Health Policy Nursing


The nursing profession has a growing role in the health policy arena. Nurses with policy expertise are assuming leadership roles in advocacy, research, analysis, and policy development, implementation and evaluation.

They work in health services research firms, legislative and regulatory offices, health maintenance organizations, advocacy organizations, or health care provider associations. Some hold elective office.

The Health Policy specialty focuses on preparing students to provide policy leadership in a variety of settings. Graduates learn to identify and critically analyze laws, regulations and policies at the institutional, local, state, and national levels.

They prepare to use their in-depth knowledge of the history, structure, theory and process of health policy-making in the United States to plan, implement, and evaluate policies. Additionally, they will understand the economic, ethical, and social implications of policy decisions, and devise and use strategies to effectively advocate for policy change.


All students will complete courses in Communications and Policy Leadership, Ethical Dilemmas & Nursing, Health Care Economics and Policy, Health Economics, Health Policy Research, Policy Proseminar and Practica, Policy Residency, Policy Research Utilization, Race and Class Factors in Health Care, and Theories of the Policy Process.

Students may also take electives that include Comparative Health Care Systems, Economics of Managed Care, Ethics and Policy in Genetics, Health Care Institutions, Long Term Care Policies, Perspectives on Social Policy and Health, Social Policy and Aging, and Tobacco Control Policy Issues.

In addition to coursework, master's students complete a 10-week health policy residency.

This may involve working in policy settings that include: legislative and regulatory offices, advocacy organizations, foundations involved in setting agendas for funding policy-related research and programs, health care organizations, community organizations, and professional associations.

Residencies emphasize the application of policy skills in real-world settings.

Past students have completed residencies in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and Geneva at the World Health Organization in addition to numerous San Francisco-area placements. You can watch podcast reviews of prior student residencies at the UCSF Podcast library.

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