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Nurse Advocacy Groups to Pay Attention To

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated March 3, 2023
    Every day nurses care and advocate for their patients. These 11 nurse advocacy groups help support healthcare professionals and promote nursing leadership.

    Nurses are natural advocates. Each day they care and support their patients. Nurses have dedicated their lives to helping others, and many have become strong leaders in the community.

    Years of practice and experience with patients give nurses a unique perspective. Politicians and the public need this perspective to understand the difficulties and challenges nurses face each day.

    Discover some of the nurse advocacy groups that are affecting real change and fighting for nurses and healthcare workers in the workplace.

    11 Nurse Advocacy Groups You Need to Know About

    The following groups advocate for nurses and healthcare workers. Their advocacy helps ensure nurses have the resources needed to care for their patients adequately.

    The need for nurse advocacy does not stop with illness and disease. In 2020, there were 10,583 reports of human trafficking in the U.S., which is likely an underreported number. Worldwide that number is close to 25 million men, women, and children.

    People who experience addiction, poverty, homelessness, and healthcare inequity need nurse advocates to stand up for their rights and protect their health.

    The nursing shortage has had a negative effect on patient outcomes and nurses’ health across the U.S. and globally. Nurse advocacy can help develop creative solutions.

    Solutions can reduce the nursing shortage through:

    • Filling nurse educator roles
    • Increasing admissions to nursing programs
    • Lowering attrition rates from hospitals
    • Promoting mandatory staff-to-patient ratios that help improve patient outcomes and lower nursing burnout

    Let’s explore the advocacy groups that help support healthcare workers and how you can get involved.

    1National Nurses United Campaign for Safe Registered Nurse-to-Patient Ratios

    National Nurses United understands that while nurses advocate for their patients, hospitals may be more interested in the bottom line. They make decisions based on the budget rather than clinical considerations. Without a federal mandate, nurses across the country are consistently caring for more patients than is safe.

    Get involved: National Nurses United advocates for nurse unionization, which can mandate safe nurse-to-patient ratios. You can get involved in the action by becoming a member and organizing in your state.

    2International Nurses Society on Addictions

    This group supports nurses who work with patients experiencing addictions and substance use disorders. They started in 1975 and moved from a national to an international organization. Their mission is to advance addiction nursing excellence in preventing and treating addiction.

    Get involved: The organization distributes information, has an e-learning portal, and has chapters around the globe. Find a local chapter to join. Membership benefits include:

    • Connection and collaboration with colleagues
    • Subscription to the Journal of Addictions Nursing
    • Scholarship opportunities
    • Continuing education and professional development

    3Nursing Now Challenge

    Nursing Now Challenge is an extension of the Nightingale Challenge. Nursing Now works with healthcare employers, universities, and colleges to create leadership opportunities for nurses. They use nurses’ social media to develop a supportive global network of healthcare professionals.

    The group helps connect nurses and midwives across the world. They can work together on ideas and encourage other healthcare professionals.

    Get involved: You can join one of their Global Solutions Initiatives, which allows you to share your knowledge and expertise with other nurses to help improve public health.

    4Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

    Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation is a collaborative effort of the American Nurses Association, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the American Nurses Foundation.

    This group invites employers, associations, and schools to join their challenge to engage nurses and their families in personal wellness activities that can help combat nurse burnout and nurses’ compassion fatigue. Nurses’ friends and colleagues can follow suit, leading to a ripple effect of significant impact on the nation’s overall health.

    Get involved: You can get involved as an individual by first registering and taking the health assessment survey, which maps your health risks. Next, pick an area where you will commit to making a change and participating in health challenges. The organization allows you to connect with others for support and advice.

    5Sutter Health Institute for Advancing Health Equity

    The Institute participates in research and data gathering. They form partnerships and can help nurses address disparities in healthcare. They also act as an incubator, bringing together experts in the community to identify inequities and help create solutions.

    Get involved: The Institute encourages nurses to contact them for more information about available opportunities.

    6Show Me Your Stethoscope

    The group engages nurses and the public to develop pathways for nurse advocacy. It is a grassroots approach to create positive change at the regional, state, and national levels.

    To date, they have 650,000 registered members who use their collective power to create effective change. They operate under the motto “Nurses take care of patients. We take care of nurses.”

    Get involved: You can become a member and participate in their impact projects. These include:

    • Medical missions for nurses
    • Safe nurse staffing
    • Responding to natural disasters
    • Adopting families for Christmas

    7The American Nurses Foundation

    The Foundation seeks to impact the nation’s health through nursing. The group looks for and funds groups with new ways of solving problems. They want to generate new ideas, create new tools, and lay the framework for nurses and patients to have a positive experience.

    Get involved: You can participate by donating to the 501(c)3 organization to support the effort. Donations have funded the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses to support mental, financial, and educational health.

    8Nurse Advocacy Association

    The Nurse Advocacy Association is a forum for nurses to identify and talk about issues that affect nursing practice. They encourage collaboration, education, and professional development to achieve the organization’s goals. They hope to attract nurses dedicated to excellence and open to developing a supportive environment for nurses.

    Get involved: Currently, the organization brings together nurses throughout Texas. Membership is free and includes the opportunity to provide the community with resources. Nurses have a platform to discuss healthcare challenges openly.

    9National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

    NAPNAP serves the pediatric population through advocacy and supporting pediatric nurse practitioners. They sponsor professional networking opportunities for nurses and collaborate with organizations to conduct research. NAPNAP also works with healthcare professionals and educates families on the newest developments in pediatric nursing care.

    Get involved: Membership benefits include access to research data, clinical practice resources, and an advocacy center. Here advanced practice nurses can help build awareness. They play a key role in addressing concerns with state and federal representatives. In addition, they can help define health policy agendas and goals to support nursing and children.

    10American Association for Men in Nursing

    The American Association for Men in Nursing’s goal is to help shape the practice and leadership for men in nursing through education and research. The organization was started in 1971 by a nurse who saw the need to support the growth of men in nursing and promote ways to overcome the stigma of male nurses.

    Get involved: The organization has 2,300 members with chapters in 28 states, many of which are on college and university campuses. Membership benefits include a vote at meetings, quarterly newsletter, reports, and an opportunity for appointment or election to office. Membership is open to men and women who wish to support the organization.

    11Nursing Organizations Alliance

    The organization helps connect leaders from professional organizations across the country. The goal is to encourage collaboration and provide a forum to exchange information and share best practices. The Alliance was formed when two long-standing coalitions of nursing organizations decided to unite. The union promotes a strong voice and cohesive action to address nursing issues.

    Get involved: Membership is open to nursing organizations that address healthcare issues. They typically hold three events each year. The conferences focus on broadening nursing leadership and providing a place where nursing organization leaders can communicate and collaborate.