By Diane McLaughlin, RN
Commission of Active Retired Nurses & Government Affairs Commissioner
It is so inspiring to see about 100 MNA nurses from all over Minnesota come together and speak up for patients with our legislators at the Capitol during the annual Day on the Hill this year.
The Feb. 11-12 event was as rewarding and inspiring as ever.
After an evening of socializing and training, we met with our own representatives and senators to use our voices as citizen lobbyists to talk about the issues impacting our patients and our profession.
I met with Rep. Mike Howard, who was elected to the Minnesota House for the first time in 2018. MNA nurses had endorsed him, and we supported his campaign. The Day on the Hill meeting gave me a greater opportunity to sit down and talk with him about our critical issues.
Rep. Howard is very supportive of nurses and our priorities, so he is always happy to talk with us. The opportunity to get involved with my elected representatives is phenomenal. Rep. Howard and others are so accessible and responsive.
That’s the benefit of endorsing and supporting candidates: we know they will support our issues and listen to us.
Some of MNA’s 2019 legislative priorities I shared with Rep. Howard include:
- Workplace violence prevention by creating an electronic database for nurses to report incidences of and requests for security and staffing support. MNA believes this data will better inform lawmakers of the actual experiences of working nurses and healthcare workers across our state. The database will also hold hospitals more accountable to keep their employees safe.
- Support the Provider Tax extension and Minnesota Care Expansion.
- Support the Quality Patient Care Act with appropriate number of qualified nurses to care for the acuity level of patients.
If you missed this year’s Day on the Hill, you have more opportunities to use your voice at the Capitol to save lives and share your stories through our Mini Days on the Hill. You can sign up to come to lobby your legislators on several days coming up this spring – and be sure to bring your co-workers!
I highly recommend the Mini Days on the Hill as well. I have participated in several and found them very rewarding.
MNA staff help us every step of the way. We meet at the MNA office in St. Paul in the morning for a briefing and a quick training to support your confidence in sharing your stories with lawmakers, and then help with transportation to the Capitol, lunch, appointments with lawmakers, tour of the Capitol, and the possibility of a committee hearing if time allows.
It’s a full day of advocacy as effective citizen lobbyist. Show your MNA nurse pride, wear your red, and speak up for patients and our profession!