When #NursesVote, Policy Changes

  

In recognition of National Voter Registration Day this week and ahead of next year’s presidential election, the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched its new and improved #NursesVote website this week. This new resource for ANA members and nurse-advocates everywhere builds on our work last fall, when thousands of nurses engaged with ANA’s #NursesVote Action Center to ensure they had all the information they needed to cast their vote and make their voices heard.

Looking ahead to 2020, the new #NursesVote expands on those efforts with a heightened focus on the presidential race. Our interactive registration tool continues to help voters in every state confirm that they’re registered to vote (or get registered if they aren’t), locate their polling place, or find out what’s needed to vote absentee or early. For nurses in particular, we know their schedules might not provide the opportunity to cast their ballots on Election Day itself.

Additionally, #NursesVote is your go-to resource for information on the candidates as their campaigns progress, ANA’s nursing priorities, and how best to engage with and support the candidate of your choice. ANA encourages all nurse advocates to become well informed voters and help ensure every presidential candidate considers advancing the nursing profession to be one of their core priorities.  

Our candidates page provides a breakdown on the ways in which each candidate has supported key federal legislation and policies on issues that include nursing education and workforce development, home health care and APRNs, how to ensure nurses are equipped to help fight the opioid epidemic, and more. ANA is heartened to know it will have a partner to work with in the White House regardless of the election’s outcome.

Also included are sections that detail the most pressing federal advocacy priorities impacting nursing, as well as a newly released comprehensive guide for those looking to engage with the various presidential campaigns – either as a volunteer or simply as a concerned citizen and nurse-advocate. From running a voter registration drive to making the most of an upcoming campaign visit in your area, #NursesVote will help you hold candidates accountable and ensure other voters understand why nursing issues are an essential part of the discussions taking place between candidates and the constituents they hope to represent.  

ANA empowers nurses across the country to become politically engaged advocates and looks forward to hearing how the new website helps further this mission.

The Power of Hill Day

  

Every membership group has an iteration of “Hill Day,” “Legislative Conference,” or “Fly-in” where its members come to Washington, DC, to speak directly to their members of Congress on issues of importance to the association. Hundreds of members of the American Nurses Association (ANA) will be on Capitol Hill on June 20 for our annual Hill Day. This is a powerful experience and, in many ways, the most basic form of the democratic process. These constituents have the ability to schedule a meeting with their elected representatives or their staffs to discuss issues of importance to them and the association.

Members of Congress will always feel the weight of an issue when the constituent is able to make a personal connection and being able to draw upon those stories is quite effective. For nurses, this might be an instance where you have encountered workplace violence or a lack of resources to effectively perform your job for example.

With the 116th Congress a quarter of the way into its session, it has already been bombarded with special interest groups seeking to meet with members of Congress and their office staffs. These groups have been introducing themselves to freshman members of Congress while solidifying previous relationships with the more experienced lawmakers.

It is truly an incredible experience for nurses and nurse advocates to head up to Capitol Hill for the first time – as well as for those more experienced participants. When a constituent advocates on behalf of a cause they believe in and are passionate about, it empowers them to become more engaged politically and professionally. It enables a person to tangibly connect with their history, with the policies they are fighting for, and allows them to fulfill their civic duty of participating in democracy. Advocating for a cause on Capitol Hill provides citizens the platform to provide critical feedback to a lawmaker and serves as a check on the legislative branch by those it represents.

It is an especially important time for nurses and nurse advocates to take their experience and insights to Capitol Hill. There are many pieces of legislation impacting nurses and their patients gaining momentum in Congress. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R. 2150), and the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 728) are all being discussed by over 400 nurses making their way to Capitol Hill this week. To read more on these pieces of legislation, please visit RNAction. Nurses and nurse advocates must speak in a clear, united voice because when nurses speak, Washington listens. And regardless of the issue our members are advocating for, or whether it is called a fly-in or Hill Day, when you are advocating on behalf of your profession on an issue you care about, it is a powerful feeling. This communication makes a real impact on members and their staffs. We are excited for ANA’s upcoming Hill Day and look forward to the feedback our members will share about their experiences.

Looking forward to this year’s #ANAHillDay

  

In just under three weeks ANA members and registered nurses from across the country will gather on Capitol Hill to demonstrate the power of nurse advocacy firsthand. As we prepare for our annual #ANAHillDay on June 20th, we wanted to offer some helpful tips and reminders for those attending and encourage those who might still be on the fence to register before it’s too late. With momentum building around a number of bills in Congress that will help advance the nursing profession, now is the perfect time to join us for our biggest advocacy event of the year.

Prior to arriving in Washington for the big day, please take some time to get to know the lawmakers with whom you’ll be meeting (your federal representative and both Senators). In particular, determine whether they’re already supportive of the legislation we’ll be discussing in our in-person meetings. That includes:

  • Workplace violence legislation in the House and Senate;
  • Title VIII nursing workforce development reauthorization in the House and Senate, and;
  • Home health legislation for APRNs in the House and Senate.

For additional background on these bills, please visit our RNAction issues page. If you’re unsure who represents you in the House, please find out here. Rest assured, we’ll be going into greater detail on all these bills at our morning breakfast briefing before you head up to Capitol Hill for your meetings. We’ll also be hearing from ANA leadership as well as the newest nurse in Congress, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14).

Once you’re on the Hill, you and members of your state delegation with whom you’ll be paired will have the unique opportunity to share your professional perspective on why each of these bills matters to you. While it’s important to know what these bills are working to accomplish and how they would do so, it’s just as important for your representatives and their staff to hear your firsthand account on how you’ve encountered these issues in your job. Representatives and staff will always respond better when you are able to make a personal attachment to the issue at hand. Please spend some time thinking about if and how these issues have impacted your work, and decide which ones you feel most confident speaking to during your meetings.

And if you can’t join us here in our nation’s capital, rest assured you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to join through our virtual Hill Day campaign. To ensure you’re getting these and other timely nurse advocate updates, please sign up for our RNAction updates.

To watch our Facebook briefing with additional information on everything Hill Day-related, please click here. And if you’re interested in attending but still haven’t registered, please do so here