Five Important Advocacy Issues Nurses Are Tackling Today
Before you can get involved politically, you need to understand the issues. Read about some of the key political concerns of nurses.
When you turn on the news in the morning, you’re likely to hear about political issues that can impact the work we do as nurses and the lives of our patients. Here’s a primer on where ANA stands on these issues and current legislation that you can support.
According to ANA’s 2013-2016 Health Risk Appraisal, more than half of nurses regularly work shifts longer than 10 hours. Research suggests that those long days can lead to burnout and errors that can put both nurses and their patients at risk. ANA believes that the best people to determine safe staffing guidelines within a hospital or organization are the direct care nurses themselves. That’s why the bipartisan Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act of 2018 (H.R. 5052, and S.2446) would require Medicare-participating hospitals to establish a committee, composed of at least 55 percent direct care nurses, to create staffing plans for their unit. Learn more about this issue and use this form to encourage your lawmakers to support this bill.
Education funding for nurses
As the largest health care profession, nurses are in demand and will continue to be as the U.S. population ages. In fact, the Pew Research Center estimates that from now until the year 2030, 10,000 people per day will turn 65. That means we’ll need a strong nursing workforce to care for this aging population, in addition to other patients. The bipartisan Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (S. 1109/H.R. 959) would extend funding for nursing scholarships, diversity grants, and more financial opportunities for qualified individuals interested in becoming nurses. Learn more about the bill and urge your lawmakers to support it.
One out of every four nurses has been assaulted at work, and nurses are more likely to experience workplace violence than prison guards or police offers. Many instances of nurse abuse have been in the news recently, including the high-profile story of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels who was shoved and wrongly arrested for protecting a patient’s privacy. Read more about this urgent issue and considering signing the ANA’s pledge to express your concern.
Public health issues
The rights of patients and the general health of the public are important concerns for nurses and ANA. That’s why critical public health issues are an important topic for nurses to get involved in, including:
- Gun violence research: Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was unable to study gun violence the way they do other public health threats. However, a spending bill recently lifted that ban on such studies, while failing to direct funding to move these studies forward. Fill out this form to send a message to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to restart gun violence research immediately.
- The opioid epidemic: For people with an opioid addiction, getting medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can save lives. MAT uses FDA-approved medications in conjunction with counseling and behavior therapy to overcome addiction. The Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 3692) would give clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives the credentials to administer this lifesaving treatment. Use this form letter to encourage your representatives to pass this bill, and, if applicable, please include your own personal experiences of treating opioid-addicted patients.
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Executive Summary American Nurses Association Health Risk Appraisal. (2017). Retrieved May 15, 2018.
Hawkins, D. (2017, November 01). Utah nurse, violently arrested for doing her job, reaches $500,000 settlement. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
Stimpfel, A. W., Sloane, D. M., & Aiken, L. H. (2012, November). The Longer the Shifts for Hospital Nurses, the Higher the Levels of Burnout and Patient Dissatisfaction.
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