Nearly 400 nurses from across the country gathered June 15 in Washington, D.C. for ANA Hill Day, as they sought to build support for four of ANA’s key federal policy issues: addressing the nurse staffing crisis, removing barriers to APRN full practice authority; building and sustaining the nursing workforce; and understanding the value of nurses and health care worker burnout. This enthusiastic day of advocacy takes place in advance of the ANA Membership Assembly meeting, June 16-17.
ANA Hill Day kicked off with a breakfast briefing and Fireside Chat between Representative Jen Kiggans (R-VA), and ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.
A board-certified adult-geriatric primary care nurse practitioner, Kiggans serves as a vice chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to advancing policies to support the nation’s 4.4 million RNs.
In conversation with Mensik Kennedy, Kiggans recalled her own first visit to Capitol Hill in support of nursing issues. “That was so impactful for me … being able to walk over there and talk to the people that put policy in place and that can push the voting buttons. That means a lot,” she said.
Kiggans urged attendees to build on the connections they make during Hill Day. “Keep up the lines of communication. Don't just stop [with] today,” she emphasized. “Make sure you're reaching out to them at home, invite [Congressional members and staff] to nursing events… It's a great impact that you're making.”
Mensik Kennedy and Kiggans later had a live broadcast via ANA’s Instagram page about how to get nurses more involved in advocacy.
Attendees then fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet in person with members of Congress and Congressional staff.
Whether first time or veteran attendees, Hill Day participants were excited to discuss key nursing issues in person with policymakers.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for nurses to advocate to our top officials about the highest concerns of nursing so that they support us,” said Angie Kamermayer, DNP, APRN-CNS, NEA-BC, president of the Oklahoma Nurses Association.
While all advocacy efforts matter, face-to-face meetings carry special weight, said Tomekia Luckett, PhD, RN, a member of the Mississippi Nurses Association. “It's important for us to be here because it’s one thing when you read statistics or numbers on a piece of paper, but when you're live in front of this legislator or [Congressional staff member] they can not only hear but see your story,” she said.
Hill Day participants urged support on four priority health policy issues:
- Addressing the Nurse Staffing Crisis
- Improving Care and Access to Nurses Act (ICAN) H.R. 2713
- Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 2663/ S.1176)
- National Nursing Workforce Center Act S.1150/H.R. 2411
ANA supports enforceable safe nurse staffing standards, including acuity and setting-specific ratios, as an approach to promote the recruitment and retention of nurses and improve quality outcomes for patients. ANA urges lawmakers to improve nurse staffing and the nursing work environment by enacting legislation to prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses; requiring OSHA to issue a national health care workplace violence standard; and implementing nurse staffing standards to ensure nurses have the time and resources they need to deliver quality care and positive patient outcomes.
ICAN promotes patient access to healthcare services delivered by the provider of their choice by removing outdated Medicare and Medicaid barriers on APRNs. The ICAN Act will permanently remove the barriers waived during the PHE.
The National Nursing Workforce Center Act expands the authority of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish health workforce research centers and specifically requires that HRSA establish a center focused on nursing.
The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act requires the Department of Labor to issue an interim, and later final, occupational safety and health standard that requires employers to take actions to protect nurses and other health care workers from workplace violence.
Read more about these issues at RNAction.org.
The 2023 ANA Membership Assembly, a meeting of the association’s governing and official voting body, begins Friday, June 16 to consider a range of key nursing issues, conduct the business of the association, and elect national leaders.
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