Monday August 20th 2018

ANA’s policy development process – for and by ANA members

Member involvement in the development of professional policies is critical. Your voice can and should be heard in the American Nurses Association’s policy work.  While there are many ways in which professional policies are developed (e.g., professional issues panel, ANA Board of Directors), ANA’s Reference Committee has a key role in the development of ANA policy.

Watch your email for an opportunity to contribute to the identification of strategic policy topics via the annual Call for Reference Proposals, which opens on Dec. 15.

What are professional policies?
Professional policies, which represent members’ collective thinking, outline ANA’s official positions and provide guidance to the profession of nursing.

Why does ANA need professional policies?
Professional policies advance ANA’s mission: Nursing Advancing Our Profession to Improve Health for All; state ANA’s position; support ANA’s legislative, regulatory and public outreach efforts; and inform how, or if, ANA should engage in activities related to a given topic or issue.

Who is involved in the development of ANA’ professional policies?
ANA policy development is a team effort—for and by ANA members. While ANA’s Reference Committee facilitates the policy development process at the annual Membership Assembly meeting, all ANA members have the opportunity to ensure their voice is heard and their views are shared by actively engaging with their constituent or state nurses association in recommending strategic policy topics to support the needs of the nursing profession.

Why is it important for ANA members to be involved in the development of professional policies?
When members are engaged, it provides an opportunity to contribute directly to the development of professional policy; enhances communication and transparency; fosters collaboration and innovation; and results in professional policies that are more effective and better articulate the views of the broader nursing community.

How does ANA’s Membership Assembly inform the development of professional policy?
ANA’s governing body, the Membership Assembly, is charged with setting policies and positions for the association. Annually, the Membership Assembly considers and acts on proposals submitted to the Reference Committee by C/SNAs, organizational affiliates, and the ANA Board of Directors.

What policy topics are typically considered by ANA’s Membership Assembly?
While information about emerging trends (both opportunities and challenges) that inform the need for professional policies comes from a variety of sources, member input is of utmost importance. The topics or issues that are considered by the Membership Assembly:
• Have national relevance
• Align with one of ANA’s three Strategic Goals for 2017-2020:
1. Increase the number and engagement of nurses with ANA.
2. Stimulate and disseminate innovation that increases recognition of the value of nursing and drives improvement in health and health care.
3. Leverage the ANA Enterprise to position nurses as integral partners in consumers’ health and health care journeys.
• Address a critical gap where ANA doesn’t have a relevant policy or the existing policy is outdated.

How can you participate?
You are encouraged to collaborate with your C/SNA to identify strategic policy topics and develop proposals for submission to the Reference Committee. Your input will inform the professional policy issues identified for discussion by ANA’s Membership Assembly at its meeting in June 2017.

Remember, the Call for Reference Proposals opens on Dec 15.   You can also send an email to with the following information, which will be shared with the Reference Committee: proposed policy topic, the problem(s) that would be addressed via this proposed policy topic, and why this proposed policy topic is necessary for the nursing profession.


ANA resources

ANA Reference Committee:

2016 Membership Assembly coverage and Reference Committee’s work: May/June 2016 issue of The American Nurse

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