by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Nurses from across Oklahoma are gearing up to attend the annual Nurse’s Day at the Capitol.
As a professional organization, the Oklahoma Nurses Association is a community of nurses from all specialties and practice settings that empowers nurses to improve health care.
Each year, the ONA organizes a single day to arm nurses with the necessary information and give them the opportunity to discuss those issues with policy makers.
This year’s event will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24. You can still register online at
ONA Executive Director Jane Nelson says nurses are always well received at the capitol and typically find the day very informative.
“Nurses are powerful political advocates because they are members of the most-trusted profession in the country,” Nelson said. “With that comes a lot of power.”
The day begins with an informational session held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum followed by an opportunity to go to the capitol and talk with legislators.
Nurses will have the opportunity to:
* Hear legislative experts, legislators and ONA’s Lobbyist
* Talk with legislators concerning the issues vital to ONA and the nursing profession
* Increase your awareness of the role nurses play in the political arena
* Voice your concerns regarding legislation affecting nursing practice, patient safety, preventive care and health education as well as Oklahoma’s health status
The cost for nursing students and LPNs is $30. ONA members and affiliates pay $40 and non-members can participate for $50.
Each year the Oklahoma Nurses Association sets its legislative priorities. For 2015, ONA is focused on the following:
Ensure adequate funding for vital health care related services, including direct care, disease prevention and health promotion. Shortfalls in health and behavioral health services will increase costs in other areas of the state’s budget, and will lead to dire negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities, placing all at risk. When funding falls below critical levels, every other health priority for nurses is negatively impacted. Nursing is one of the few professions in Oklahoma providing care to citizens from cradle to grave.
* Preserving the Board of Nursing’s oversight and regulation of nursing practice. Nursing is the largest group of healthcare providers; LPN, RN and APRN, each one with its own unique scope of practice, is already a consolidated Board. Ensuring professional nursing oversight of this board provides for the critical health and safety of the public. This self-sustaining, non-appropriated Board contributes revenue to the state general fund while providing for efficient, focused regulation of the nursing profession.
Nursing Practice
* Access to efficient, competent health care is supported when licensed Nursing professionals practice to the full extent of their scope of practice.
Competent nursing practice ensures the health and safety of every Oklahoman.
Public Health
* Improving Oklahoma’ Health Status will improve the physical, emotional, and economic well being of the individual, the family, and the community.
* Support only those educational proposals that do not put the emotional and physical well being of school children at risk. Nursing education is an important and critical component in the development of Oklahoma’s nursing workforce, but also in ensuring lifelong learning and continued competency for all nurses in Oklahoma.
“This is a great opportunity to learn about legislative issues affecting nursing practice as well as how to advocate for those issues, Nelson said.”