy; Policy Competence; Political Astuteness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Nursing Staff / psychology*
  • Policy Making*
  • Politics*