Finding Our Collective Voice in Advocacy: The First Few Steps

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Considered by many to be among the most trusted professions, nursing has been at the top of Gallup’s annual honesty and ethics list for 20 consecutive years and, in 2022, ranked highest among 22 occupational groups, including doctors, pharmacists, and teachers. As essential members of their communities with a reputation for caring for those in need, nurses are uniquely qualified to advocate for their patients and their profession. Telling your story to policymakers can help ensure that they support funding for nursing education and training programs, workforce initiatives, research, telehealth, access to care, and other health care priorities.

The first step to becoming an advocate is simple: contacting your members of Congress and their staff, introducing yourself, and sharing your story so they can better understand why hospice and palliative care nursing is essential. This early introduction and continued engagement will be helpful in developing a relationship and paving the way for future communication and legislative requests, such as supporting or sponsoring a piece of legislation. HPNA makes it easy for members to take this initial step through the HPNA Action Center. 

HPNA’s Action Center also lists our current legislative priorities and calls to action and allows you to quickly personalize letters and email them to elected officials. This also enables HPNA’s advocacy team to track and measure participation in advocacy campaigns.

HPNA is an active member of several coalitions, including the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care, the Nursing Community Coalition, and the Patient Quality of Life Coalition. Through these partnerships, HPNA and other organizations are able to unite with one voice on issues important to the collective nursing community and the broader hospice and palliative care community.

HPNA also offers volunteer opportunities to support our advocacy efforts. One way to begin advocating with HPNA is to volunteer as a state ambassador. State ambassadors are responsible for monitoring activity in their state, meeting quarterly with HPNA staff, and sharing information with colleagues across the country. This strengthens HPNA’s state-to-state peer support network and informs HPNA leadership about issues at the state level that may be headed to the federal level in the future. Experienced advocates are also encouraged to apply to serve on the HPNA Advocacy Committee, which guides advocacy efforts and provides formal recommendations for action to the Board of Directors.