Jane Nelson, executive director of the Oklahoma Nurses Association.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Oklahoma’s largest body of healthcare providers is set to visit the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday as the Oklahoma Nurses Association holds its annual Nurses Day at the Capitol.
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.
You will have 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
Jane Nelson serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma Nurses Association. She says it’s vital that nurses become involved in the legislative process if they want to have a say in the way healthcare is offered in our state.
“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.
ONA Executive Director Jane Nelson says nurses are always well received at the capitol and typically find the day very informative.
“Nurses are powerful political advocates because they are members of the most-trusted profession in the country,” Nelson said. “With that comes a lot of power.”
Each year the Oklahoma Nurses Association sets its legislative priorities. For 2016, ONA is focused on the following:
Ensure adequate funding for vital health care related services, including direct care, disease prevention and health promotion. Shortfalls in health and behavioral health services will increase costs in other areas of the state’s budget, and will lead to dire negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities, placing all at risk. When funding falls below critical levels, every other health priority for nurses is negatively impacted. Nursing is one of the few professions in Oklahoma providing care to our citizens from cradle to grave.
Scope of Practice
Access to efficient, competent health care is supported when licensed Nursing professionals practice to the full extent of their scope of practice. Protection of the Nurses’ Scope of Practice ensures the health and safety of every Oklahoman
Public Health – Improving Oklahoma’ Health Status
Improving Oklahoma’s health status will improve the physical, emotional, and economic well being of the individual, the family, and the community.
Support only those educational proposals that do not put the emotional and physical well being of school children at risk.
Nursing education is an important and critical component in the development of Oklahoma’s nursing workforce, but also in ensuring lifelong learning and continued competency for all nurses in Oklahoma.
Governance – Preserving the Board of Nursing’s oversight and regulation of nursing practice.
Nursing is the largest group of healthcare providers; LPN, RN and APRN, each one with its own unique scope of practice, is already a consolidated Board. Ensuring professional nursing oversight of this board provides for the critical health and safety of the public. This self-sustaining, non-appropriated Board contributes revenue to the state general fund while providing for efficient, focused regulation of the nursing profession.
“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.