Nurses in policy

The presentation by the nursing students about the importance of nurses with higher education and nurses in policy was incredibly interesting. If anybody knows about what goes on in hospitals and health care settings, and how patients are faring with the current health care system, it is nurses.

I read a couple of articles online, and found that there are 6 nurses in congress! I’m a little unfamiliar with politics (unfortunately), so I didn’t know this and thought it was really cool.

One Congresswoman nurse who has done influential work is Congresswoman Lois Capps.  (D-CA). On her website, she says “once a nurse, always a nurse”, and discusses how she is always using her nursing background when dealing with health care issues and policy. She is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and believes it is a crucial step in fixing the broken health care system in the United States. Some of her main priorities related to healthcare include heart disease, maternal, child and infant health (!!), cancer, and work-force issues. She a founding member of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, which provides a forum for congress to discuss issues affecting the nursing community. In addition, she is a strong ally of the LGBT community.

She is currently sponsoring legislation concerned with domestic violence survivors, health education in schools, and medicare, among tons of other issues. Check out her website to learn more!

Lois Capps: http://capps.house.gov

Congressional Nursing Caucus: http://www.rnaction.org/site/PageServer?pagename=nstat_nursing_caucus

2 thoughts on “Nurses in policy

  1. Awesome! Thank you for this! I am a huge supported of the ACA and I think great things are being done with it; it was very cleverly implemented because it gave some pharmaceutical companies very good deals, so they backed it, and “Big Pharma” is a supporter of some people in Congress, which helped it pass. It’s all about who you know. It is good that we have congressional representation. I didn’t know we had any!

  2. Cami-

    Great job looking out for nurses in Congress! I’m always thinking about nurses in local policy (like institution, city, state) or global (the world!), but I didn’t even think about countrywide. Actually, that’s a lie. I DO think about nurse practitioners and state/national health policy often because I think someday I will go back to school to become a master’s level nurse. The rights of NPs vary from state to state so I think about what they fight for often–NP practice rights. Regarding RNs, I did (prior to our presentation) think of policy that is more oriented toward client care and what will be best for both clients and RNs. I hate that I think about these two roles in different ways because both NPs and RNs are nurses. Like you noted, nursing is a profession. You never leave it no matter what type of role you’re in. I met a retired nurse a few years ago, and she corrected me. “I’m not a RETIRED nurse. Just a nurse. Once a nurse, always a nurse” she said.

    Lois Capps’ late husband was in Congress as well. This likely influenced her path in Congress. Hopefully, for the rest of us, we will catch nursing students early on in their career to become passionate about such things (don’t need a husband in politics!). We used to have legislation days at the GA Capitol last year, but I haven’t heard anything about them this year. It would be good to divide each class (junior, senior) into 2-3 different sections to advocate for issues that are important to RNs and RN students. Now if only we can get the SON administration to approve this in the curriculum…

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