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Advocacy: It Is What We Do

Stokowski, Laura A. MS, RN1; Sansoucie, Debra A. EdD, RN, NNP-BC2; McDonald, Karen Q. MSN, NNP-BC3; Stein, Joyce BSN, RN4; Robinson, Cheryl DNS, NNP-BC5; Lovejoy, Arlene MS, RN6

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3181d50db8
Professional Growth and Development

Our nation is on the verge of change in the healthcare system. Although we do not yet know how this change will affect our patients, our practice, or us, we do know that with change comes opportunity. We have the opportunity to become more involved in health policy and advocacy than ever before. Many nurses are already taking the first steps, which are recognizing the importance of advocacy and articulating the issues that they believe are of greatest importance. To communicate their views to the right elected officials, nurses need to be aware of how government operates and how legislation is created and shepherded through the legislative process. Nurses must learn the fundamental principles of expressing themselves and making clear requests for what they want of their elected officials. With these skills, every nurse can become an advocate in the political arena and partner with other individuals or groups to facilitate change. Nurses who find this experience rewarding and exhilarating can pursue additional education in health policy and advocacy.

1Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, Falls Church, Virginia; 2University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor; 3College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile; 4Stony Brook University School of Nursing, Stony Brook, New York; 5Chrisitiana Care Health System, Newark, Delaware; and 6LAC + USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

Address correspondence to Laura A. Stokowski, 8317 Argent Circle, Fairfax Station, VA 22039;

© 2010 National Association of Neonatal Nurses