Thank you for joining us in this very special edition of The Washington Nurse magazine with our Voter’s Guide. As nurses, we often find ourselves advocating. We advocate for our patients in making sure they are getting the best care and treatment possible. We advocate for ourselves in our facilities through bargaining and contract negotiations. As nurses, we live in, and create by virtue of our profession, a “culture of advocacy” — and it does not end there.
If we want to see real change at a systemic level, we must also advocate on behalf of our profession to those who set the policies and rules that govern the care we give. State legislators make decisions about our jobs and the role we play in the healthcare system. It is our job to educate them about the impacts those decisions will have on us, the workforce, and our communities. That is why it is important that we stay engaged in who represents us in the state legislature and educate them on the work we do as nurses so they can make informed decisions.
As chairs of the Legislative & Health Policy Council and Political Action Committee (WSNA-PAC), we want to emphasize that each one of you can play a role in the decision-making process in Olympia. It starts by participating in the process through which candidates may receive the WSNA-PAC endorsement and support. How has each candidate shown their support for nurses in the past? If they are an incumbent, what does their voting record have to say for their past support of nurses? These, and others, are the questions your WSNA-PAC Board asks candidates and discusses before thoughtfully casting their own vote for a candidate to receive the WSNA-PAC endorsement.
Once those leaders are elected, your Legislative & Health Policy Council works with WSNA staff to bring forth a set of legislative priorities. The council researches and determines what are the most immediate needs of nurses and what kind of legislative changes can help address those needs. Before deciding on an agenda, the council also considers the political landscape and the will for change. Once priorities are set, the work is only beginning. We need to hold our elected officials accountable, just as we are held accountable for the care we provide our patients. Nurses need to show up in Olympia to educate legislators on the issues, testify in support of (or against) a bill, and show legislators we are paying attention.
Join us in this Voter’s Guide section of The Washington Nurse magazine to review important information such as “What is the WSNA-PAC endorsement process?” and which candidates have stood up for nurses in the past by reviewing voting records of your state legislators. Not sure who your elected officials are? Find out.
We want to encourage you to get involved in this work. Help us advocate for all nurses in Washington state. Help us bring about real change that is long overdue. Help us be louder than the large corporations that control our hospitals. Join the WSNA-PAC and help us elect people who will stand up for nurses every time. We can do this, together.
Erin Allison, BSN, RN, CEN, Chair of Legislative & Health Policy Council
David Jacob Garcia, MSN, BSN, RN, PCCN, Chair of WSNA-PAC