Health Policy Overview

The Political Agenda

Describe the organization's level of activity in the political arena.

AACN will not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate in public office. AACN will participate in lobbying activities but will limit these so they will not be considered a "substantial" part of the Association's activities.

Describe the organization's level of activity in influencing healthcare policy in general and specific to nursing.

AACN collaborates with other national organizations to address issues that affect professional nursing practice and achievement of AACN's vision. Primarily we provide information and educational materials to our members regarding issues that affect the nursing profession, practice of acute and critical care nursing and the patients and families that we care for.

AACN "lobbies" in the form of endorsing legislation and supporting coalitions' efforts that AACN joins. Priority is given to specific nursing issues; however, many of the health policy issues AACN addresses are global public health/community issues such as our collaboration with organizations like the American Red Cross, the United Network for Organ Sharing, the National Kidney Foundation and the Coalition for Consumer Health & Safety, among others. Examples of activities engaged in and resources provided include letter writing, congressional testimony, participating at the federal/national level on committees and task forces that address health policy issues, public service announcements, issue resource kits, practice standards and guidelines, position statements and talking points.

Describe the organization's communication of health policy issues to its members.

Information is communicated to members primarily via association publications, educational sessions and online.

Describe the public perception of the organization.

AACN is recognized as the world's largest specialty nursing organization and is highly respected in the healthcare field, noted for our expertise in acute and critical care nursing practice, standards, guidelines and literature, educational conferences and nursing leadership.

Economics and Influence

Describe the organization's level of awareness of economic issues in healthcare.

AACN recognizes the tremendous impact the rising cost of healthcare has on access and quality. Increasing technology, reform of the system and ethical issues all impact the economics of healthcare. In addition, because of the strong market-driven approach to healthcare reorganization today, there is significant challenge in making sure that the right and need of patients to receive nursing care is protected and that the workplace environment is safe, effective and conducive to the delivery of high quality patient care. The Association's current and ongoing work in terms of promoting the profession of nursing, addressing the nursing shortage and workplace issues, end-of-life care, palliative care, pain management and advance directives are strongly linked to AACN's mission, vision and values and AACN works in collaboration with other professional organizations to promote patients' rights, workplace advocacy and safe, cost-effective practice.

Describe the organization's level of involvement in influencing the economics of healthcare.

AACN advocates for patient-centered, needs-driven care systems. Health promotion and advocacy for systems geared toward health versus illness are central to our community and nursing agendas for future healthcare reform. AACN advocates health prevention strategies for keeping healthcare costs contained and promotes awareness of the value of nursing in terms of cost, productivity and patient outcomes. AACN participates on a national level to influence funding for nursing education, research, recruitment and retention as well as to promote a safe and professional practice environment.

Future Direction

Describe the future health policy direction of the organization.

The key to AACN's success is through its members. Therefore, AACN is committed to providing the highest quality resources to maximize nurses' contribution to care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

Long-Term Goal:

AACN will address and protect the interests and needs of its members and be recognized for its positive contributions to the advancement of the nursing profession.

  1. Establish AACN as the voice for all nurses who care for or influence the care of acutely and critically ill patients.
  2. Create strategic partnerships that benefit or enhance AACN's role and effectiveness as a leader in the nursing profession and healthcare.
  3. Define and promote AACN's contribution to the nursing profession, healthcare and society at large.

Strategies include the development of resources to assist nurses in addressing issues of workplace advocacy, quality healthcare, patient safety and access to healthcare. Through collaboration with other nursing organizations AACN will continue to broaden its sphere of influence beyond acute and critical care to further the delivery of humane and ethical healthcare, promote the safety and quality of the workplace environment and support strategies to ensure an adequate supply of nurses for our nation's future.

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