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2024 ANA Membership Assembly Passes Recommendations to Address Critical Issues in Nursing Practice

Removing Stigma in Seeking Mental Health Care and Improving Veterans’ Health Care Access of Top Concern


SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the representatives of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Membership Assembly, the official governing and voting body of ANA, recommended actions to address specific challenges to nurses’ practice and work environments. Removing cultural and organizational barriers as well as updating policies associated with seeking mental health care which promote stigma among nurses was one of the main concerns addressed. Others included creating improved standards of care for the unique needs of a growing veteran population and discussion involving revisions to the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (the Code).

Removing Barriers for Nurses in Seeking Mental Health Care
A recent study published in ANA’s scholarly journal, OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN), reveals nurses indicate a support system within their practice environment is a key reason influencing intent to stay within their current role. It also reinforces that more mental health support and resources are needed to improve nurse retention. The ANA Membership Assembly voted on the following recommendations to remove barriers that prohibit nurses from receiving appropriate mental health and well-being support:

  • Reduce mental health-related stigma in health care settings at all levels.
  • Accelerate changes to mental health reporting requirements and normalize the process for nurses to seek help for workplace-related stresses.
  • Encourage employers to foster an organizational culture that prioritizes health worker well-being, normalizes open communication about mental health challenges, supports prevention and promotes care-seeking as a sign of strength.
  • ANA will work in collaboration with the NCSBN to update and revise the guidelines and best practices for the Alternative to Discipline programs.

Improving Health Care Access for Veterans
Veterans come with a unique set of challenges and social determinants associated with active military service such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), toxic chemical and airborne exposures, and higher rates of substance abuse disorders among other challenges. For that reason, ANA membership delegates voted on the following recommendations:

  • Considers the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCA) as a supplement to care delivery by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), not a replacement for that care.  ANA shall advocate for policies that ensure a seamless care system between the VHA and VCCA.
  • Work to improve nursing knowledge relating to the unique healthcare needs of the veterans population and their families.
  • Continues efforts to remove all restrictions to nursing practice within VHA and allow all nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training to meet the health access needs of all veterans and improve timeliness of care.

Representatives also provided feedback and insights on the upcoming revisions to the Code, which is currently open for public comment through July 31, 2024. The revised Code is scheduled to launch in January 2025.

ANA has an ethical obligation to take every action to ensure the professional success and personal well-being of nurses. It will ceaselessly continue to advocate and work on behalf of the nation’s more than 5 million registered nurses. Learn more about ANA’s Membership Assembly by visiting here.


About the American Nurses Association

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 5 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit

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