Monday September 16th 2019

Sharing political leadership gems ‘across the pond’

American Nurses Advocacy Institute serves as model program

As RNs in the United States and around the globe seek to develop their political leadership skills to better advocate for patients and health policy, the American Nurses Association offers a program that has attracted international interest. In April, ANA hosted the visit of Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar Aisha Holloway, PhD, BSc (Hons) Nursing, PGCHE, from Edinburgh, Scotland, to exchange information about ANA’s American Nurses Advocacy Institute, now in its seventh year.

In October, 25 RNs attended the American Nurses Advocacy Institute and participated in Congressional visits in Washington, DC.

Holloway holds the position of senior lecturer/CNO clinical academic research fellow with the School of Health in Social Sciences, at The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. The focus of the program in which she has been engaged is health policy, advocacy and political leadership in nursing. The scholarship is provided by the Florence Nightingale Foundation to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who want to become leaders and contribute to the rapidly changing world of health care.

“I have long been interested in the innovative work of the advocacy institute here in the United States, and how the nursing profession can shape and influence health policy and ultimately improve patient outcomes,” Holloway said. “We can learn a great deal from the progress that our American colleagues have been making, and can look to the work of ANA as a model of best practice in engaging in the political arena.”

The ANAI was created to develop nurses into stronger political leaders and expand grassroots capacity for the nursing profession and health care. Upon completion of the yearlong mentored program, it is expected that each ANAI fellow will be able to provide counsel to their state nurses association in establishing legislative and regulatory priorities, recommend strategies for execution of the advancement of a policy issue, and educate members about political realities. ANAI fellows will also be called upon to assist in advancing ANA’s political agenda.

Class size is limited; since its launch, 136 RNs from 38 states have completed the program. The latest class of 25, representing 18 states, participated in face-to-face sessions in Washington, DC, Oct. 11-13. Time included visits on Capitol Hill to discuss two of ANA’s priority issues: the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act 2015 (S. 578, H.R. 1342) and the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083/S. 1132). Participants described the training session on messaging for different audiences, including legislators, regulators, media and colleagues, as one of the highlights.

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

— Janet Haebler is senior associate director in State Government Affairs at ANA.

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