NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2010
by Erin Silk
On April 20, RNs and nursing students from across New York State will speak with one voice at NYSNA’s annual Lobby Day in Albany. Nurses will communicate face-to-face with legislators regarding priorities for nursing and patient care.
Last year’s Lobby Day was a huge success, with more than 1,800 nurses and students urging the State Legislature to consider issues such as understaffing and violence against nurses. It’s free to attend Lobby Day, but registration is required by April 5.
Gorete Crowe, chair of NYSNA’s Council on Legislation, urges nurses to lobby legislators with stories that can only be told from their point of view: “Stories about patient care and the struggles of the profession are best expressed by the nurse who is on the front lines every day.” Crowe says that Lobby Day is a unique opportunity to be visible at the state capitol and that legislators “know we are nurses on that day!”
Past Lobby Day attendee Denice Lutgen, executive director of District 14, has experienced firsthand the impact of Lobby Day. “Political activism takes many forms, such as letter-writing, e-mails, phone calls, district office visits. But there is nothing more memorable and powerful than hundreds of nurses and students visiting their legislators at our Capitol in Albany.”
An integral part of Lobby Day is the opportunity for nurses to meet with their own elected officials. Nurses are prepared to use their lobbying appointments with lawmakers to inform them about nursing issues such as staffing ratios, educational advancement, and safe patient handling. Lutgen says nurses are coached to lobby legislators by learning to “speak their language and really make the most of our visits.”
The events scheduled for Lobby Day are arranged to brief you on legislative activity and prepare you to meet with your legislator. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and is free to all participants.
10 TO 11:30 A.M., LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING
NYSNA staff and professional lobbyists will provide an overview of the current political climate in New York State. You will be briefed on legislative priorities for nurses and given practical tips for meeting with your legislator. Contact hours will be awarded.
11:30 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M., POLITICAL ACTION: AN INSIDER’S VIEW
s a nurse, you know that issues such as staffing ratios and safe patient handling are priorities for your profession, but how do you communicate them to your elected officials? Enjoy lunch with NYSNA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) as they share tips and prepare you to sit down with legislators. The luncheon is a PAC fundraiser and the cost is $45. If you are not attending the luncheon, you can eat on your own in the Empire State Plaza’s concourse.
NOON TO 4 P.M., LOBBYING VISITS
Lawmakers are people just like you. Because they work for you, they are interested in what you have to say. This scheduled time is your opportunity to speak about priorities for nurses and for your legislator to learn what it is that you do every day.
Appointments are scheduled by participants in advance. For help in setting up appointments, visit nysna.org/lobbyday.
Visit http://www.nysna.org/lobbyday to locate deatils and online registration, or call 800.724.NYRN, ext. 277 to register by phone.