CEO's Corner - August 2019 Connections

Terri Hinkley
The Building of a Legislative Program

Robin’s column this month speaks to the critical role nurses play in legislation impacting health care access and cost, the workplace, and workforce issues. For many years AMSN has had a legislative team of volunteers addressing legislative issues of importance to medical-surgical nurses. They’ve written position statements on topics relevant to med-surg nurses, they have signed on to letters from other nursing organizations and they tried to stay abreast of policy and legislative activities. During their annual strategic planning meeting in 2018, the Board of Directors discussed and embraced the critical role AMSN must play in advocating for medical-surgical nursing and their patients. Specific and actionable strategies were developed and we’re working diligently to deliver on these strategies and tactics.

The first step we took was to engage with a legislative expert with relevant health care/nursing knowledge. We were lucky to find Frank Purcell from Cardinal Waypoint to partner with. We sent out a call for volunteers to bolster the number of med-surg nurses that would be responsible for monitoring and addressing issues on behalf of AMSN. We surveyed you, our members, on the legislative issues of importance to you, and we built a legislative priority list based on your feedback. We conducted a two-day training program in DC for newly appointed legislative volunteers.

We have been building a program that allows AMSN to identify and respond to legislation at both the state and federal level. Our team of legislative advisors has grown to 31 individuals, who are monitoring activities in their assigned regions and bringing any relevant legislation back to the legislative team for discussion and action. We have a legislative team of 9 volunteers, chaired by Yalanda Comeaux, who meet regularly with our legislative consultant to address our legislative priorities.

As a result of this new structure and deliberate focus on AMSN’s advocacy strategy, AMSN was invited to speak at the kickoff to the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 initiative, where Linda Yoder, AMSN’s Immediate Past President was able to provide remarks. AMSN has had volunteers and/or staff attend each of the Future of Nursing Town Hall meetings in Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle and submit or present written statements. We have hosted a webinar on safe staffing, “Safe Staffing: Evidence, Issues, and Action for Med-Surg Nurses”, which is available as a recording in our online library, if you weren’t able to attend live and have another planned for November during Med-Surg Nurses Week. We have launched an online community in our AMSN Hub for members to hear about issues and news related to our advocacy efforts. Lastly, we have continued to notify membership about Title VIII funding and reauthorization legislation and recognition of the WWII-era Cadet Nurse Corps.

I hope this demonstrates our commitment to advocating for you and with you on issues of importance for med-surg nurses but also to educating you, our members, about the role you can play in legislative activities at your local, state and national level. Stay tuned, there are even more great things to come!


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