Primary elections are being held across the country and it will be a mad dash until we reach the national election date of Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Currently, we have six nurses in the U.S. Congress, but we can use more. We can also use some “nurse thinking” in state legislatures, local municipalities, and on health system boards.
Healthcare continues to be a national issue and the public voices concerns regarding safety, quality, and costs. And most nurse managers I know are waiting to see how the Affordable Care Act dust will settle. Stop waiting--no one has a better understanding of healthcare delivery systems than nurse managers and clinical nurses, and we can begin now to increase nurse representation in policy-making arenas.
Consult your state nurse executive, nurse manager, or nurse associations to identify if nurses are competing in local, state, or national elections. Inform yourself about campaign issues. Discuss these issues with nurse colleagues to gather their thoughts and support. Support a candidate by sending a campaign contribution, attending a rally, or making phone calls to get out the vote.
Encourage fellow nurses to serve as a candidate in local elections or on community boards. If nursing is currently not represented on your health system Board of Trustees or Advisory Boards, you might want to write a letter or make a suggestion to board stakeholders and decision makers to add a nurse.
Let’s identify and create opportunities to get nurses to the policy-making table. The community and healthcare need our expertise.
Dennis R. Sherrod, EdD, RN