Nurses to Join Forces in Politics

Nurses General Nursing


I am taking a course called "nursing as a political force". Some of you may not agree with what I'd like to say, but I dont think it could hurt. From what my professor has told us, if every RN joined an association juch as ANA or their states nursing association and actively participated in legislation and voting, then more things for nurses would improve. There are currently 3 RN's in the United States Congress. The more voice nurses show, the more will get done. I know that I do not fully understand why some nurses do not vote or participate in this since I am not yet a nurse. But I plan to do this once I am. It makes sense to me that if nurses want better pay and better working conditions, then they have to take the initiative to join together and nag and write and call their Congressmen and state Governors. There is currently a bill (S 991) in the U.S Senate to make a law stating that every floor in a hospital must use an equation that includes number of patients, experience of the nurses, the acuity of the patients, and the amount of support staff available to determine how many RN's must be on duty at any given time. It has not been acted upon yet, but if nurses and the public contact their state's representatives and their offices about this bill, something might get done. Also, many states lack funding for nursing education. If current nurses as well as the general public lobbied to their state governors and congress to improve this, it could happen. There is something like 1.2 million RN's in the US. THat is a huge number that could have alot of power in legislation. ONly about 1/4 to 1/3 actively vote and/or participate in legislation of some kind. I ask everyone to consider this in order to make sure nurses of today and the future get the credit they deserve.

(All of the numbers etc. here I got from my professor in a Nursing as a Political Force class at an accredited university).

Thank you,



345 Posts

To be honest, I haven't joined because of the fee involved...I am usually broke and I think probably there are a lot of us in that particular boat.

gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I get what you are saying redshiloh and for many years I let that be me as well but I decided that I could not take anymore and joined. When I look at the difference our Union has made I cannot argue with being a member. Perhaps they should have a solid reason for membership such as offering professional indemnity. This means that the union can and does speak for us in labour disputes and has access to legal advice.

But I agree wholeheartedly about banding together. First though we have to put our divisions down. Forget about arguing who is "better" than whom and come to the realisation that we are all nurses with the same issues.


357 Posts

Originally posted by prairiegirl

ONly about 1/4 to 1/3 actively vote and/or participate in legislation of some kind. I ask everyone to consider this in order to make sure nurses of today and the future get the credit they deserve.

Laura [/b]

Can't understand why people don't vote. What better way to support the troops than to vote. Many Americans have died so we can vote.


2,709 Posts


Actually there are 2.7 million RNs in the US. We could be a thunderous voice if more of us got involved. I totally agree with you. As an active, involved member of the ANA, and my state nurses association, and the national labor union for RNs - the United American Nurses- I am one who has done my part.

And it hasnt cost me a lot of money or a lot of time or even a lot of sweat to do so.

Specializes in psych/mental health.

Laura: First, thank you for bringing up such an important subject. As JT has already said, there are over 2 million nurses across the country, imagine the impact! The bill you brought up, S991, is a great example of action we can take to improve our working conditions, encourage people to become nurses, maybe even bring back those who left the profession because of such horrible working conditions. I'd like to challenge everyone here to take a look at what this bill is about and to contact your senator and ask him/her to support and even co-sponsor it.

Have you seen the book From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public? It is by Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon and talks about how we can make our message heard. Remember, this is an election year and all those folks in Washington would like to be able to stay there. Send them a note and see how they stand on nursing and health issues. 15 minutes, that's all it takes.



15 Posts

Laura, You are not even a nurse yet what incredible insight!! I ask myself the same question. I am completing a BSN program and have been a RN for sixteen years... We are addressing similiar topics in class. I agree, if we all pulled our collective voices together... so MUCH could and would be better for nurses! We must get political and take the largest health care profession into the political arena and let our issues be known! I think many people who are nurses may not know how to lobby or are too busy trying to survive to do anything more.... Keep up your spirit!


4,516 Posts

Great thread and great posts...ITA!!! :)


1 Article; 1,146 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Education.

Laura - great post and thank you for the information. I am a nurse that has been involved politically over the course of my career. I agree with your position that if more nurses took a stand and involved themselves in the politics of nursing, our working conditions and professional standing might be a lot stronger than it is today. Unfortunately, for many nurses, the polictical arena is often the "unknown." We are a group of caring professionals and entering the political side of our profession can often be a scary thing.

