Monday September 16th 2019

RNs hone their advocacy skills through leadership program

The sixth annual American Nurses Advocacy Institute (ANAI) face-to-face sessions were held Oct. 5-7 in Washington, DC. Twenty-three nurses from 18 states who are interested in honing their political leadership skills kicked off this yearlong mentored program.

Longtime American Nurses Association (ANA) member Erin Murphy, MA, BSN, RN, currently Minnesota State House majority leader, presented a session on sustaining policy change. Mary Behrens, MSN, RN, FNP-C, former representative in the Wyoming Legislature, past ANA board member and ANA-PAC board member, shared her expertise by serving on the panel “Navigating the System and Politics 101.”

The sixth annual American Nurses Advocacy Institute in Washington, DC, empowered RNs from around the country to develop their political leadership skills.

Participants learned about the complexities of navigating the legislative process and the importance of conducting a political environmental scan to determine the viability of advancing legislation, and they participated in an engaging session on messaging.

Following a communications presentation, attendees broke into small groups to prepare talking points based on assigned topic and audience. Topics included safe staffing, removing regulatory barriers for APRNs and the new issue of community paramedics. Designated audiences included media, legislators and nurse colleagues.

Additionally, participants visited Capitol Hill to address two of ANA’s legislative priorities: the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 1821/S. 2353) and Durable Medical Equipment (H.R. 3833).

Attendees expressed their appreciation for the program. “The ANAI is giving me the opportunity to advance and refine my skills in political advocacy for nurses, nursing and patients,” said Sara McCumber, RN, a Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses member.

“At the end of the conference, we had the opportunity to visit aides on Capitol Hill,” said participant Jordan Colwell, MHA, BSN, RN, a Nebraska Nurses Association member. “It was a great way to practice what we learned and my favorite part.”

After leaving DC, participants engage in advocacy activities at the state level, supported by mentors and connected via conference calls every other month. “I am excited to keep on learning throughout this year with our conference calls and educational opportunities,” Colwell said.

— Janet Haebler is the associate director of State Government Affairs at ANA.

ANA resources

About ANAI

To learn more, visit www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/AdvocacyResourcesTools.

Applications are made through state nurses associations. To be considered, candidates must hold joint membership in their state and ANA.

ANA’s legislative priorities

Additional information about ANA-supported bills can be found at www.rnaction.org.

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