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Political Nurse Advocate - Pamela Robbins, MSN, RN

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Pamela Sue Robbins (Pam) is a Masters prepared registered nurse on a mission and she is a force that creates forces! She has been a voice of advocacy for nurses for over 30 years. Most recent, Pam was one of the keynote speakers and organizers for the “NursesTakeDC2018” Rally in Washington for safe staffing ratios. How did she get to be one of the voices and faces that have come to represent millions of us??...What is her back story?

Political Nurse Advocate - Pamela Robbins, MSN, RN

Pam Robbins graduated in 1978 from the St. Joseph School of Nursing. She went on to work at Provena St. Joseph Hospital from 1979 until 2002 when she was unlawfully terminated from her position there. Pam, who states that she has always been interested in nursing policy and political activism, was elected as co-chair and then chair of the Illinois Nurses Association and served as the collective bargaining unit, developing contract language, for registered nurses at the Medical Center. During that time, Pam utilized her opportunity to complain about inadequate staffing numbers which lead to delayed treatment of patients. She asked fellow nurses to record staffing shortages and delay in treatment as well.

During the investigation process, Pam helped to organize nurses and their stories in discussions with Administration at the Medical Center, The Illinois Nurses Association union, and legal personnel. As a direct result, the Medical Center terminated several nurses including Pam herself. She filed a lawsuit against the Medical Center in violation of the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act. Pam won this lawsuit and then began to follow a different career path which allowed her to focus on her passion.

Pam Robbins has made it her mission to educate and encourage nurses to become politically active as "nurse constituents advising their legislators on how to vote regarding healthcare policy". In following this mission Pam remained active in her local and state Nurses Association. She has been lobbying legislation in support of nurses for decades. She was elected President of the Illinois State Nurses Association. She was hired by the Illinois Nurses Association as Practice Director and Lobbyist. She went on to obtain her Master's Degree in Nursing in 2013 from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She works as adjunct faculty for Millikin University educating graduate nurse anesthetist students on Healthcare Policy and Politics.

Pam has a passion for nurse political advocacy and notes that nurses are not educated until the Master's Degree level on this. She believes it should be taught at a much earlier stage in our education. She has been a consummate force to educate nurses about safe staffing and creation of protocols to maintain staff and patient safety.

Pam encourages nurses to become political advocates using 3 steps.

1. Know this Issue at hand. Educate yourself on safe staffing ratios, if that is the problem in your state or hospital. Know what the laws say and dictate. Know what hospital policy and the Board of Nursing in your state dictates.

2. Know your state legislator. Find out who your state legislator or running official is.

3. Know how to educate your state legislator through sharing what happens during your workday. Educate regarding problems and perceived threats to the safety of nurses or patients. Understand that legislators do not know what we know. They are not at the bedside and do not provide the care of patients. We are responsible to educate others about our profession and its gaps.

In promoting this, Pam has partnered with the Show Me Your Stethoscope Foundation in supporting several rallies for safe staffing and nurse safety. She was an active organizer and Keynote speaker in the NursesTakeDC 2018 Rally in Washington DC and has teamed up with several nursing "forces" to empower nurses to put their "white caps" in the political advocacy arena.

So, how does one voice become the strength and voice for so many of us?

  • Educate yourself and others!
  • Spread the word!
  • Be heard!
  • Be strong in supporting what is right for ourselves and our patients!
  • Know that nurses matter!

Thank you, Pam, for all that you have done for our profession over the past 3 decades! The allnurses team was very happy to meet and talk with you at the 2018 NursesTakeDC Rally. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge at the Legislative Educational Session you led to help empower nurses to become political advocates and take action that will promote changes for the betterment of the nursing profession. Thank you for your driving force...thank you for your passion and perseverance!

Pam used this as part of her session...



John F. Kennedy said this in 1962 when sharing with the country his ambitions for space travel to the moon. It is up to "us" to lead the way "now" in decisions finding the proper balance of nurses to patients receiving the appropriate skilled nursing care by qualified professional nurses based on their individual patient health care needs.

Nurses must include steps of political advocacy as they ascend the summit directing, leading and shaping the healthcare system. Why? Because a world without nurses is not a place I wish to live in, or for my family or friends. Nurses are assets to the healthcare delivery system and it is time we are heard. It is time we must lead!



8 Likes, 5 Followers, 33 Articles, 48,938 Visitors, and 117 Posts.

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I loved this, however, the audio in this video is terrible. I'll search online and see if I can hear more of what Ms. Robbins has to say.

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I applaud her efforts in advocacy and agree that it should be taught earlier than at the Masters level. I hope that the work environment will one day change but is has been my experience that (just like her) those who speak up will eventually get fired, blackballed etc. Not everyone is in a position to put themselves in the line of fire for this and so do not (understandably).

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