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What is your power to influence healthcare policy?

This afternoon I had a visit with one of my favorite six year-old patients. As usual, he was informing me on the finer points of elementary-school culture. Today, it happened to be about superheroes and their powers. When I inquired what power he would want, he promptly replied, "OH ... the best power to have would be to be invisible!"

As I prepare to write the updates for the Government Affairs and Public Policy committee, I am struck by the number of issues that Nursing is facing that are due to our own professional invisibility. I am, however, also encouraged by the efforts of the Colorado Nurses Association in combating this invisibility for professional nurses in the public policy arena, and on being aware of the dangers that this "superpower" poses to our profession.

Please take a few minutes to read the advocacy highlights from CNA and the GAPP committee from the last few months, and find out how you can become a "superhero" for our profession and become a more visible, key player in shaping healthcare policy.

Committee Highlights and Updates

Colorado Nurses Association along with its members from the Colorado Advanced Practice Society (DNA 30) and the Colorado Society of Clinical Specialists in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (DNA 31) have been hard at work introducing legislations aimed at removing barriers that reduce effective care delivery by Advanced Practice Nurses and improving healthcare access. In addition to working at the Capitol and meeting with other stakeholders, we have partnered with other professional nursing organizations to produce an educational documentary on the role of Advance Practice Nurses in Colorado.

The documentary, directed by University of Colorado at Denver Nursing faculty Sue Hagedorn and Vicki Erickson, provides legislators, the public and the press with a overview of the care that APNs provide across the state. In addition to being used as a health policy tool, the video will also serve to recruit nurses for advanced practice education. Copies of the video will be available for purchase at a future date.

One of our top priorities continues to be safe staffing. To that end Colorado Nurses Association has continued to be an active member of the Governor's Nurse Workforce and Patient Care Task Force. We also are working to support FEDERAL legislation that aims to provide national guidelines for patient safety through appropriate nurse staffing.For final recommendations from the Governor's Task Force on Nurse Workforce and Patient Care, see the Executive Summary in this edition. Information on the federal legislation can be viewed at the ANA's website: http://rnaction.org/politicalpower/legislation_index.html.

The GAPP (Government Affairs and Public Policy) Committee continues to monitor and respond to state legislation that impacts the role of nurses and our patients. The bill review process is one area that nurses, through the voice of the Colorado Nurses Association, have the opportunity to inform and shape healthcare policy. The GAPP committee is made up of volunteer committee members and bill reviewers from across the state who represent the diverse specialties of the nursing community. It is through their work that our patients and profession receive advocacy and gain visibility at the Capitol. The bills that the GAPP committee reviews and takes position on can be seen at the CNA webpage (http://www.nurses-co.org/).

Become A Superhero

Combating invisibility is the responsibility of each nurse.

Join the Team. Visibility starts with membership. Make sure that your membership is current or renew today. Colorado Nurses Association is at the health policy table for YOU! We represent your interests and Colorado's patients daily in legislation, public policy meetings and with the media. The power of our voice is directly related to our membership strength. Adding your voice, adds to our ability to advocate more directly for you and the patients you serve.

Get equipped. The GAPP committee is committed to helping equip and empower you to play your part in defining our profession. Through outreach efforts like 100 Nurses for 100 Legislators, Capitol site tours, the legislative webpage and open access to the committee meetings, we seek to provide nurses with the tools they need. 100 Nurses for 100 Legislators is open to any interested nurses or students who want to learn more about legislative process in Colorado and how to approach legislators on issues of concern. This years session took place on January 26, 2008. Representative Sara Gagliardi was the guest speaker for the event.

Get involved. Consider volunteering for a board that steers health policy decisions for Colorado Nurses Association or in your community. The old saying that decision are made by those that show up is true. To change health policy nurses will need to have a place at the table. Even if you have not done this before, or are new to the profession, you bring a valuable perspective and have ideas to contribute. Our profession has unique insight into the lives of our patients and communities. When nurses have positions on boards, it helps give voice to this knowledge and provides an added platform to advocate for the needs we see in our communities and healthcare system.

Give support. A big part in gaining visibility is financial support. These funds help drive lobbying time, policy endorsement and allow the development of media campaigns. These funds provide the means for united efforts to deliver a clear unified message for nurses.

The first quarter of 2008 has proven to be active for healthcare policy. It is the pleasure of the GAPP committee to serve you and our patients. We look forward to improving the visibility of Nursing with you as we continue to advocate for each other and Colorado's patients. !

Tay Kopanos

GAPP Chair
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Author:Kopanos, Tay
Publication:Colorado Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Mar 1, 2008
Words:949
Previous Article:Colorado Public Health nurse certificate.
Next Article:Meet your nurse practitioner: improving access to health care, offering cost effective health care, and high quality health care.
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