WNA Nurses Day at the Capitol Exceeds Expectations

WNA President, Linda Gobis, welcomed all 575 participants to the February 28, 2017, annual Nurses Day at the Capitol.  The conference was held at the Monona Terrace in Madison. The day provided descriptions of the National and State health policy issues that have a role for the nursing profession to be visible and the individual nurse to become engaged.

The first keynote speaker, ANA’s state government affairs director, Janet Haebler, provided an overview of the national landscape and current priorities. She laid out ANA’s Principles for a Transformed Health Care System and offers comparisons to the various ACA repeal and replace proposals. Janet emphasized the importance of nurses’ involvement during this time of the ACA change process. WNA members can stay informed utilizing all of the resources that ANA has available.

The second keynote presenter was Donna Friedsam, who is the Health Policy Programs Director for the UW Population Health Institute.  Donna provided a very in-depth report on the current status of Wisconsin’s Medicaid and status of the Wisconsinites who have health insurance coverage through the health care marketplace. She described some of the possible changes that are being discussed at the Congressional level and the implications for Wisconsin.  She urged the participants to become involved in this issue as nurses are natural advocates for their patients.

We had a WNA version of a “Town Hall” to discuss the policy issues related to the nursing faculty shortage and full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses. Senator Sheila Harsdorf, who represents Wisconsin Senate District 10, and Representative Mike Rohrkaste, who represents the Wisconsin Assembly District 55, took questions from the moderator, WNA President Linda Gobis, and participants. It was a great discussion and appreciated by all.

The remainder of the day consisted of three different concurrent sessions. The topics included the impact of antibiotics in the food supply, which was presented by Kathryn Lammers from the WNA Environmental Health Nursing Coalition, along with three of her Winona State Nursing Students. Gina Dennik-Champion, WNA Executive Director, provided an overview of the policy issues related to opioid abuse and addiction. Another topic focused on WNA’s top three priorities for this biennium. Presenters were Neal Cragg, WNA Public Policy Council co-chair, who spoke on Workplace Violence; Linda Young, Dean for UW-Eau Claire School of Nursing and Allied Health, discussed the issues of the nurse faculty shortage; Mary Beck Metzger, who serves as the APRN Forum representative to WNA Public Policy Council, presented information on desired legislation for advanced practice registered nurses.

There were over 100 participants that headed over to State Capitol after the conference to meet with their legislators to discuss the issues addressed throughout the day.

Save the date: Thursday, March 1, 2018 for the next Nurses Day at the Capitol!

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