1. Section Editor(s): Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

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In an election year, it's hard to tune into mass media and not encounter something political. Keep reading...this editorial isn't about any particular campaign or ideology-it's about why nurses at all levels need to be engaged in the political arena, especially those on the front lines who are content experts in the current realities of healthcare. Your voice is desperately needed at the table.

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I first realized the true value of political action several years ago through deep involvement in Delaware legislation that led to the formation of an inclusive trauma system as well as legislation that allowed prescriptive authority for advanced practice nurses. Without sugarcoating the process, the effort was substantial, including the attempts to achieve consensus with the contingent that opposed the changes. I learned that there's no substitute for tact, diplomacy, and perseverance. Ultimately, collaboration led to success and both laws passed. Perhaps most gratifying is the knowledge that these laws enabled tangible improvements in healthcare delivery across my state and positively touched more lives than I ever could have as an individual nurse.


There's power in political influence leveraged for the right reasons by informed people with the goal of improving health outcomes for a population. Some may consider politics a bad word, but like it or not, the political process is how decisions are made. Wars were fought and won to give us that right. It's a privilege that we should never ignore or treat lightly. If our voice remains silent, we surrender our opportunity to shape the future.


Collectively as nurses, we have a very strong voice when we choose to use it. Seek ways to let that voice be heard on issues that are important to you. Connect with a legislator who's working on a meaningful cause and offer to assist with the legwork or lend professional expertise to the effort. Seek membership in organizations, boards, or commissions that establish standards, policies, rules, and regulations related to health, the environment, or another area of interest. Finally, consider this quote popularized by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." Contribute by being part of the decision-making process, not looking in on it from the outside.


Until next time,


Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

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Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2016 Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.