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Forging Paths In Public Policy: A Guide For Nursing Students In India – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

Forging Paths in Public Policy: A Guide for Nursing Students in India

Dr Arjun Kumar

Nursing students in India embark on a journey that goes beyond the realms of healthcare. Armed with a deep understanding of patient care, compassion, and the intricacies of the healthcare system, these students are well-positioned to make significant contributions to public policy. In this article, we will explore the intersection of nursing and public policy, shedding light on the importance of this alliance and the diverse career paths it opens up for those keen on driving systemic change.

The Nexus of Nursing and Public Policy:

Public policy in healthcare plays a pivotal role in shaping the delivery of services, patient outcomes, and the overall well-being of communities. Nursing students, equipped with hands-on experience in healthcare settings, possess a unique perspective that is invaluable in the development and implementation of policies that address the needs of both patients and healthcare professionals.

Skills Bridge:

  1. Advocacy Skills: Nursing students are natural advocates for their patients. These advocacy skills are transferable to policy work, where professionals champion systemic changes to improve overall healthcare delivery.
  2. Clinical Expertise: A deep understanding of clinical processes allows nursing graduates to navigate the complexities of healthcare policies, ensuring that the proposed changes are practical and beneficial at the ground level.
  3. Empathy and Compassion: The core values instilled in nursing education—empathy and compassion—are critical in policy work, influencing decisions that prioritize patient-centered care and inclusivity.
  4. Data Literacy: Nursing students are accustomed to working with data in patient care. This skill is valuable in policy roles, where evidence-based decision-making is crucial.
  5. Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in both nursing and policy. Nursing students can articulate the impact of policies on patient care, making a compelling case for changes that enhance healthcare outcomes.

Career Paths in Public Policy for Nursing Students:

  1. Health Policy Analyst: Analyzing existing healthcare policies, identifying gaps, and proposing improvements are key responsibilities of health policy analysts. Nursing graduates bring a frontline perspective to this role, ensuring policies align with the practicalities of patient care.
  2. Government Health Agencies: Working with government health agencies allows nursing professionals to contribute to the development and implementation of healthcare policies at the national or state level. Roles in these agencies involve collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure effective policy execution.
  3. Nonprofit Organizations: Joining nonprofit organizations focused on healthcare advocacy enables nursing graduates to influence policies that address issues such as public health, patient rights, and healthcare access.
  4. Research and Policy Development: Engaging in research on healthcare practices and contributing to the development of evidence-based policies is another avenue for nursing graduates passionate about driving positive change in the healthcare landscape.
  5. Public Health Educator: Educating communities about public health initiatives and policies is crucial for their successful implementation. Nursing graduates can take on roles as public health educators, bridging the gap between policy decisions and community understanding.
  6. Hospital Administration and Quality Improvement: Nursing professionals can contribute to policy changes within healthcare institutions by taking on roles in hospital administration or quality improvement, ensuring that policies align with the best interests of patients and healthcare providers.
  7. Global Health Organizations: Nursing graduates with an interest in global health can work with international organizations, contributing their insights to policies that address healthcare challenges on a global scale.

Challenges and Opportunities:

While the path from nursing to public policy may present challenges, such as navigating bureaucratic processes and policy implementation hurdles, it also offers significant opportunities. Nursing professionals have the chance to influence policies that directly impact patient care, healthcare accessibility, and overall public health outcomes.


For nursing students in India, the journey doesn’t end at the bedside. It extends to the heart of policymaking, where their unique perspective and skills can drive transformative changes in healthcare. By embracing careers in public policy, nursing graduates have the power to shape the future of healthcare delivery, making it more effective, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of diverse communities. As the healthcare landscape evolves, the role of nursing professionals in influencing policies becomes increasingly vital for building a healthier and more equitable society.

Dr Arjun Kumar is the Director of the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation.

This article was posted by Tanu Paliwal , a research intern at IMPRI.

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  • IMPRI Desk
  • Arjun KumarArjun Kumar

    Arjun Kumar is the Director of the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi. He holds a PhD in Economics from the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. With training in development economics, he specialises in quantitative and qualitative research methods, econometrics and the use of statistical software to crunch big data. He has been a Visiting Faculty at the Institute for Human Development (IHD) amongst others and has been associated with several think tanks, research institutes, governments, civil society organisations, and private enterprises. He is President of a Jharkhand based NGO (registered in 2010), Manavdhara- a youth social organisation working for humanitarian causes in backward regions and for marginalised communities. He has also taught Economics at the University of Delhi. His research interests are in the economy, development studies, housing and basic amenities, urban and regional research, inclusive and sustainable development, data and evidence-based policy, and, research methods. He has several research publications to his credit and has experience of being involved in research projects of international and national repute. He is also a member and part of various government and non-government formed committees, groups, and advisory boards overseeing the deliberation as subject matter expert and for possessing strong research acumen. He is an avid writer and frequently writes on various dimensions of economic issues, policies, and their impact for several eminent media platforms.


    IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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