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In contemporary society, representatives of different industries increasingly cooperate as the interdependence of their activities is becoming more and more evident. The same applies to the relationship between policy and legislation, on the one hand, and health care and nursing, on the other. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) demonstrates a proactive attitude towards enacting laws regarding nursing. This paper analyses the political function and significance of the AACN identify the three legislative initiatives it has formally supported, discusses the appropriateness and usefulness of these initiatives, and tweets on one of them.
Political Significance of AACN
The AACN suggests that nurses of at least a bachelor’s level should be politically aware. According to Thompson and Donaway (2018), it expects BSN-prepared nurses to be “involved in political processes that would influence healthcare policy” (p. 161). Thus, to effectively perform their function, nurses should not only have professional skills and knowledge but also have a political impact. This position is also reflected in the AACN’s organizational and collaborative activities.
It is a member of the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC) that actively expresses political statements about legislative developments and also “works directly with government agencies and lawmakers” to strengthen its influence (“AACN Legislation/Regulatory Action,” 2019, para. 1). It should be concluded that the primary political function of the AACN and other nursing organizations is to shape political processes related to healthcare.
Legislative Initiatives Supported by the AACN
The NCC that includes the AACN supports certain legislative initiatives and expresses special thanks to its promoters. For instance, the Coalition supported the House of Representatives in the passing of the Nursing Workforce Development Act of 2019 (H.R. 728). The law implies launching several nursing development programs to ensure an effective and differentiated patient care delivery system. This measure will have a particularly positive impact on people living “in rural and underserved areas” (“AACN Legislation/Regulatory Action,” 2019, para. 5).
The NCC also supported a law recognizing nurses who served during the Second World War and providing “them with honorable discharges, medal privileges, and veteran burial benefits (“AACN Legislation/Regulatory Action,” 2019, para. 14). Finally, nursing organizations have welcomed changes to legislation on the medical use of opioids in treatment that will allow for more flexibility in its application given the opioid use disorder increasing prevalence (“AACN Legislation/Regulatory Action,” 2019). Thus, the AACN and other NCC members provide valuable feedback that enables legislators to assess their performance.
Author’s Position and Corresponding Tweet
It should be noted that the issue of education and training of nurses is particularly relevant. It is not surprising that the legislator’s efforts to improve this situation have resonated with the nursing community. The Nursing Workforce Development Act of 2019 is, in my opinion, a necessary regulation that meets the most urgent demands. It will provide nurses with new instruments and knowledge to perform highly qualified patient care.
The recognition and awarding of World War II nurses is also a justifiable and fair measure, which is difficult to object to. The same applies to changes in legislation on opioid use, as the drug has extremely dangerous potential for physical and psychological addiction. However, I would like to tweet exactly the first legislative initiative mentioned above:
“The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Nursing Workforce Development Act of 2019, which, through the introduction of nursing development programs, could be a new step in the nursing profession. It’s our responsibility to pass it in the Senate! Share it with everyone who cares.”
Nursing organizations must have political influence on changes in legislation concerning their activities and related areas. The example of AACN and NCC demonstrates that a dialogue between the legislative authorities and representatives of the healthcare sector is possible and productive. The AACN and other nursing organizations express their political statements regarding effective legislative measures and believe that political involvement should be an inseparable characteristic of the nursing profession.
AACN Legislation/Regulatory Action. (2019). Web.
Thompson, M., & Donaway, A. (2018). Transitioning from RN to MSN: Principles of professional role development. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.