Advocacy


As the most trusted profession in the country, nurses have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their patients through public policy. 

PCNA Advocacy helps nurses have a voice, grow personally and professionally, and impact public policy. You can learn about recent advocacy activities that our members are involved in and contact your representatives about bills that impact you through the PCNA Action Center

Thank you for being an advocate for CVD prevention and nursing. Together we can do more.

Take Action

Take action on current issues in our Action Center.

Recent Issues

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Funding

June 2015 - The Nursing Workforce Development Program has supported 450,000 nurses and students with grants and loans for nursing education. By building a better trained workforce, this program has helped improve the nation's health, but the funding is on the line. Fortunately, a bill has been introduced in Congress to protect this funding.

Supervision of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Services

April 2015 - Currently, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs under Medicare must have either an MD or DO available and accessible at all times. This requirement is an inappropriate level of physician supervision and is unnecessarily more stringent than other outpatient services. In addition, this limitation can reduce access to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services, particularly in physician shortage areas, and adds unnecessary costs for these high-quality programs. The U.S. Senate has introduced a bill that would allow NPs, PAs, and CNSs to supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs on a day to day basis under Medicare.

NIH Funding for Heart and Stroke Research

April 2015 - CVD is the cause of nearly 33% of all deaths in the U.S. and an underlying or contributing cause of about 55% of deaths. As the U.S. population ages, CVD will cost more lives and more money. But despite these alarming numbers, the National Institute of Health (NIH) invests only 7% of its funding on heart disease, stroke and other CVD research.
 
The President's proposed budget includes an increase in funding for the NIH. Now lawmakers must decide to invest resources in NIH funding for heart and stroke research. 
Ten Commandments of Lobbying

  1. Do you homework
  2. Tell the truth
  3. Know your opponents
  4. Build coalitions
  5. Work at the local level    
  6. Start early
  7. Keep it simple
  8. Take your friends where you find them
  9. Think big, but always know your bottom line
  10. Thank people that help

Frequently Asked Question

If I start lobbying or advocating my representatives, will I have to register as a lobbyist? 
No. Registration as a lobbyist is not required if you are advocating, educating and raising awareness. A private citizen acting on their own or as a volunteer with an organization does not have to register.   
Remember…Your voice counts and together we will do more!

Experiences in Advocacy by Alethea Hill

Alethea Hill, PhD, ACNP-BC, ANP-BC, received PCNA's first ever Advocacy Award for CVD Prevention. Here, she recounts her experiences and shares her advice for how to get started with advocacy.

Advocating for the care of patients, families, communities, and populations is rewarding, yet hard work. It allows me to make incremental strides toward preservation of health and wellness for each person I encounter.
 
In previous years, I demonstrated my support for various initiatives by way of electronic petitions and local community engagement. Time went on, some issues changed while others stayed the same, so I began to wonder what else could be done.  My participation in the Call to Congress, Stop Diabetes with the American Diabetes Association was an experience that changed my perspective on advocacy forever. During the experience, we walked across the lawn of the Capitol urging policymakers in the House and Senate to support federal funding for diabetes research and prevention programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In face-to-face meetings with legislative aides in Senator Shelby's and Rep. Byrne's office, I arrived equipped with powerful infographics demonstrating the current impact of diabetes on the state of Alabama.  The statistic that resonated most with them was the burden of cardiovascular disease as an associated risk of diabetes, as most are not aware of the connection.

Advocacy serves as a conduit to be vocal and take action on issues at the local, state and national level. I got involved in advocacy work as a means of having an individual and collective impact on issues that matter most to me.  The complexity of being a community resident, mother, advanced practice nurse and educator made me acutely aware of the ability, that not only I, but we all have to effect change at some level.   Over the years, risk awareness, wellness, and health promotion related to diabetes and cardiovascular disease within the community has been my focus. Given diabetes is a CVD risk equivalent, I prefer to direct my efforts toward the prevention/risk identification/risk awareness aspects of care as it relates to CVD.   
 
To a person that has never been involved in advocacy, I would encourage you to find the one thing you are most passionate about and begin to inform yourself.  Find a way to get involved locally and network with the individuals that influence decisions related to the movement, as well as persons/families affected by it.  Advocacy work can be hard, and on occasion, lack immediate reward so work-life balance is important if you are going to stay energized and complete the course your passion leads you on!