One specialty and professional nursing association with a significant impact on the American society is the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). The association has a mission of promoting excellence in and appreciating nephrology nursing so as to positively influence the lives of persons with kidney disease. It aims at advancing the specialty of nephrology nursing through nurturing of members. So as to achieve its goals, ANNA provides quality education, mentorship programs and services to members. Another area of critical importance to the ANNA is advocating for health policy reforms. This paper explores the impact ANNA has had on health care legislation in the past 2 years.
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The ANNA strategic plan identifies advocacy as a core value. It is the association’s objective to advocate for families, communities and individuals affected or at an elevated risk for kidney disease. As such it works in partnership with communities, authorities and policy makers to create awareness on the disease as well as educating legislators on the crucial role of nurses in caring for patients. Through actions such as the Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Initiate as well as the Health Policy Workshop, ANNA provides a platform for its members and policy makers to engage on policies and issues affecting not just nephrology but nursing practice in general. Through the ANNA Legislative Action Center the association enables members to communicate with elected legislators on issues affecting practice. It also periodically develops Position Statements on policy issues as well as equipping members with necessary tools for advocacy.
One area of legislation impact in the past two years is on the Living Donor Protection Act. ANNA has strongly advocated for, supported and urged Congress to cosponsor the companion legislation. Jon a yearly basis, many Americans get diagnosed with kidney disease. In fact 20 million persons have the disease and over 636000 suffer from kidney failure. Transplantation is the single most effective method of treatment they have. The Living Donor Protection Act of 2017 seeks to ensure healthy persons that are able to donate a kidney or any other body organ do not get to suffer discrimination in their places of work or by insurance companies. It will protect donors from arbitrary denial of coverage and increases in premium by insurance providers. It also ensures they enjoy job security as provided for under the FMLA framework while they take time to recover.
Another legislation that ANNA has strongly advocated for in the recent past is the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015. The law reauthorizes the Nursing Workforce Development Program as well as introducing changes that modernize the programs. Nurses play a vital role in the entire US health care continuum with the goal of improving the health of the nation. Nurses collaborate to support education, research and practice. They place the safety and wellbeing of patients before any other goals. The law will therefore ensure the United States has enough nurses to cater for the needs of increasingly growing population.
In Conclusion therefore, nurses play a very important in the health care of the nation. Professional and specialty nursing organizations empower members to advocate for policy reforms for the benefit of patients. The ANNA for instance lobbies for kidney disease nursing and nursing as a general profession with the patients as the major beneficiaries. Through advocacy and support for the two legislations the ANNA has touched the lives of many patients.
- American Society of Nephrology Fact Sheets (2016). “Kidney Disease by the Numbers” and “Living Donor Protection Act of 2016”.
- Auerbach, D. I., Buerhaus, P., & Staiger, D. O. (2015). Will the run workforce weather the retirement of the baby boomers? Medical Care, 53(10), 850-856.