Nurses are speaking and Congress is listening as August recess wraps up

  

After a very busy spring and summer, Congress has left Washington, D.C. for a few weeks and all eyes now look ahead to what is gearing up to be an active fall.

It is clear that lawmakers and staff are listening to the nurses. Many key priorities of ANA have progressed during the last few months.

It was met with great news when the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Workplace Violence and Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309) with a bipartisan vote during the week of Hill Day and Membership Assembly. This bill directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive violence prevention plan tailored to the facility and services with the intention to protect employees from violence incidents in the workplace.

In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R. 728). This legislation would reauthorize nursing workforce development programs through Fiscal Year 2024. That means two of ANA’s key bills are ready for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Additionally, it is appropriations season in the House of Representatives and the nurses received two wins in the House-passed Labor-HHS appropriations legislation. It included a $30 million increase in Title VIII funding and language to direct CMS to provide information for evaluating appropriate nurse staffing. ANA staff is working with the Senate to ensure they are aware of the provisions in the House-passed text.

Lastly, ANA has been working closely with the Nursing Community Coalition and the coalition was able to include an amendment to the House passed National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment would recognize the nurses who served as members of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II and provide them with honorable discharges, medal privileges, and burial benefits for cemeteries administered under the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are hopeful this amendment will be in the final legislation!

In order to keep up the great progress that has been made, we urge you to keep calling upon your members of Congress to ensure we can keep moving the ball during the upcoming months!

A Life Changing Event Leads to Nurse Advocacy

  

Greetings!

I am very excited to announce that I recently joined the Policy and Government Affairs team at the American Nurses Association. By way of getting to know me and my background, my career started on Capitol Hill where I worked in the House of Representatives for several years, and most recently, I had the privilege of working at the American Physical Therapy Association.

I do not think landing at ANA is purely coincidental. Just a couple of years ago my family went through a deeply terrifying time. One day my mother was healthy and happy and overnight everything changed. She developed hematomas on her brain and wound up in a weeks-long coma. As readers of this blog uniquely know, my family was terrified. We were in ICU for a very long time and developed relationships with many hospital workers.

We would not have made it through each day without the nurses we met. When we didn’t understand something (which happened frequently!), the nurses would break it down and explain what it meant. When we needed something for my mother, they would get it as soon as they could. Of course, there were also the moments where we didn’t see hope, and as busy as ICU nurses are, they would take a moment and were there for us.

This fall my family celebrates three years since that time. I couldn’t be happier to share that my mother is awake, at home, and she recently went to Orlando with her children and grandkids and had the vacation of a lifetime.

While we are so grateful to be past that stage, we are forever thankful to those nurses who not only helped my mom but helped our entire family. We have even gone back to the hospital to see the team and show off how well their former patient is doing!

Working in this role is what I can do to try and repay all of the nurses around the country that have done so much.

Here at ANA I am leading our legislative efforts on issues that include: Title VIII funding; safe staffing; workplace violence; health care transformation; and U.S. Nurse Cadet Corp. legislation. I encourage you to get in touch with your Members of Congress and tell them your stories about why it is so important they support these issues.

I look forward to working together to move forward sound policy that helps advance the nursing profession across the country.