MNA Lobby Night 2015: “When nurses speak, people listen”
This year’s Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) Lobby Night was held on a cold and snowy evening on February 16 — but it didn’t stop AAMC nurses from showing up to represent our profession. One thing they learned: when nurses speak, people listen.
The evening kicked off with MNA lobbyist Robyn Elliott, who reviewed the two pieces of legislation that were being presented. She answered questions from the group of several hundred nurses and coached them through talking with the delegates, even doing a little role play to make everyone feel comfortable.
The legislation up for discussion was:
- Senate Bill 723/House Bill 999: The Nurse Practitioner Full Practice Act. This bill would remove an outdated Maryland requirement that nurse practitioners complete an attestation indicating that they collaborate with physicians. Nurse practitioners would still collaborate with physicians — the bill would just eliminate unnecessary paperwork. Find more information on this bill here.
- Request to restore funding for the Board of Nursing in Proposed 2016 Budget. The proposed budget for 2016 includes a transfer of $2.5 million dollars from the Board of Nursing to the State General Fund. This money comes from nurses’ licensing and certification fees. The Board of Nursing wants to use these funds to update their antiquated IT and phone systems and collect data on our Maryland nursing workforce.
Delegates are presented with numerous bills while they are in session. Lobbying gives us an opportunity to bring issues important to our profession to their attention. Because of our presence at Lobby Night, our delegates will now have a better understanding of how this legislation will affect nursing.
Lobbying is a great way to advocate for your patients and for your profession – and there is more than one way to lobby. You can contact your delegates by email and let them know which bills you support and what bills you have concerns with.
To see a list of bills affecting healthcare, click here. This website has some great information about government processes, including how a bill is born and processed. Take some time to expand your professional horizons and learn how you can affect changes in our legislation. Nurses are valued for their integrity and knowledge. Remember, when nurses speak, people listen. -Cheryl Briggs, RN