Looking Forward: ANA’s 2022 Legislative and Regulatory Priorities


2021 represented a very difficult year for nurses and patients. The ongoing pandemic has exasperated many underlying challenges nurses have been forced to endure for decades. Despite this, ANA staff and the united voice of our RNAction advocates were able to secure funding for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs, mental health resources, testing, vaccines, therapeutic COVID-19 treatments, public health infrastructure and more through the American Rescue Plan. Meanwhile, the ANA-PAC remained effective in its mission to support members of Congress passionate about ANA’s nursing priorities on both sides of the aisle and continue building our coalition of lawmaker support in Congress.

Progress in continuing to be made, but our work is not complete. Nurses do not feel valued, and it is easy to see why. They are forced to contend with long-standing staffing shortages, mandatory overtime, the recent sunsetting of workplace protections, and at least 1 in 4 nurses having experienced workplace violence.

What did ANA’s advocacy efforts look like in 2021 as nurses across the country were saving lives? ANA’s Policy and Government Affairs team met with numerous stakeholders; members of Congress, staff from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health care associations and coalition partners. In addition, ANA conducted several hours of listening sessions on the nursing shortage with ANA members and nurse advocates.

This shortage has affected many additional factors of daily life for nurses. Unlike the beginning of the pandemic when nurses were being furloughed, many now find themselves working even longer hours, contributing to exhaustion and burnout. In many cases, hospitals brought in travel nurses to relieve the shortages. Some nurses left for agencies for better pay, while long-time staff nurses learned to contend with temporary staff who were not familiar with the facility. It is obvious to ANA leadership and staff that we must be laser-focused on workforce challenges, including work environment and retention, the workforce pipeline, well-being, and the value of nurses as four areas of focus to help curb the staffing crisis.


Our goal is to ensure that the nursing workforce is properly funded with an emphasis on staff retention and proper talent pipelines. ANA continues to work with other nursing organizations and our champions in Congress to pass the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act (FAAN Act). This legislation would provide a billion dollars in funding for increasing faculty to:

• Enroll and retain nursing students;
• Support educational programs, including creating and modernizing curriculum and establishing nurse-led intradisciplinary and inter-professional educational partnerships;
• Hire and retain a diverse faculty to educate the future nursing workforce;
• Modernize technological and educational infrastructure;
• Support schools of nursing, in partnership with facilities that provide health care, to establish or expand clinical education and;
• Support schools of nursing as they help prepare future nurse scientists and researchers who are essential as health challenges arise.

The FAAN Act passed the House of Representatives as part of the Build Back Better legislation but stalled in the Senate in December. Negotiations on revival of the legislation remain ongoing.

In addition, on January 19, 2022, ANA CEO Dr. Loressa Cole DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN participated in a listening session with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. ANA was one of only nine organizations asked to weigh in during the roundtable which highlighted the opportunities for retention and entry into the workforce for nurses and health care providers.

Work Environment

The Policy and Government Affairs team continues working with Congress and the Administration on the need to address workplace violence which most nurses recognize as having only increased since the start of the pandemic. ANA and nurse advocates were instrumental in the House-passed Workplace Violence legislation last year and is working to identify Senate sponsors for introduction.

In addition, the Policy team has been working side by side with the Administration to reinstate OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards. Our team has a leading role in the ANA Enterprise-wide #EndNurseAbuse team which focuses on workplace violence and nurse abuse in ways beyond legislation and policy. Be sure to be on the lookout for additional campaigns related to our #EndNurseAbuse pledge throughout the year as well.


Our legislative team has made significant progress with Congress towards getting the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act passed into law. This legislation will identify and disseminate best practices to reduce and prevent mental and behavioral health conditions, suicide, and burnout, as well as increase access to evidence-based treatment for nurses and other health care professionals.

Advocates such as you were instrumental in getting this bill passed by the House in December. The Senate is negotiating technical changes and we await it to be moved through the process and be sent to the President’s desk. Be on the lookout for this news as it is a monumental win for nurses, providers, and ANA.


Value is an essential point of emphasis of our work in 2022. Our latest message to Congress highlights the staffing constraints mentioned above, but also calls on Congress to work with key stakeholders to change current payment structures to finally recognize nurses as a value instead of ‘overhead’. For a brief, fleeting moment, nurses were celebrated as heroes at the beginning of the pandemic. Now they have gone back to only being viewed as a number at the bottom of a ledger.

As the most trusted profession for 20 straight years and the largest segment of health care providers, nurses need to be at the center of every conversation regarding health care. They need to be valuable members of the decision-making team whether that is at the staff level of the local facility, or the decisions being made by Congress and the Administration. Our work throughout this year will focus on empowering nurses and help restore the dignity of the profession. It starts with focusing on addressing the nursing shortage crisis.

2022 will likely present similar challenges to 2021 for nurses and their patients as the COVID-19 pandemic and the staffing shortage remain. Rest assured, the Policy and Government Affairs team continues to listen to its members, nurses, and nurse advocates. Please take a moment to sign up for our RNAction alerts and follow us on Twitter and Facebook and please check out our Latest News page for the latest advocacy news and information.

Join us on ANA’s Virtual Day of Advocacy – June 25!


