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Copy of Nursing and Political Activism

Ethics Presentation

Cathy Graham

on 8 March 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Nursing and Political Activism

Nursing and Political Activism
Purpose and Issue Statement
Explore and discuss the role of nurses in political activism and influencing public policy
How can nurses best enact their advocacy role?
What impact does political activism have on the profession of nursing?
"The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the general public.”
Organizing and speaking with one voice to influence policy initiatives pertaining to health care reform
Nurses can best enact their advocacy role through political activism
Ethical Framework
Respect for
(Lancaster & Stanhope, 2008, p. 129)
protecting the health, safety, and rights of the patient
the root of political involvement in policy making as we care for and are the voice for individuals when they cannot advocate for themselves
Dr. Ellos reveals the value of a skilled ethical diagnostician who can balance care and cure with successful planning, implementation, & evaluation of a critical ethical malaise
Nurses advocating for nursing as a profession include creating a unified voice for achieving their legislative goals

Virtually impossible for individual nurses to change or recognize systemic problems that affect their patients; systemic problems must be addressed & this can only be achieved collectively
Being politically involved means being knowledgeable about issues, laws, & health policy; personal & professional involvement cannot be separated
Fostering emotional & political intelligence is essential to manage the conflict between personal beliefs, professional values, organizational priorities, & the political ideology of the government of the day
being involved in professional organizations and continuing to expand the political and policy education of nursing students at a baccalaureate level

Professional nursing organizations are the best place to turn for becoming politically involved in patient advocacy
Baccalaureate level nursing programs should have a community health nursing course that includes education about political activism and policy development
Empowering nurses as students and encouraging them to find out what area of policy interests them
Identification of self interests frequently propels the political decision-making process
Heidi L. Schreckenbach, Emily S. Seidel, Victoria C. Solis, Heather M. Sollohub, Vanessa L. Teodosio
Nursing advocacy begins with influencing others (politics) to adopt a specific course of action (policy) to solve a societal problem
build relationships with key policy makers by letters or visits
Monetary, labor, or expertise contributions
nursing organizations can come together to make similar demands for policy outcomes
being knowledgeable and getting involved in campaigns
assisting candidates in winning the endorsement of key organizations
becoming a member of a nursing organization that influences policy at the local, state, and federal levels
by subscribing to electronic listserves of elected officials that you agree with and compare the records of your officials
getting to know your elected officials
writing lobbying letters
writing letters to the editor
participating in coalitions
Huston (2010, p. 395)
Role and Responsibilities
"entails the use of activities, methods, tactics, and behaviors that shape or have the possibility to have an effect on governmental and/or legislative strategies and outcomes"
Levels of commitment in political involvement
Boswell et al. (p. 6)
1. "Survival" level of responsibility in which the nurse may vote in local elections or serve on community boards
mainly concerned with his/her own self-interest in making political decisions
2. "Success" in which the nurse may run for a local political office, volunteer to be a spokesperson for a group of individuals, or volunteer to be an advisor to a state or national political representative
intrinsic factors, such as personal philosophies, beliefs, values, world views, and motivations
3. "Significance" where the visionary nurse is involved in the development of health policy and health care delivery
positioned as the head of healthcare facilities, professional organizations, and local, state, or national office
Obligations and duties
represent the clients on many different levels including health care availability, economic implications, and international and environmental issues
Healthy People 2020 goal: improve access to comprehensive, quality health care services
Medicare Act successfully passed in 1965

Ethical and legal ramifications

Florence Nightingale claimed "no amount of medical knowledge will lessen the accountability for nurses to do what nurses do; that is, manage the environment to promote positive life processes”
Nurses reduce negative effects of environmental stressors by developing legislation to reduce the use and subsequent elimination of harmful toxins and educating the public on the disposal of harmful household chemicals as well as medications
make informed decisions about health care issues
challenge of becoming politically active
follow ethical guidelines of principlism
Patient advocacy is a collective responsibility of the nursing profession

