Change agents in action
“Thomas Jefferson said that Americans do not have government by the majority, but ‘we have government by the majority who participate,’” so said American Nurses Association (ANA) President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, to the 200-plus nurses gathered in Washington, DC, for ANA’s annual Lobby Day. “Well congratulations, because that is everyone in this room.”
Before heading to Capitol Hill, participants attended a breakfast briefing to learn more about ANA’s legislative agenda, including information on safe staffing, safe patient handling and mobility, durable medical equipment and home health. More than 400 nurses also are participating in legislative advocacy activities virtually.
Additionally, ANA presented U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) each with the association’s Congressional Nurse Advocate award.
“It’s been a pleasure to be your advocate in Washington,” said Collins, the lead sponsor of the Home Health Care Planning and Improvement Act, in accepting her award. “I’m so grateful for your recognition. I rely upon you so much to tell me what challenges we’re facing in the health care system” that affect our ability to deliver quality care.
Nurses planned to meet with Mikulski at her Senate office, where she will be presented with her award.
ANA also recognized Justin Gill, BSN, RN, a Washington State Nurses Association member, with the Nurse Advocate of the Year award.
“I’m truly honored to receive this award,” Gill said. “I am just one of many nurses who advocate for [measures] to support nurses, patients and health care.”
Lobby Day participants further received tips to help them make the most of their Capitol Hill visits, including that federal legislators want to hear personal stories from those with real-world experiences to help them understand the impact of proposed legislation.
Nurses were indeed geared up to send a strong message that nurses and quality care go hand in hand.
One nurse, ANA member Alicia Littlejohn, BSN, RN-BC, said, “I am here to advocate for all Americans and make a difference in my community. I want to ensure quality care is being given, especially with the ongoing changes in health care.” Littlejohn is a certified case manager with Children’s School Services, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC.
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