ANA’s annual Membership Assembly (MA) held in June has gone virtual resulting in the cancellation of our popular Hill Day. ANA staff quickly pivoted and launched a supercharged, nationwide Virtual Day of Advocacy centered on a call to action. This Virtual Day of Advocacy will take place on June 25 – Take Action Here! Our call to action focuses on rebuilding the public health workforce and infrastructure by funding community-based care and the CDC so our nation can better withstand the COVID-19 pandemic and the next national health crisis and build towards a future of strength.

Why a Day of Advocacy? We moved to a Day of Advocacy this year which involves one call to action as opposed to the typical 3-4 legislative issues solely focused on nursing priorities. We abandoned a virtual hill day because it was not fair to ask nurses working all hours and continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic to take time out of their day for a phone call that is extremely difficult to schedule among participants with varying schedules. The Virtual Day of Advocacy provides a much easier and public platform for nurses and nurse advocates to make their voices heard.

Who does this target? By leveraging our call to action platform, we’re able to make this much larger and all-encompassing campaign than our typical Hill Day. We also acknowledge our regular participants will miss out on the wonderful experience of a coordinated Hill visit to see their members of Congress and their staff. However, as opposed to the limitations of inviting only MA attendees, local nursing students and members from the tri-state Washington Metro area, ANA staff are able to open this campaign up through social media (RNAction Facebook and Twitter), all ANA members, nursing schools throughout the U.S. through a coordinated effort with our constituent state nurse affiliate connections so staff can drive increased participation and growth of our RNAction grassroots community. Last but not least, through a Washington Post partnership, we’ve procured advertisements for the Day of Advocacy to both members of Congress and their staff along with nurses and the general public.

Additional Information: ANA’s Policy and Government Affairs team has released a video on why advocacy is important, how to take action, personalizing your message and how to send and/or Tweet to your members of Congress.

What’s next? As you are taking action and sending your letter/tweet to Congress, please take an advocacy selfie and post that using the #RNAction hashtag or @RNAction handle. We are also asking all of those who participate in our Day of Advocacy to continue subscribing to our RNAction alerts and participate in future calls to action. COVID-19 has shown once again the impact of nursing on the overall health and well being in the U.S. We are asking all of those who join our community through this Day of Advocacy to make the commitment to not make this a one-time action. Pledge to continue advocating for nursing and amplify their voice on the national stage.

Nurses continue providing care and performing tremendous acts of kindness in the wake of this devastating pandemic. This despite varying degrees of a lack of protective equipment or resources and added strain to their families and loved ones. ANA’s Virtual Day of Advocacy provides an engaging platform for nurses, nurse advocates, nurse administrators, nursing students – and anyone interesting in promoting the nursing profession – to share their story and make their voice heard. So, share your voice and take action from now through June 25.

How You Can Engage In The Election and The State of the Race


We are hitting a frenetic stretch in the presidential primary campaign with ‘Super Tuesday’ this week.  This day officially begins the onslaught of state elections, continuing debates and campaign ads flooding the airwaves. It can be quite easy for nurses to feel overwhelmed with the daily presidential election coverage.

Senator Bernie Sanders has emerged as the Democratic frontrunner with victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Vice President Joe Biden hopes to gain momentum following his victory in South Carolina and a second-place result in Nevada. Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a wild card ahead of ‘Super Tuesday’ and has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on paid advertising since entering the race.

Senator Bernie Sanders spoke about nurses in last week’s debate in South Carolina. Sanders referenced nurses when speaking about his debt forgiveness proposals, an issue that continues to plague young nurses across the country.

We will know more about the race following Tuesday’s results, though we expect they won’t be fully reported for a few days. It is still somewhat early in the primary race, but after ‘Super Tuesday,’ it will no longer be early, and we can expect some candidates to suspend their campaigns.

To that end, nearly six months ago the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched nursesvote.org to cut through the noise and ensure nurses and nurse advocates had the information they needed to cast their vote and make their voices heard in 2020.

Nursesvote.org is a one-stop shop on everything nurse advocates need surrounding the presidential election. Our “How to Get Involved” toolkit is a comprehensive guide on everything from phone banking to information on volunteering at your local polling precinct. We encourage all visitors to download the toolkit regardless of which candidate they might support. As the Democratic field continues to shrink, we encourage you to check back with our candidate page so you can learn where every candidate stands on issues impacting nurses, their patients and the nursing profession. Our voting ‘Action Center’ will also enable you to check if your voter registration is up-to-date, find the location of your polling place and even how you can vote early in certain states.

Some of the latest developments on nursesvote.org include the development of a “#NursesVote Social Media Corner.” Here we celebrate and highlight nurse advocates engaging in elections by posting their pictures and sharing them on our RNAction Facebook and Twitter. The fastest way to get featured here is to post a picture of yourself engaging in #NurseAdvocacy while using the #NursesVote hashtag. If you wish to inquire about our popular ‘Registered Nurse, Registered Voter’ buttons, please feel free to email us at rnaction@ana.org.

Now is the time, more than ever, that nurses need to engage, have a seat at the table and make their voices heard, regardless of where they are from or who they support.