The Dean’s Desk | Thoughts from Rutgers Nursing Leadership
NJ Lawmakers Need to Understand Importance of Supporting Nursing
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
William L. Holzemer, RN, PhD, FAAN
Rutgers University School of Nursing
The New Jersey Legislature is in session, with dozens of issues on its agenda. For those of us in the nursing community, decisions about several will significantly impact our profession and the way patients are treated.
So it is vital that nurses, nurse educators, and others committed to quality health care speak up and make sure lawmakers know why support for nursing is important to the wellbeing of every citizen in this state.
A key issue for nurses in this year’s session is adopting the scope of practice for Advanced Practice Nurses without physician signature authority. This is critical because, with hundreds of thousands of new patients gaining access to medical care via the Affordable Care Act and one-third of primary care doctors retiring over the next decade, many Nurse Practitioners are gaining independence and establishing autonomy as they provide medical care without the oversight or management of a physician. But right now, only 23 states have given APNs full scope of practice – and New Jersey is not among them.
Other legislative proposals this year with potentially significant impacts on nursing involve:
Establishment of minimum registered professional nurse staffing standards for hospitals and ambulatory surgery facilities and certain DHS facilities.
New Jersey’s inclusion in a multistate compact for nurse licensure.
Deciding whether to allow New Jersey community colleges to offer BSN degrees.
There are numerous ways you can make sure New Jersey legislators understand the importance of making the proper decisions on these issues:
Educate them via phone calls, e-mails, and letters about the stands they should take on our issues. If you can meet with them in person, do it. Become a long-term resource for lawmakers on the nursing issues that you know about and care about!
Volunteer in legislators’ offices (rank-and-file lawmakers have little paid staff support).