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Political Will and Influencing Stakeholders

In this section, you'll learn:

  • The definition of 'political will'

  • How to determine if your campaign has political will

  • Who influences nurses' political will in California


It is frequently said in politics that, whenever a policy succeeds or fails, 'political will' - or the lack of it - affects the outcome.

Yale's School of Public Health defines political will here:

"Political will exists when a sufficient set of decision-makers with a common understanding of a particular problem on the formal agenda is committed to supporting a commonly perceived, potentially effective policy solution."

So, what does political will actually mean?

Political will could be a lack of influence to achieve an outcome, insufficient resources to gather the influence, impediments by interest groups, institutions, or agencies, or encountering any number of other difficulties.

To determine your topic's political will, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who supports or opposes your topic?

  2. What are the competing interests?

  3. Do you have the power, influence, and means to achieve the outcome you want?

  4. What are the necessary actions to take to achieve your outcome?

  5. How strongly held are the preferences of key decision-makers?

  6. How do you manage relationships with stakeholders who oppose and support different initiatives within the same industry or profession?

In this section of the Advocacy Institute Guide, we will share with you who are key players influencing nurses’ political will in California so you can navigate and account for outside influences on your advocacy campaign.

Who Influences Nurses' Political Will in California

The following types of organizations are common examples of those who influence nurses' political will in California:

*Note: The following list is not a comprehensive list of all organizations and associations representing nurses or healthcare professionals in California.

If you'd like your organization to be added to the list below, please contact


Professional and Trade Associations

American Nurses Association\California (ANA\California)

ANA\California is a state affiliate of the American Nurses Association. The American Nurses Association\California (ANA\C) has represented California’s registered nurses as a leading voice for the nursing profession since 1996. ANA\C advocates for and represents all registered nurses in the state of California, without regard to specialty or practice setting.

Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL)

ACNL is a state affiliate of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders. ACNL equips nurse leaders to lead self, others and systems by providing lifelong learning opportunities, strengthening nurse leadership, sharing influential voices, and advancing the nursing profession.


HealthImpact is devoted to improving the health of Californians by promoting a dynamic, well-prepared nursing workforce. HealthImpact, a neutral forum, was founded in In 2001 - originally named the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare (CINHC).

California Hospital Association (CHA)

CHA is a state affiliate of the American Hospital Association. The California Hospital Association, representing more than 400 hospitals throughout California, advocates for better, more accessible health care for all Californians. CHA ensures that hospitals will continue to be able to provide exceptional care to patients and comprehensive health services to communities. Established in 1935, CHA provides information, resources, and perspective to state and federal policymakers to inform decisions that affect 40 million Californians.

CHA is connected to three regional associations:

  • The Hospital Council Northern and Central California,

  • Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC)

  • Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties (HASD&IC)

California Medical Association (CMA)

CMA is a state affiliate of the American Medical Association. The California Medical Association (CMA) and its component medical societies have represented California’s physicians as the recognized voice of the medical profession. Keeping in step with the changing realities of the practice of medicine and the business of healthcare, CMA understands the unique challenges facing healthcare providers.

California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL)

CAHL is an independent chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives. CAHL advances leaders and the field of healthcare leadership excellence. They are the professional home to more than 48,000 healthcare executives who are committed to integrity, lifelong learning, leadership, and diversity and inclusion.

Representatives by Specialty

California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP)

CANP is the state affiliate of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. CANP provides a forum and unifying voice for more than 30,000 nurse practitioners statewide, advancing the profession and bridging healthcare needs by advocating to protect and expand nurse practitioners' roles in California.

California Nurse-Midwives Association (CNMA)

CNMA is an affiliate of The American College of Nurse-Midwives. CNMA advocates for the people, communities, and the midwifery profession. They aim to increase access to midwifery care, improve maternal-child healthcare outcomes with a specific focus on reducing racism-based disparities, and to advance sexual and reproductive healthcare in California.

California Emergency Nurses Association (CENA)

CENA is a state affiliate of the Emergency Nurses Association. CENA's mission is to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice. They envision themselves to be the global emergency nursing resource and advocate for Safe Practice and Safe Care.

California Association of Clinical Nurses Specialists (CACNS)

CACNS is a state affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. CACNS is a dynamic community of members throughout California. They have membership in three distinct regions as well as various regional collaboratives. They serve as a resource that supports the needs of the unique role the CNS plays in our state.

California Association of Nurses Anesthetists (CANA)

CANA is the state affiliate of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology. CANA advances patient safety, fosters access to the highest quality anesthesia and supports the nurse anesthesia profession in California by monitoring and advocating for CRNA practice, education, and healthcare legislation.

Representatives by Race & Ethnicity

National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Chartered Chapters

NBNA was organized in 1971 and represents 308,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students, and retired nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean, and Africa, with 114 chartered chapters, in 34 states.

