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Lobbyist or Advocate: Is There a Difference? Essay

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2022

Currently, lobbyists or advocates are significantly influencing the changes and developments made on health systems across the world. Mainly, nurses are contributing significantly to the development of health policies through their political actions (Catallo, Cristina, Spalding and Haghiri-Vijeh 1). Politically, nurses pursue policies that promote the provision of quality health care services and in particular which uphold the safety of patients as well as the access to needed resources. This essay paper reviews lobbyists and advocates: their definitions, similarities and differences, importance, and, the manner in which World Health Organization (WHO) lobby or advocate for health care policy.

A lobbyist is an individual who represents the special interests or concerns of a particular group or organization through meetings with lawmakers (Mason et al. 391). Notably, many lobbyists are former members of staff or elected officials who have expertise in the legislative process or a particular area. Therefore, lobbyists have experience in aspects of policy or political process. On the other hand, an advocate is an individual who pleads for another (Mason et al. 391). In the nursing field, nurses advocate for healthier neighborhoods and the nursing profession itself through education and appeal to government policymakers and legislators to promote safe workplaces for nurses and safeguard the nursing scope of practice.

Lobbyists and advocates have both similarities and differences. On similarities, both lobbyists and advocates represent the concerns and special interests of certain groups or organizations (Mason et al. 30). For instance, lobbyists and advocates work with members of the community to enhance the welfare of people by influencing issues, systems, and policies. On differences, lobbyists are paid to advocate for the interests of their employers, while advocates are not paid for their activities (Mason et al. 391). Again, lobbyists spend most of their time lobbying because of the associated financial gain, while advocates spend most of their time doing something else. Further, lobbyist activities are legally bound. Notably, the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Government Act of 2007 control lobbyists’ activities by mandating them to release the information relating to their activities, contributions, and expenses (Mason et al. 391). Considerably, the law does not control advocate activities.

WHO is an international organization under the United Nations (UN). The primary goal of WHO is to offer people across the globe the best achievable level of health. Mainly, WHO provides policy options to numerous countries for the development of health initiatives and priorities; however, its policies act as guidelines and not law (World Health Organization [WHO] par. 2). As a lobby or advocate for health care policy, WHO collaborates with its member states and coordinates their effort in promoting their respective health policies and programs. Notably, it provides them with current information about the occurrence of international diseases (WHO par. 3). Besides, the organization and publishes the respective cases of diseases, injuries, and deaths based on research. Additionally, WHO establishes the global standards of vaccines and antibiotics and monitors the adverse effects of drugs.

In conclusion, lobbyists and advocates are essential in influencing health policies through political actions. Although advocates are not paid like lobbyists, both pursue the special interests of particular groups and organizations. In health care, they advocate for healthier neighborhoods and appeal to government legislators and policymakers to implement appropriate health systems. Globally, WHO promotes the health of people in the world through the provision of necessary information and coordination of the country’s health initiatives and programs. Overall, lobbyists and advocates promote the health of people across the globe.

Works Cited

Catallo, Cristina, Karen Spalding and Roya Haghiri-Vijeh. “Nursing Professional Organizations: What Are They Doing to Engage Nurses in Health Policy?” Sage Open, 2014, 1-9. Print.

Mason, Diana J., Deborah B. Gardner, Freida Hopkins Outlaw and Eileen T. O’Grady. Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care. 7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, 2015. Print.

World Health Organization (WHO). “About WHO.” WHO Online, 2016. Web.

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