4 postsRe: Topic 4 DQ 2
Advocacy is a very significant pillar of nursing. Nurses have a responsibility to advocate for their fellow nurses and their patients, both in their workplaces and in their communities at large. Advocacy at the legislative and political level is also crucial to improve national health care delivery and develop a safe work environment for health workers (Brent, 2018). Nurses’ input contributes significantly to how policy is introduced, interpreted, and finally implemented. In 2018, The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research Act of 2018 (S. 292), also referred to as the STAR Act, was signed into law by the President of the United States, Donald Trump on June 5, 2018. The act created new authorities, expanded and upgraded existing ones relating to childhood and adolescent cancer research, testing, tracking, treatment, and survivorship. It was a piece of bipartisan legislation that was introduced by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jack Reed (D-RI) with the help of patients, care providers, and the whole cancer community (Stone, 2018).
The legislation helped to fill specific gaps that were prevalent in the treatment of cancer among children and adolescents. Due to the advancements made in cancer treatment, more than eighty percent of children survive more than the projected five years. The enactment of this bill was a step in the right direction; however, additional effort needs to be put to ensure every individual child affected by cancer can access medical treatment. There needs to be legislation that promotes the prevention of this disease and more rigorous ways to manage it.
Brent, N. J. (2018). The American Nurses Association declared 2018 the Year of Advocacy. Advocacy is defined as pleading for or actively supporting a cause or proposal, but what does it mean to nurses and their patients? Nurse.com.
Stone, A. (2018). Key Federal Health Policy Legislation Updates for 2018. ONS Voice.
The Nurse Staffing Standards for patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017 is a bill that amends the public Health Service Act, and requires hospitals to implement and submit a staffing plan that complies with specified minimum nurse-to-patient ratios by unit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bill states that nurses have a duty and right to act based on their professional judgement and provide care in the exclusive interest of patients (Congress.gov, 2018). In addition, the bill recognizes the fact that nurses are often put into difficult situations where they are pressured to care for too many patients, which results in poorer care overall. The Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act, also seeks to empower nurses by obligating RNs to act in the best interest of the patient and advocate for patients without regard to bureaucratic and budgetary concerns of fear of being reprimanded for putting the patient first. In addition, the bill is designed to clearly dictate that nurses should always put the well-being of the patient above all other concerns (Nurse.org, 2018).
Research has shown that “adding RNs to unit staffing decisions can reduce the length of stay for hospital patients as well as the risk of adverse events, such as falls, injuries, infections and bleeding. Increasing the number of RNs can yield a cost savings of nearly $3 billion – the result of more than 4 million avoided extra hospital stays for adverse events – and lower costs from hospital readmissions” (ANA, 2018). To date, seven states have enacted safe staffing legislation using the committee approach: Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. In addition to advocating for legislation at state and federal levels, numerous initiatives have been created in order to achieve safe and appropriate nurse-to-patient staffing in all health care settings. Furthermore, evidence-based research is constantly being conducted in order to achieve optimal results as well as utilizing the results as a driving force in advocating for The Nurse Staffing Standards for patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017.
American Nurses Association. (2018). ANA Applauds Nurse Staffing Legislation. https://www.nursingworld.org/news/news-releases/2018/ana-applauds-nurse-staffing-legislation/
Congress.gov. (2018). Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1063
Nurse.org. (2018). Proposed Federal RN Ratios- What You Can Do About It. https://nurse.org/articles/federal-staffing-ratios/