Mary Jo Doerr RNC, MSN, WHNP, MNA Director of Nursing Practice and Education recently attended the first APN/NP Michigan Legislative Action Day. Her report of the event follows below:
On Tuesday, October 20th Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs)/Nurse Practitioners (NPs) from all over Michigan came together to Lansing for the first APN Legislative Action Day. It was amazing to see over 80 APNs gathered in one room, excited about making a difference and sharing information with their senators and representatives about what they do every day for their clients. These are nurses that are usually working quietly in their home communities providing health care to residents of the state of Michigan. It was quite a reach for many to step out of their comfort zones and come to the Capital to have a voice and hopefully empower lawmakers to include them in healthcare reform decisions. For many, much indecision as to what they would say or do to make a difference was weighing on their minds for days prior to reaching Lansing.
The MI Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (MINAPNAP) and the MI Council of Nurse Practitioners (MICNP) worked together to plan and prepare the APNs for their visits by providing them with tools to reduce their anxiety. Presentations including Lobbying 101, Michigan Health Policy, Michigan Health Law and Political Action were held to support nurses wishing to get involved. Lunch was shared with Representatives and Senators and a good turnout of legislators showed up to talk with the APNs. Detailed discussions occurred which provided needed clarification of the APN/NP role. After lunch, Tim Skubik, anchor and producer of “Off the Record” provided a humorous overview of the workings of the policy processes in Lansing.
There were two hours in the late morning during which APNs/NPs went in groups to visit with their elected officials. Most experiences were very positive and many of the nurses agreed that just asking, “Do you know what Advanced Practice Nurses/Nurse Practitioners do?” would open the door to easy conversations and the ability to provide information as to what impact APNs can and will have in the upcoming health care reform. Many nurses plan to return to Lansing to continue the work that has been started during this powerful Legislative Action Day.