AAMC Nurses represent at Nurses Lobby Night in Annapolis
On February 18, a huge group of AAMC nurses represented the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) at Nurses Lobby Night in Annapolis. Wow is all I can say! What a great experience it was to see over 250 nurses from the state of Maryland come together to advocate for themselves and their patients.
The focus of the evening was House Bill 581, which mandates a palliative care department be instituted in hospitals with 50 or more beds by 2016, and House Bill 1185, which increases the financial penalty to $5,000 for assault on a health care worker.
We listened to speeches given by great nursing leaders – MNA President Neysa Ernst, Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Delegate Addie Eckardt, Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and MNA Lobbyist Robyn Elliott. Then all 250 nurses descended on the State House and House of Delegates to speak with our Delegates on the importance of passing these bills.
The Delegates and staff members to whom we spoke were very interested in what we had to say. They asked us questions about why each bill was important to us and we responded, often with personal experiences and some fierce advocating for our patients.
It was such an empowering experience. We learned that nursing advocacy extends beyond the bedside. Nurses truly do have a voice — a well-respected one — and by sheer numbers alone, our collective voice gives us the ability to make a huge impact on legislation.
This is one more reason why being a member of nursing organizations is important. As a result of our lobbying, we made these issues “real” for the delegates — providing them with the education they needed to help them to understand their importance. -Cheryl Briggs, RNC & Stephanie Harmon, RN