Legislative Advocacy: Engaging State and Federal Legislators

"Use our collective voice to improve healthcare for all"

Joan Widmer, MS, MSBA, RN, CEN
Nurse Executive Director
New Hampshire Nurses Association

As Nurse Executive Director for the New Hampshire Nurses Association (NHNA), much of my time is spent in advocacy or encouraging other nurses to become nurse advocates. I routinely testify at public hearings on issues that impact nurses, nursing practice and healthcare. So far this year I have attended or spoken at eight public hearings.

I participate in many stakeholder groups, including a group working toward Medicaid Expansion reauthorization and another trying to address workplace violence. I have reached out to NH legislators and shared my position on bills and provided stories from a nurse's perspective. On a national level, I attended ANA's Day on the Hill in 2017 and have periodic contact with NH’s Senators and Representatives. In my experience, when nurses speak, legislators listen.

But most importantly, I speak regularly to nurses, nursing leaders and nursing students about the importance of taking advocacy beyond the bedside; to use our collective voice to improve healthcare for all.