SON Faculty Discuss Policy in Washington D.C.

WhiteHouse-Group Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, Debra Barksdale, Beth Lamanna

Dr. Debra Barksdale, Beth Lamanna, Dr. Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, and Megan Williams each attended events in Washington D.C. on June 13 that focused on the intersection of health care and policy.

Dr. Barksdale, Beth Lamanna, and Dr. Soltis-Jarrett were invited to the White House to attend a discussion between nurse leaders and senior administration officials on improving care quality and patient health. The meeting was sponsored by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services and focused on delivery system transformation and how the Affordable Care Act can support nurses’ efforts to provide high quality patient care.

Dr. Barksdale attended the meeting as president of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). She described the event as an opportunity for nurse leaders to come together to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other important issues like expanding the nursing workforce, future workforce development, and practicing to the full scope of one’s education. “It was an honor to be involved in a discussion of ways that nurses can help in improving the health of the American people,” Barksdale said.

Beth Lamanna attended the meeting on behalf of the American Public Health Association Public Health Nursing Section. Her goal was to voice the importance of the intersection of population health and primary/clinical care. Lamanna spoke at the meeting about a new provision in the ACA that deals with population health and hospital participation in community assessment.

Dr. Soltis-Jarrett attended as president of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN). “I endeavored to focus on the importance of continuing to develop the mental health workforce, ensuring equity for reimbursement of services provided by advanced practice psychiatric nurses, and improving access to mental health care for individuals, families and communities across the USA,” said Dr. Soltis-Jarrett.

Megan Williams in Washington, D.C.

On the same day, Megan Williams, clinical assistant professor and president-elect of the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA), was one of five NCNA members and 150 nurses from around the U.S. who went to Capitol Hill for the 2012 American Nurses Association Lobby Day.

Williams and her cohort focused on three key issues when meeting with Congressional policymakers: supporting legislation to ensure safe RN staffing, solid funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs, and a measure that permits advanced practice registered nurses to certify home health plans of care.

“We need to continue educating our legislators about health care and the nursing profession,” Williams said. “I hope more nurses will follow their representatives on Facebook and Twitter, write, call, or organize a group of your colleagues to visit your member of Congress’ local office.” Of her ANA Lobby Day experience, Williams said, “We had a great day on Capitol Hill advocating for the public and for our profession.”