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Keywords:

  • China;
  • healthcare delivery;
  • nursing profession

Purpose: To examine the healthcare policy and the nursing profession in China and to share insights learned from that country, which can be used to inform health-policy decision makers in the US.

Organizing Construct: Despite their significant cultural, political, and historical differences, many healthcare issues are the same for China and the US. Both countries face rising healthcare costs and widening disparities between wealthy and poor individuals, and between urban and rural sectors.

Conclusions: Some of the ideas that can be gleaned from China's healthcare system include rewarding physicians for prescribing preventive services; using trained laypeople as gatekeepers to the healthcare system in rural areas; communicating to the public and to health-policy decision makers the importance of nurses so that staffing, work conditions, and professional status can be improved; and including nurses in health-policy decisions.

Clinical Relevance: Lessons learned from China's healthcare policy and healthcare system have implications for public health policy change that could lead to improved patient outcomes in the US. The current changing global health environment calls for healthcare providers to learn from and work with our international neighbors to improve health outcomes for all patients.