As one of the newest trustees of the American Nurses Association Political Action Committee (ANA-PAC), I was honored to help represent the 2.9 million American nurses at one of the most significant events in the history of the United States of America—the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I began this amazing journey to witness inaugural events, knowing the significance might well change our country and nursing as we know it. The profoundness of these moments will never be forgotten.
As vice-chair of ANA-PAC, I see firsthand how important it is for ANA to be involved in the political process. Each election cycle, ANA-PAC endorses candidates who have demonstrated strong support for nursing and healthcare issues. In the 2007-2008 election cycle, ANA-PAC endorsed 103 candidates for federal office—this endorsement represents the ANA’s highest seal of approval. Of these, 88% of ANA’s endorsed candidates won, including President Obama.
Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, there is one thing that we can all agree on: As nurses, we only want the very best for our profession. Although we have gained ground through legislation on the Hill, there is still much work to be done. The hope and inspiration that the American people see in the new Obama administration is con-tagious. I hope that nurses and patients from every walk of life are excited to embrace the challenges we face now, and in the future, as a country united.
I have long been an advocate for change. Change in the nursing profession. Change in nursing education. Change in nursing practice. I choose to embrace change, embrace new ideas, and welcome improvements and challenges to the status quo. After all, isn’t that what brought us to this point in our profession? Nursing, it is still all about progress.
Experiencing this historical election and inaugural events as an ANA-PAC trustee has changed me. I will be a stronger advocate and stand up with more determination and conviction. I will continue to make a difference. Will you join me?
The ANA staff and lobbyists work tirelessly to advocate for the nursing community. They help us identify leaders in our country willing to help change health care for our citizens. After serving my first 6 months on the ANA-PAC Board of Trustees, I am truly humbled at how active ANA is in the legislative process and at how much I did not know about our role at ANA. Did you know we took a position on every candidate in every race based solely on where they stood on health care? There is a very specific process and there are very specific questionnaires that, yes, even President Obama filled out to win ANA’s endorsement. Did you know ANA-PAC spent over $1 million in education, endorsements, and lobbying efforts that resulted in true legislative changes for nurses?
The ANA-PAC is leading the charge to represent the vital interests of nurses on Capitol Hill. From safe staffing to the nursing shortage, ANA-PAC has been proactive getting issues to the table. But we need each nurse to ensure ANA’s voice is counted in the decisions that will be made over the coming year. Who better than nurses to advocate to Congress about the issues that affect our profession and our patients.
Please sign up to be part of ANA’s grassroots advocacy program, Nurses Strategic Action Team (N-STAT). There is no cost to ANA members. As a benefit of membership, you will receive notification on key bills and easy-to-use tools to contact your representatives. To sign up, go to www.nursingworld.org/takeaction.
Join us to be a part of the change.
Lori Lioce is a member of the Alabama State Nurses Association and serves on the ANA-PAC Board of Trustees.