NBNA has regional chartered chapters located in the following regions:

  • Corona, CA - Greater Inland Empire Black Nurses Association

  • Fresno, CA - Central Valley Black Nurses Association (150)

  • Los Angeles, CA - Council of Black Nurses, Los Angeles (1)

  • Oakland, CA - Bay Area Black Nurses Association (2)

  • Sacramento, CA - Capitol City Black Nurses Association

  • San Diego, CA - San Diego Black Nurses Association (3)

  • Stanford, CA - Stanford Medicine National Black Nurses Association (190). The

National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) Chartered Chapters

NAHN has been the nation’s leading professional society for Latino nurses with more than 40 local chapters. NAHN is devoted to promoting safe, quality healthcare delivery to Latino communities and individuals, recognizes excellence among Latino nurses, provides formal and informal mentoring opportunities, and generally serves as a center of excellence for our members.

NAHN has regional chartered chapters located in the following regions:

  • Inland Empire Chapter

  • Los Angeles Chapter

  • Orange County Chapter

  • Sacramento Chapter

  • San Diego Chapter

  • San Francisco/Golden Gate Chapter

Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) Chartered Chapters

PNAA represents 55 chapters with over 5,000+ members. PNAA upholds and fosters the positive image and welfare of Filipino-American nurses, promotes professional excellence, and contributes to significant outcomes for healthcare and society through education, research, and clinical practice.

PNAA consists of four regions: North Central, Eastern, Western, and South Central. These regions represent the following regional chartered chapters:

  • PNA California Capital City

  • PNA California Orange County

  • PNA Central California

  • PNA Greater Sacramento

  • PNA Napa Solano County

  • PNA Northern California

  • PNA San Diego

  • PNA South Riverside

  • PNA Southern California

  • PNA West Los Angeles (PNASC subchapter)

PNAA is a member of the National Coalition for Ethnic Minority Nurses Association (NCEMNA) and an affiliate member of the American Nurses Association.

Nursing Education

California Association of Colleges of Nursing (CACN)

CACN is a state affiliate of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). CACN leads in advancing California baccalaureate and graduate nursing education by increasing the number of baccalaureate and graduate-prepared nurses in California, improving nursing education, informing policymakers and healthcare stakeholders, facilitating ongoing communication, and developing nursing academic leaders.

California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing (COADN)

COADN is a state affiliate of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (ODAN). COADN's purpose is to improve the quality of associate degree nursing education throughout the state and to promote the safety and quality of patient care by coordinating activities, enhancing communication and networking, developing group positions, monitoring legislation, and more.

The organization is divided into two distinct geographic regions:

Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges and Undergraduate Studies (AD&D)

AD&D provides professional development and networking opportunities for its members. AD&D is committed to serving as a premier resource by providing a platform for information and knowledge sharing, a virtual community for networking, and an annual conference to provide an unparalleled professional development experience for deans and directors as well as for their colleagues.

Sigma Theta Tau

Sigma is an international community of nurses, dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, teaching, learning, and service through the cultivation of communities of practice, education, and research. Sigma is divided into Regions. California chapters are listed in Region 1 and Region 2.

Individual Nursing Schools

Includes UC, state, private and for-profit nursing schools.

Labor Unions

California Nurses Association (CNA)

CNA is a state affiliate of the National Nurses United (NNU). CNA is a labor union representing more than 100,000 nurses and makes political contributions in the form of campaign contributions, lobbying, and public relations. CNA works to improve workplace standards through collective bargaining and reforming healthcare legislation.

Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)

SEIU-UHW is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare consumers united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.

Regulatory Agencies

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)

The Californi BRN protects the health, safety, and well-being of the public through the fair and consistent application of the statutes and regulations governing nursing practice and education in California.

The Joint Commission

The mission of The Joint Commission enterprise is to enable and empower healthcare organizations around the world to build a foundation for quality care and patient safety.


California Simulation Alliance

California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF)


  • Public Health/Health Crises - City, county, and other governmental and non-governmental agencies.

  • Environmental Factors - Pandemics, wildfires, etc.

  • Businesses - Dialysis, telehealth, staffing, etc.

  • Other Healthcare Associations - Associations and academic institutions representing healthcare professionals.


Summary and Next Steps

There are two sayings among lobbyists:

  1. If you're not at the table, you're on the menu, and

  2. You never get the whole pie.

In other words, if you're not in the rooms where discussions are happening regarding nurses and nursing legislation, then we won't have a chance to positively advocate for our profession.

Second, when you are in the room where decisions are being made, you may not get every action item on your list because there is others' political will to consider.

Think of political will as the “will power” or the commitment to a cause, it is the driving force to achieve your goal and helps you get things done politically. Ask yourself: Which one of these organizations do you need to team up with to create a movement for your cause?

As one of the only nursing associations lobbying for nurses in California, we are accustomed to confronting and addressing prevention tactics against nursing legislation.

Long-term, effective change in complex issue areas typically happens only if the government and key public stakeholders are pushing in the same direction. Nurses have a unique opportunity to use their collective work and knowledge to influence current stakeholders.


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