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Hundreds of Nurses Attend ANA Hill Day to Urge Congress to Improve their Work Environment and Remove Practice Barriers

Inadequate Staffing, Mandatory Overtime and Pay Inequity are among the critical workplace issues affecting the nursing profession


SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, nearly 500 members of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and nursing students from across the country arrived at the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to improve work environment challenges and practice barriers that have plagued the nation’s nursing workforce for decades and continue to go unaddressed. This effort is the cornerstone of ANA’s annual “Hill Day” to advocate on behalf of the more than 5 million registered nurses nationwide.

A key legislative priority this year for ANA is ensuring long-term care (LTC) facilities are appropriately staffed. ANA is actively engaging Congressional leaders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other key stakeholders to protect recently finalized staffing rules for long-term care facilities and to refine approaches to implementing staffing standards. The final rule issued by CMS is facing ongoing legislative and legal efforts to overturn or rescind the rule. ANA believes the regulation is critical, establishing minimum nurse-to-patient ratios and requiring a 24 hour Registered Nurse (RN) presence in Medicare and Medicaid funded skilled nursing facilities.

“While ANA has a handful of legislative priorities this year, we want to emphasize the importance of staffing in LTC and all other settings where nurses work. For those with loved ones in long-term care, knowing that they receive the best possible care provides peace of mind, and we at ANA want to ensure that we advocate for policies that will allow nurses to provide exemplary care in optimal work conditions” said ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Ultimately, the nurse staffing crisis requires a national dialogue and ongoing collaboration between nurses, Congressional leaders, and other key stakeholders to support our nursing workforce, our patients, and our nation’s health and well-being. We thank CMS for their leadership and support in this effort.”

Solutions to address the nurse staffing crisis require an understanding of the work environment itself. Workforce and work environment issues, such as pay inequity, mandatory overtime, workplace violence, and burnout that results from these issues, have exacerbated the nurse staffing crisis. ANA calls on Congress to improve nurse staffing, and the work environment through the following actions:

  • Increase funding for nursing schools through grants to raise faculty salaries, creating resources to eliminate the pay gap between faculty and acute care staff for recruitment and retention purposes.
  • Enact legislation to prohibit mandatory overtime to limit nurses from being forced into working double shifts and protect patient safety.
  • Implement safe staffing standards to ensure that patients have timely access to quality care and achieve positive health outcomes delivered by nurses.
  • Revise outdated laws that hinder Medicare and Medicaid patients’ access to care from advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working to the full extent of their education and clinical experience as allowed by state law. 

“Nurses raise their voices to improve working conditions and, ultimately, improve the profession and our overall health care system. When policymakers put nursing priorities into practice, the profession and patients benefit. We are so thankful to have hundreds of nurses participate in this Hill Day as an opportunity to hear directly about their primary concerns and what we must do about them. An ongoing concern is the nurse staffing crisis which serves as a perfect example of an issue which, without clear understanding of how it impacts nurses through their own words and voices, would not be adequately addressed through policy” said ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

“Nurses are a critical part of the health care system and deserve our support and respect. Thank you to all the nurses from Oregon and across the country who travelled to the US Capitol to advocate on behalf of their noble profession. As a co-chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, I am thrilled and honored to receive the President’s Award from ANA. I will continue to stand with nurses and their patients,” said Representative Suzanne Bonamici D-OR.

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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

About ANA Hill Day

ANA’s Hill Day on June 27 is part of the Annual Membership Assembly meeting where nurses from across the country come to provide guidance to the organization and to advocate on behalf of nurses top legislative and regulatory priorities. This year the four main issue areas for Hill Day include protecting minimum safe staffing rules for long term care facilities, eliminating mandatory overtime, supplementing nurse faculty salaries to improve recruitment, and retention and eliminating barriers to advanced practice under Medicare and Medicaid.

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