However, if nurses involved themselves with their local associations and participated with the national association, we would have a stronger voice.

Nurses can get started and become more involved by doing the simple things:

1. join a committee at work that promotes better working conditions for nurses.

2. join your national and state associations and participate on a committee that are of interest to you.

3. VOTE! yes, that means register and VOTE!

I agree that money can be an issue, but in the long run, it is well worth the time and money spent.

Thanks again for posting such a meaningful thread. :p


127 Posts

This thread is actually funny. There has been at least three recent treads about how important it is that nurses should be working together for a common goal and about how nurse could be "a political force"; and they didn't need a professor to tell them.

The reality is that nurses would rather eat their young than work together. There is also the reality that nurses, like the general public, can't see the forest through the trees. They tend to see one specific issue such as the overtime law proposal, and fail to see what is really happening with the FTAA or the traditional right to protest.

S 991 is irrelevant once the FTAA is ratified - especially when combined with the H-1B program. All ratio laws will be meaningless once the industry and facilities can import all the nurses they want under the guise of the so-called nursing shortage. So a bill like S-991 is meaningless and any time spent on it is a waste.

As for the "states lack funding for nursing education", since when is it the State job to be funding advanced or post graduate education such as accounting or nursing? I have yet to find any. Moreover, educating more nurses is not the problem - RETAINING nurses is the problem which has nothing to do with education.

Regarding the general public, it is not going to do anything because the general public does not know or understand the truth, the reality or the facts. Educating the public is far more important at this stage of the game than educating more nurses.

I am all for nurses working together; but the problems are so advanced that working on just a State by State basis or district basis is meaningless. There is simply toooo many dollars going into toooo many politicians pockets. In the years it will take to get enough educated and into political office, the damage will have already been done. I consider the problems in nursing as nothing less than a crisis in America long term health care. Many things need to be stopped and reversed and it needs to be done NOW - not in 3 or 5 or 10 years. By then, the damage will have already been done. To work for the long term is fine - and we should work for the long term, but something needs to be done NOW.

I can't speak for any other state association, but the Wyoming state nurses association is hand in hand with the health care industry. For example, they worked aggressively with the state and the industry to get legislation through the state legislature that would allow the state to either pay for or give no interest educational loans to new nursing students, but have been done nothing toward the retention issue,. The state association, like the industry and the state its self, wants to keep pouring more and more public money into the bucket, but are doing nothing about fixing the hole in the bottom of the bucket. Retaining nurses is no only not a priority, but it doesn't even seem to be on the agenda. In Wyoming, the association is as big a problem as the industry its self.

As to the national association, where do you think the ANA and state associations get all their money? Only a small part of it comes from the members, a very large part of its funding is from businesses i.e.. insurance, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, etc. through advertising dollars. Do you actually think that the associations are going to bite the hand that feeds them and turn down these big dollars to actually represent the nurses? Don't be so naive. The nurses are the low men / women on the totem pole to these organizations, nurses don't have the money or the political pull that big business or the health care industry does.

As I started, there has been at least three recent treads on this important issue and suggested solutions. This threads should have been the most important and discussed topic on the forum, BUT THEY WEREN'T. Assuming that nurses could get past the point of eating their young, one suggestion was to use this forum as a means of working together and coordinating. As has repeatedly been pointed out, we not only need to educate the public, but we need to do it soon if we want them to see what is really going on and want their help.

As pointed out in the article "Nursing and the Health Care Crisis", (see ) nurses have a responsibility to the future of the nursing profession. And like it or not, today's nurses are going to have to make sacrifices if traditional nursing in America is going to continue. When you are in the hospital in 5 or 10 years, what kind of nursing do you want?

If any of us want a real future career as a nurse - or if we want a traditional nurses (someone who treats the whole person, mentally and physically - and has the necessary time to do so properly) when WE need health services, then we will have to make sacrifices and work together to that end. Many of these problems in nursing could be resolved in a matter of months; but only if everyone participate and works together and drastic action is taken. then and only then will you actually get the attention of the public at large or the attention of politicians.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X