Choose one legislator on the state or federal level who is also a nurse, and discuss the importance of their role as advocate for improving health care delivery. What specific bill(s) have they sponsored or supported that has/have influenced health care?
Nurses that have gone on to become legislators “approach the job from the perspective of a nurse, nurse legislators can represent the interests of their colleagues in a way that no one else can” (Larson, 2016, para. 5).
Lois Capps, RN, served as a U.S. Representative for California’s 24th congressional district from 1998 to 2017. She has been a passionate advocate for nurses and has raised awareness about the ways nurses improve health care for all (McCutcheon, 2015). She has made many contributions on behalf of nurses and to the improvements in health care. Her retirement from Congress will surely produce a void in her absence. Through several sessions of congress, Capps was very active in and sponsored a bill that was backed by the ANA that would “improve the health, safety, and outcomes for patients by ensuring sufficient nurse staffing in hospitals” (McCutcheon, 2015, para. 3). Capps sponsored The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act requiring hospitals to establish a panel to develop unit-by-unit flexible nurse staffing plans based on several determining factors and this panel was to be made up with a majority of RNs. She also was instrumental in the enactment of the Nurse Reinvestment Act in 2002 to fund nursing education and development of workforce (McCutcheon, 2015).
Above all, Lois Capps, performed her work in Congress, with a smile and much kindness, which is not a common thing seen in a divided Congress as we have now.