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Letter from Nursing Leaders

An Open Letter from Past Presidents of the American Nurses Association

Cipriano, Pamela RN; Daley, Karen RN; Patton, Rebecca RN; Blakeney, Barbara RN; Foley, Mary RN; Betts, Virginia Trotter RN; Cole, Eunice RN; Nichols, Barbara RN

Author Information
AJN, American Journal of Nursing: November 2020 - Volume 120 - Issue 11 - p 11
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000721240.18940.d5
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Abstract

The 2020 presidential election will be one of the most consequential our nation has ever faced. Over the course of more than four decades, we, the undersigned past presidents of the American Nurses Association (ANA), led the nation's nurses without deference to specialty or affiliation on matters of policy and politics. Instead, our work was grounded in the tenets of the ANA's Code of Ethics for Nurses and the principles of its Social Policy Statement, venerated guideposts that establish nurses' professional values and direct their practice, embodied in a commitment to serve all society. Our body of work compels us to speak out and express our support for the presidential candidate who we believe will best serve the people of this nation—Joe Biden.

We believe that Americans have a choice on the ballot this year between a candidate who will be inclusive and restore a moral compass with empathy for human beings or a candidate who has sown chaos and division while showing no compassion for the American people. The Trump administration has us literally fighting for our lives as we face down the coronavirus pandemic while sparring over our economic futures, access to affordable and equitable health care, racial equality, social justice, and immigration policy.

From bedsides to boardrooms, professional nurses across this country have always served the health care needs of our people. We know firsthand the value, knowledge, and skills nurses bring to the care of others. Perhaps more than at any other time over the past century, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the essential nature of nurses' contributions to the health promotion, illness prevention, and compassionate healing of all people in need. It has also laid bare the lack of a coordinated national response to COVID-19, which has failed nurses and all Americans. A failure to promote and enforce lifesaving coronavirus mitigation strategies through organized, consistent, and evidence-based guidelines and the silencing or denigrating of scientific and medical experts and institutions have denied critical public health safeguards for us all.

Utilizing nursing's core principles, the eight of us have analyzed the positions of each party's presidential candidate. Without question, the Democratic Party platform aligns best with nurses' ethical values and numerous ANA positions on important issues such as promoting public health, health care access, ensuring racial equality and social justice, ending the epidemic of gun violence, providing humane treatment for those seeking refuge from danger, and securing a clean energy future, among others.

The choice is clear. As national nurse leaders, we strongly support Vice President Joe Biden for president. He will safeguard the future and health of our nation. Join us in support of the Biden–Harris ticket!

Signed, past presidents of the ANA in support of Biden–Harris:

Pamela Cipriano, RN, 2014-2018, Virginia

Karen Daley, RN, 2010-2014, Massachusetts

Rebecca Patton, RN, 2006-2010, Ohio

Barbara Blakeney, RN, 2002-2006, Massachusetts

Mary Foley, RN, 1999-2002, California

Virginia Trotter Betts, RN, 1992-1996, Tennessee

Eunice Cole, RN, 1982-1986, California

Barbara Nichols, RN, 1978-1982, Wisconsin

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