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Nurses and other stakeholders head to the Hill to advocate

As part of ANA’s annual Hill Day, nurses, students and other leaders are meeting today with members of Congress and their staff to build support for federal legislation addressing workplace violence, funding for nurse workforce development programs, and APRNs’ ability to order home health care services.

ANA group shot on Capitol Hill 2019
The power of nursing makes itself known on Capitol Hill.

Over 325 participants—with more expected – from 48 states are sharing their perspectives and expertise during hundreds of scheduled visits on Capitol Hill. And thousands from across the country are expected to urge federal policymakers to support ANA-backed legislation on workplace violence prevention as part of a Virtual Hill Day event.

First up, participants attended a breakfast briefing, where they learned more about ANA-supported legislation and were welcomed by ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN.

“The broader public needs you to be advocating [on Capitol Hill today] just as much as an individual patient needs their nurses advocating for them at the bedside,” said Grant, who will join participants in meeting with federal lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Richard Burr from his home state of North Carolina. “Rest assured, the people with whom you’re meeting are relying on nursing’s perspective, so they can better serve you and your patients.”

In a new event, Grant held ANA’s Hill Day version of a “fireside chat” with the newest nurse to join the 116th Congress, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL).

ANA President Ernest Grant, ANA Enterprise CNO Debbie Hatmaker, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), ANA Enterprise CEO Loressa Cole on Hill Day
ANA President Ernest Grant, ANA Enterprise CNO Debbie Hatmaker, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL),
ANA Enterprise CEO Loressa Cole on Hill Day

“I’ve been a member of ANA for a long time, and it’s a thrill and honor to be here,” said Underwood, MSN, MPH, RN, who worked on implementing the Affordable Care Act while serving in the Obama administration.  It was her concerns about several legislative attempts to repeal the ACA and take away protections for people with preexisting conditions that led her to run for Congress.

“Health care was the No. 1 issue in our elections, and health care is a human right,” said Underwood who continues to push for efforts to protect and ensure people’s access to affordable care.

She also addressed the “biggest challenge” -- the Senate’s refusal to take up bills sent from the House for consideration. So Underwood encouraged nurses to compel Senators – both Republican and Democrat – whom they are meeting with today to support the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act.

“There’s nothing controversial about Title VIII and having more nurses in our country,” Underwood said.

She also urged participants to meet with their representatives in Congress in their home district offices.

“Make it your business to find out who your Congress member is and meet with them,” Underwood said. “Talk about what is important to you. Talk with confidence. You are the experts.”

She added that the most powerful thing nurses have is their patient stories, and all the factors that affect someone’s health.

The three key bills that Hill Day attendees are calling attention to are:

  • The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (R. 1309/S. 851)
  • The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (R. 2150/ S. 296)
  • The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (R. 728/S. 1399)

Additionally, participants addressed the importance of nurse staffing as ANA continues to work with federal policymakers on this critical nurse and patient safety issue.

What’s next
ANA and its organizational affiliates, comprised largely of specialty nursing associations, are poised today to share updates and explore areas for collaboration on key issues. ANA’s annual governance meeting, the Membership Assembly, begins June 21 to address a range of issues, including the visibility of nursing in the media, human trafficking, and aid in dying, as well as organizational-focused actions.

Stay up to date and join the conversation
For news on ANA’s MA and related activities, follow us on ANA’s Facebook and Twitter channels. To follow Hill Day, search #ANAHillDay on Twitter.

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