Virtual Hill Day spotlights three key issues
More than 300 enthusiastic and informed nurses attended nearly 325 virtual Congressional meetings from all 50 states during the American Nurses Association (ANA) Virtual Hill Day on June 10.
In videoconferences with Congressional offices, participants focused on three key issues and associated legislation. One priority involves boosting domestic personal protective equipment (PPE) production and promoting a more sustainable supply chain (PPE in America Act; S. 308/H.R. 1436). A second requires the U.S. Department of Labor to establish needed protections from workplace violence in the healthcare and social services sectors (the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act; H.R. 1195). Finally, participants urged continuing the expanded use of telehealth services to deliver cost effective and efficient care (CONNECT for Health Act; S. 1512/H.R. 2903).
Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) spoke at a briefing in advance of Virtual Hill Day. Co-vice chair of the House Nursing Caucus, Davis thanked the participants “for all the important work you do,” adding, “We know how much you did during this pandemic.”
ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, noted, “You don’t just continue to perform your work with grace and care; your presence here today is proof that you share my belief in the value of advocacy—for our profession and our patients.”
In conjunction with Virtual Hill Day, ANA launched a central call to action for all advocates to rally behind. This effort, centered on the PPE in America Act, saw over 2,500 advocates tell their stories and more than 6,000 emails sent to Congress.
ANA suggests that RNs contact their lawmakers to ask them to cosponsor and support the three bills recently introduced in Congress. Stay up to date and get involved at RNAction.org.
Call for nominations: 2021 ANA National Awards
The call for nominations for the American Nurses Association (ANA) National Awards is underway. ANA members are encouraged to take this opportunity to acknowledge exceptional colleagues for their outstanding contributions and achievements. By identifying those who exemplify the very best, you honor the individual, advance the profession, and educate other health professionals and the general public about the significant contributions of RNs to the delivery of healthcare.
ANA’s National Awards fall into four overarching categories:
Distinguished Practice in Nursing recognizes excellence in the practice, science, and art of nursing and outstanding professional contributions of an ANA member in the areas of clinical care, direct patient care, or public health.
- Distinguished Direct Patient Care Award
- Early Career Nurse Leader Award—New
- Foundations of Nursing Practice Award
- Public Health Service Award
Nursing Pioneers recognizes outstanding contributions to social justice that removed barriers and advanced a culture of equity and inclusion in the nursing profession.
- Luther Christman Award—Reinstated
- Mary Mahoney Award—Reinstated
Nurse Exemplars promotes and underscores ANA’s continuing dedication to the principles of nursing ethics and the highest standards of nursing practice.
- ANA Hall of Fame
- Leadership in Ethics Award
Nursing Champions recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the area of advocacy for the profession of nursing and for ANA.
- Advocacy Award
- Champion of Nursing Award
Nominations will be accepted from individual ANA-constituent/state nurses associations (C/SNA) or Individual Member Division (IMD) members, C/SNAs, and organizational affiliates. Nominations must be submitted by 5 pm Eastern Time on Friday, October 1, 2021.
For more information, visit nursingworld.org/national-awards-program-guide. The ANA staff contact is Maureen Thompson, vice president for governance and planning, who can be reached at email@example.com or (301) 628-5041.
ANA adds COVID-19 vaccines to immunization position
The American Nurses Association’s (ANA’s) longstanding position for all nurses and healthcare workers to be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases now includes the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process. The ANA Board of Directors unanimously approved the position that all nurses should get vaccinated unless they have a medical issue that makes vaccination unadvisable. This position extends only to the three vaccines currently available under EUA and does not extend to any future COVID-19 vaccines that might become available under the EUA process.
ANA believes that the safety profiles of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are stable and that the effectiveness of these vaccines in preventing the spread of COVID-19, as well as in mitigating the risk of emerging variants, has been proven.
Nurses working in a variety of healthcare settings across the nation are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and over the past few months, the number of nurses who have been vaccinated has increased. In a survey of over 4,500 nurses conducted by the COVID-19 Facts For Nurses Campaign from April 12 through May 4, 83% of nurses reported that they had received the recommended dose regimen of two COVID-19 vaccine shots. ANA applauds nurses who are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Nurses have a professional and ethical obligation to model health maintenance, wellness behaviors, and prevention measures they prescribe to patients, families, and communities.
OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard protects nurses from COVID-19
The American Nurses Association (ANA) advocated for and supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers to better protect nurses from COVID-19 hazards in the work environment.
This standard recognizes that nurses must have the most stringent levels of safety protections to provide the highest quality care to their patients. Critically, the ETS requires employers to provide better protections for nurses by developing and implementing plans to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. Nurses who care directly for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must be protected by approved respirators, which include single-use N95 respirators, elastomeric respirators, and powered air-purifying respirators. Employers also must provide gloves, gowns, and eye protection. This requirement applies regardless of a nurse’s vaccination status. Employers are required to screen healthcare personnel daily for COVID-19, provide COVID-19 tests at no charge, and to support employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
The ETS also empowers nurses to advocate for meaningful safety improvements during the duration of the emergency standard, as well as providing whistleblower protections for employees who raise safety concerns.
“ANA has been calling for specific safety protections from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “While this ETS is beneficial, it is not a replacement for a permanent standard with strong respiratory protections, which remains a necessity.”
ANA encourages nurses and healthcare personnel to learn about the new requirements, and to understand how to report violations, by visiting osha.gov/coronavirus/ets.