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2008--a pivotal year for Colorado Nurses Association.

2008 has proven to be a hallmark year for nursing and health care legislation. As the voice for advocacy of professional nursing issues in Colorado, CNA has participated fully in all bills related to nursing in Colorado. In addition, CNA was also able to focus on other health care related legislation.

The key legislative accomplishment for CNA this year was the passage of the THREE bills on Advanced Practice Nursing. These bills were all sponsored by Colorado Nurses Association and represent the first time that our association has introduced this many bills in one session. The passage of HB 1060, 1061, and 1094 represented extensive effort committed by many members and nonmembers of our association.

The Governor's Task Force on Nurse Workforce and Patient Care which CNA participated in resulted in two pieces of legislation for nursing. CNA participated extensively in SB 188--which focuses on researching nursing involvement in decision making in issues of concern. This truly is a project which has the needs of direct care staff nurses at heart and that could impact the retention of nurses in the workplace.

It is fair to note that CNA and the Colorado Hospital Association co-authored the original draft proposal submitted to the Task Force for approval, and which later resulted in the legislation. CNA continues to support this important research project in Colorado with broad stakeholder support in a leadership and participating role. CNA also participated in planning meetings with stakeholders on SB 194--to implement collection of nursing sensitive measures to the Hospital Report Card System. New measures to be collected in Colorado will inform on the nursing workforce, on patient outcomes, and the nursing environment. In addition to patient outcome measures, Colorado will now collect data on nursing satisfaction, certification, and education. This data can also be used for further research.

For the first time, CNA partnered to produce a film with filmmakers (and nurses) Vicki Erickson and Sue Hagedorn on APNs in Colorado. The "Caring for Colorado" video continues to help educate on the four APN roles. Other states are now exploring options to produce their own video as a result of our effort.

Four APNs and one registered nurse nominated by CNA are now serving on the Scopes of Care Advisory Committee--part of Governor Ritter's Building Blocks initiative. The committee will look at the evidence basis to support Advanced Practice Nursing Role and access issues. We offer support to the following nurses serving on the committee: Karen Tomky, Shirley McKenzie, Helen Lester, Barbara Hughes, and Douglas Warnecke. CNA also advocated for the inclusion of CNSs on the committee, which regretfully did not take place.

The Sunset Task Force met extensively this year to offer recommendations on Sunset of the Nurse Practice Act. Their recommendations are consistent with support for a strong professional nursing model and for high standards for preparation and credentialing of all nurses. They did not shirk or avoid hard issues for our profession, instead advocated for the optimal recommendations for a model to deliver quality care for the future.

Health Care Reform continues to be one of the pillar focuses for the association. CNAHCA, in conjunction with District 16, broke all previous records for educational attendance in hosting its educational event in January. CNAHCA supported testimony and addressed strategy on health care related legislation, including SB 217, and a resolution which failed on universal health care. CNA participated in multiple stakeholder meetings and events on health care reform.

CNA through CNAHCA continues to refine its health care reform position and has a goal of setting actionable items to enable CNA to serve as a key participant in planning health care reform. Governor Ritter's Building Blocks program was announced in 2008. Additional information on targeted health care reform will be coming with Building Blocks II this fall.

CNA continues to support strong requirements for credentialing of continuing education programs through its Approval Board Program. In addition, CNA hosted an educational venue to inform key stakeholders in Colorado on the new ANCC Competency credentialing program. CNA continues to be "at the table" on all competency, continuing education, and credentialing issues for nursing.

More and more, CNA's perspective and opinions on issues for nursing are being solicited. Other issues we have participated in informing on this year include: Colorado statutes for physician signatures, inactive license status, Board of Nursing updates and rule changes, insurance requirements for APNs, disability wait lists, malpractice insurance legislation, disciplinary review process for RNs and APNs.....and many more.

In addition to our advocacy, the association is taking a critical look at its strategic direction and plan. Membership growth, communication strategies, and opportunities for strengthening our financial position are being evaluated. We are also trying to better identify members needs and interests. Special interest districts and affiliate membership are new strategies being implemented to bring in new members.

Fran Ricker, RN, MSN, CGRN
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Title Annotation:Executive Director's Column
Author:Ricker, Fran
Publication:Colorado Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Dec 1, 2008
Previous Article:Sunset of the Colorado Nurse Practice Act.
Next Article:Have we made progress? The clinical placement pilot project update.

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