Advocacy - the core of political involvement for nurses
many ways a nurse can become involved or knowledgeable of political activism
“As an advocate for the patient, the nurse must be alert to and take appropriate action regarding any instances of incompetent, unethical, illegal, or impaired practice by any member of the health care team or the healthcare system or any action on the part of others that places the rights or best interests of the patient in jeopardy”
Advocacy and nurse involvement to improve the care given to their clients incorporates what the NPA uses as a standard of care: “collaborating with client, members of the health care team, and when appropriate, the client’s significant other(s) in the interest of the client’s health care”
Based on the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics Provision 7.1, nurses can advance the profession through active involvement in nursing and in health care policy
Nurses must realize the great advantage they have over other medical professions and build relationships with key people. The best way to achieve effective client advocacy is by contributing to leadership, activities, and the advancement of our profession through political activism.
enhanced health care delivery
make informed decisions in health care
working together as a collective voice through professional organizations, we can advocate for social and political reforms to benefit patients
fulfilling role of client advocacy
advancement of effective health care for the public
a better work environment

heavy workloads
anxiety with public speaking
lack of resources, peer support, or political awareness
poor self-esteem and powerlessness
passive aggressive communication style
challenge of becoming politically active

(Boswell et al., 2005, p. 5-6)
(Boswell et al., 2005, p. 6)
nursing education curriculum that is deficient in training new registered nurses on how to become effective community leaders
(DeMarco et al., 2008, p. 296)

American Nurses Association (2011). Statement of Purpose. Retrieved from:


Association, A. N. (2001). Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Silver Spring: Nursesbook.org.

Ballestas, H., Cardoza, M., Hood, P., Neville, S., Zauderer, C. (2008-2009). United We Stand: Preparing Nursing Students for Political Activism. Journal of the

New York State Nurses Association, Fall/Winter, 4-7.

Boswell, C., Cannon, S., Miller, J. (2005). Nurses' political involvement: Responsibility verses privilege. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21(1), 5-8.

Bowers-Lanier, R. (2006). Nurse educators, politics, and policy makers. Journal of Nursing Education, 45(12): 483.

DeMarco, R., Roberts, S., Norris, A., McCurry, M. (2008). The Development of the Nurse Workplace Scale: Self-advocating Behaviors and Beliefs in the

Professional Workplace. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24(5), 296-301.

Huston, C. (2010). Professional Issues in Nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Fyffe, T. (2009) Nursing shaping and influencing health and social care policy. Journal of Nursing Management, 17, 698-706.

Lancaster, J., Stanhope, M. (2008). Public Health Nursing. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Mahlin, M. (2010) Individual patient advocacy, collective responsibility and activism within professional nursing associations. Nursing Ethics, 17(2), 247-


Nightingale, F. (1992). Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not [1859]. Commemorative Edition. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott.

Nursing Practice Act, Nursing Peer Review, & Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Compact. (2009, September). Austin, Texas, U.S.A: Texas Board of


Primono, J., Salazar, M. (2005). Environmental health risks: At home, at work, and in the community. In F. Maurer & C. Smith (Eds.), Community/Public

Health Nursing Practice: Health for Families and Populations (pp. 596-620). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011, October 31). Healthy People 2020: Access to Health Services. Retrieved from

http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsob jectives2020/overview.aspx?topicId=1
(2009, p. 6)
(Bowers-Lanier, p. 483)
(Mahlin, p. 253)
(Boswell et al., 2005, p. 5)
(Fyffe, p. 702-703)
(Mahlin, p. 253) & (Boswell et al., 2005, p. 6)
(Lancaster & Stanhope, 2008, p. 183)
the avoidance of harm
do good; best interest of others
fair distribution of rights and resources
(Boswell et al., 2005, p. 6)
(Nightingale, 1992, p. 71)
(Association, 2001, p. 14).

(Nursing Practice Act, Nursing Peer Review, & Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Compact, 2009, p. 136)
(Association, 2001, p. 22)
(Association, 2001, p. 22)
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