Social Justice is a Nursing Responsibility!

Social Justice is a Nursing
Pamela S. Robbins MSN, RN
ANA-Illinois Legislative Chair
Social Justice
• Social Justice is acting in accordance
with fair treatment regardless of
economic status, ethnicity, age,
citizenship, disability or sexual orientation.
• Nurses promote Social Justice with:
o Fair nondiscriminatory delivery of nursing care
o Support for Universal access to healthcare
o Legislation and policy of nursing healthcare
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
Advocate for patients and nurses
Utilized evidenced based data in social stats
Equalitarian beliefs
Founder of professional nursing
Formulator of public health policy
Holistic approach to nursing
Healthcare Reformer
Lavinia Dock (1858-1956)
Pioneer of American nurses (disciple of Flo)
Disagreed with “subservient” role of women
Believed women were “legitimate knowers”
Public health nursing and education
Feminist, Suffragist, Social & Union Activist
Believed social evils included lack of poverty,
malnutrition, overcrowding, health disaparities
• Empowered nurses to be patient advocates and
AIM for Social Justice through Political
• ACTIVATE - your leadership role
in social justice
• INITIATE - contact with your
• MAXMIZE - political power by
joining with others
Locating your State Elected
The State Board of Elections web site:
Enter your 9-digit zip code in search box
Click “Find Address”
Click “Confirm Your Address”
Results of state and federal officials appear
How to Locate a Legislative Bill’s Text
Illinois General Assembly home page:
• Search for bills by number and their status
• Search for legislators under House and Senate
headings the chose “Members”
• Located under each Chamber (House/Senate)
locate “Audio/Video” to watch hearings live
Grassroots Lobbying of Legislators
Are you a registered voter – the first step!
Do you know your legislator or how to find them?
Do you know the legislative issue – from where?
Aware of the elements for effective
• Which is the most powerful communication
process to use with a legislator?
• Personal visit – written one page letter – call?
Use Your Voice
• Nurses must realize no one but nurses can
truly inform the public about nursing.
• Nurses must make public communication and
education about nursing an integral part of
their nursing work.
• Nurses - overcome the internal obstacles that
silence you!
state professional nursing association
• ANA-Illinois members work together through the
legislative process on issues of social justice
amplifying political voice and visibility.;
• Professional associations such as IANA and ISAPN
work together with ANA-Illinois pooling political
nurse resources;
• The ANA-Illinois is affiliated and supported by the
American Nurses Association, our national
organization who lobbies on federal healthcare
Four Spheres of Political Influence
Health System and Social
Determinants of Health
Health and Social Policy
Four Spheres of Political Influence:
Nurse is central in all spheres
Health System and Social
Determinants of Health
• The ultimate goal for advancing nursing’s
interests must be to promote the public’s health.
• Health & Social policy social factors: income,
education and housing. Social policies play a big
role in influencing health.
• Social determinants: Policies are needed to
address the social and economic conditions that
make people ill. Universal care is one social
determinant of health.
Who Votes on Policy?
• Legislators vote on ALL regulation – health policy
as well as nursing. They are your elected
representative in the democratic process.
• Legislators require experts on health policy –that
should be their nurse constituent.
• If you are not speaking to your state legislator on
health policy issues – someone else will.
• Political Clout: One in 48 adults in Illinois is a
licensed nurse.
Political Advocacy for Social Justice
• Access to affordable healthcare – Full practice
authority for Nurse Practitioners
• Maintain access for patients in pain to
continue to utilize Nurse Anesthetists
• Funding for Nurse Scholarships
• Health care benefits in the state Exchange
• Expand Medicaid for the vulnerable poor
What does Nurse Political Advocacy
Promotes and Protects:
Promotes the nursing profession
Protects the public’s safety
Promote and Protect
• 6,000 legislative bills are proposed in the
Illinois General Assembly each session.
• Legislators sponsor bills representing the
concerns from their constituents.
• Laws/regulations impact everyone –
nursing practice is regulated by laws.
Promote and Protect
Professional nurse association laws
No Mandatory Overtime in acute care setting
RN Circulator in the Operating Room
Nurse Practice Act
Staffing by Patient Acuity
Promote and Protect
• Dozens of poorly designed legislative proposals
DEFEATED by intense nurse lobbying!
• Healthcare Economics: Legislators need to hear
from their nurses on the reality of healthcare
today so they can vote appropriately on health
policy issues.
• The MECHANISM to protecting the public and
promoting the practice of nursing is astute
monitoring and strategic political action!
Promote and Protect
• Silence on proposals of health policy is
interpreted as “consensus” to such bills.
• If nurses fail to discuss bad policy with their
legislators – how do you think they will vote?
Legislators are not EXPERTS on nursing –
Nurses are Experts on Nursing!
• 164,000 licensed nurses in Illinois:177 state
House of Representatives and Senators.
• Nurses to legislators is a ratio of 1000:1
Illinois RN and State Advocacy
• Marie Lindsey, PhD APN/CNP member of
• Using political action through state nursing
organization improved access to care:
• 1997 Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs)
language in the Nurse Practice Act
• 2007 Prescription Authority for APNs in Illinois
• 2013 - APNs seeking full practice authority!
Massachusetts RN & Federal Advocacy
• Karen Daley PhD MPH, RN currently serves as
ANA President
• Massachusetts Emergency Room Nurse stuck
with a needle in 1999
• Sero-converted six months later with HIV,
Hepatitis C.
• In 2002 through the ANA political process won
federal "Needle Stick Safety and Prevention Act“.
• Today - all health workers’ health safety is
improved through federal law!
How do you see achieving Social
Justice in your nursing career?
Be a registered voter;
Begin a professional relationship with legislators;
Join your professional organization :ANA-Illinois;
Stay informed on the issues;
Grassroots organize your colleagues, family,
friends on the issues and encourage them to
become politically active as well;
Be Active in Social Justice
Nurses cannot hide behind patients and charts;
Nurses do not work in a vacuum;
Ignorance is no excuse.
If societal relationships based on racial, ethnic, gender, and
economic status are more equal, population health
indicators between diverse groups become more stable
nationally and globally.
• Nurses who are supportive of a social justice agenda
highlight the need to balance benefits and burdens in
society, to promote equal living and health conditions.
Nurses - be insistent in our demand - Social Justice for all!
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.”
“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the
hardest thing in the world is to act in
accordance with your thinking.”
Scientist, Author, Statesman, Poet, Botanist, Critic
Thank You!
Pam Robbins MSN, RN
ANA-Illinois Legislative Chair
Join ANA-Illinois at