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Call to Action: Amplifying Advocacy in Nursing | S2E1 -Amplified RN News Show

How nurses can amplify the voices of their colleagues and patients in healthcare policy by advocating on more than one level with ANA\California Member and media-trained nurse, BJ Bartleson, MS, RN, NEA-BC, FAONL.


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Jared Fesler 0:17

Welcome to the Amplified RN News Show where we're turning up the volume on nursing news in California. I'm your host, Jared Fesler. And today we're going to be talking about the topic of amplifying advocacy in nursing. We're joined by ANA\California member and media trained nurse BJ Bartleson. BJ, thank you so much for being here today. Tell us a little bit why you're an expert on this topic.

BJ Bartleson 0:39

Thanks for having me today. It's so exciting to be part of this Amplified RN News Show. I am a registered nurse, and I specialize in health policy and advocacy. For the past 40 years, I've been an RN, clinician, manager, administrator. And for the past 15 years, I've been a health policy subject, content expert and a lobbyist. And I have a broad spectrum of expertise to be able to empower nurses to advocate and I'm so glad to be here to call nurses to action to advocate.

Jared Fesler 1:11

So let's dive right into it. Why do we need to call nurses to advocate? It implies that maybe there's not enough.

BJ Bartleson 1:19

You know, it's a really good question, because I think we all think we advocate and actually we do. Most of the nurses out there advocate for their patients. And they do so well. They advocate and they're intelligent, and they have so much nursing knowledge. The problem is they're only advocating we're only advocating at one level. And we need help policy and advocacy at multiple levels and communities in the state and at the federal level. And what happens is we collect so much information as patient care advocates, that that information doesn't get into nursing intelligent and get pushed into legislation or changes or health policy work that needs to happen. So what we're trying to do is to heighten the awareness of the need to push ourselves to do more health policy and advocacy. Let me give you some examples. In media, less than 4% of nurses are cited in health care resources, and even less nurses do editorials. Or they are available in news or reports. And so what that is telling us that nurses are talking to each other, but we're not talking to the public. And we're not advocating and making policy changes. So that's the problem. And to kind of counter that or to multiply off it that there's an urgency and a need for us to advocate and advocate with all of the world changes that are happening now. And with the health care crisis and the nursing shortage crisis, we need to get moving, and we need to get out there and start advocating at all levels.

Jared Fesler 2:55

There are many aspects to be advocating in nursing these days, we see it across the news. Isn't that some responsibility of the association to be representing and engaging nurses in advocacy? How many nurses are Is there a number that is attributed to that? I mean, nurses are advocating?

BJ Bartleson 3:14

It's a really, really good question. And most nurses find that professional associations are a political agency, a vehicle, a place where we can practice policy and advocacy. However, only less than 7% of nurses are members of professional organizations, and even less of that 7% are doing health policy and advocacy. So it's important that we raise the voice of advocacy and policy and that nurses join professional organizations.

Jared Fesler 3:45

Now you talk about some of these crises that are existing, which are those that are impacting nurses' ability to advocate or to be advocates.

BJ Bartleson 3:56

So there are many reasons why nurses are unable to advocate at larger levels. But I'll use three for instance, lack of education, lack of professionalism and professional identity and lack of that professional political agency or as you mentioned earlier, professional organizations. So we don't get educated on policy and advocacy in school, so we have to learn it somewhere. We are a novice profession, we have to learn more about professional behaviors. We have to learn more about our American Nursing Association, scope and standards of practice and our social commitment to society, which draws us to do Healthcare Policy and Advocacy at a much larger approach. We don't do that because we don't know we're supposed to do it. But what happens with professional organizations like a California as we get those professional inculcation and education and the tools that we need to advocate.

Jared Fesler 4:57

So if you're needing to... It sounds like a lot of to knowledge to grasp in order to advocate effectively. You know, there has been a lot of reports out recently about how many nurses are exiting the profession or choosing different routes within that same profession. What's your take on that issue and how it will impact nurses ability to advocate?

BJ Bartleson 5:18

And that's the reason I'm here, Jared, because this is a call to action to your audience that we need advocacy. Now.

BJ Bartleson 5:27

If you look at what happened during COVID COVID, highlighted all of the all of the issues in health care and with our workforce, but particularly healthcare environment that have been happening forever. And what happened after COVID is we have lost so many nurses, for instance, national surveys show us 100,000 nurses in the United States left their place of employment. 600,000 nurses are going to retire early 30 to 40% of nurses interviewed today are ready to leave and are considering leaving nursing. We are having a nursing shortage crisis. And we have got to act we got to do something about that. The reasons they left the reason they want to leave, they don't have a voice. Nurses feel like they don't have a voice. They were heavy workloads, staffing. But the most predominant issue is they felt like they did not have a voice. So our call to action is to help nurses have the tools to have the wherewithal to get professional association and colocation and to have a vehicle political vehicle to be able to advocate and do health policy. And that my friend comes from California a and a and and na California has all those tools to be able to help us amplify healthcare advocacy and policy.

Jared Fesler 6:54

Well, BJ Bartleson, thank you so much for being on the show today. Incredibly important topic, considering nurses are underrepresented in policy, politics and media. So there's a lot of room to grow and have our voices amplified here. So thank you for your time. And thank you to those that are tuning into the Amplified RN News Show. We'll see you in the next episode.

BJ Bartleson 7:12

Thank you very much.


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