by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Oklahoma nurses and nursing students are set to converge on the State Capitol this Tuesday, February 28 to make their collective voices heard.
Oklahoma Nurses Association Executive Director Jane Nelson said the annual event provides nurses the opportunity to learn, discuss and advocate about the nursing and health care legislative issues facing our state.
Nelson said the the theme of the day will be “Nursing is your passion; Being a Nurse Advocate.”
Consistently ranked as the most-trusted profession in the nation, nurses collectively carry a strong voice when it comes to health care issues, Nelson says.
“There are a couple of ways for nurses to get involved,” Nelson said. “One is to attend Nurses Day at the Capitol and the second is to stay in touch with ONA. Nurses can stay in touch by being a member.
“As a member they will receive emails about Legislative issues and what needs to be done, they can also serve on an ONA committee in addition to serving as Nurse of the Day.”
ONA encourages all nurses and nursing students to get involved in the legislative process by attending Nurses Day at the Capitol.
The day begins with an informational session held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, followed by an opportunity to go to the Capitol and talk with legislators.
Nelson said the day will provide nurses the opportunity to:
*Hear legislative experts, legislators and ONA’s Lobbyist.
*Talk with legislators concerning the issues vital to ONA and the nursing profession.
*Increase your awareness of the role nurses play in the political arena.
*Voice your concerns regarding legislation affecting nursing practice, patient safety, preventive care and health education as well as Oklahoma’s health status.
“We want to see nurses out there working on issues that relate to nurses. Whether it’s an LPN, RN or advanced practice nurse, they tell those stories the best,” Nelson said.
As a professional organization, the Oklahoma Nurses Association is a community of nurses from all specialties and practice settings that empowers nurses to improve health care.
Each year, the ONA organizes a single day to arm nurses with the necessary information and give them the opportunity to discuss those issues with policy makers along with legislative priorities.
Currently, the Oklahoma Legislature is considering legislation that will allow Oklahoma’s nurse practitioners full practice authority.
House Bill 1013, by Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette) and Senate author A.J. Griffin (R-Guthrie), would grant Oklahoma nurse practitioners (NPs) the freedom to practice to the full extent of their education and training, enabling them to serve Oklahomans where care is most needed.
This is especially important in rural areas of the state that are medically underserved.
Toni Pratt-Reid, APRN, is president-elect of the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners and noted this month South Dakota became the 22nd state in the country to grant full practice authority.
Currently, advanced practice nurses in Oklahoma have full practice authority when it comes to diagnosis and treatment options but not full prescription authority.
A regulatory rule is in place that requires a supervising physician be available as needed for consultation.
Nursing is the largest group of healthcare providers; LPN, RN and APRN, each one with its own unique scope of practice.
“This is a great opportunity to learn about legislative issues affecting nursing practice as well as how to advocate for those issues,” Nelson said.
For more information contact the ONA at 405-840-3476 or go online to www.oklahomanurses.org.