Health Policy Priority Issues


To create a focused, coordinated, effective, ongoing health policy program aimed at achieving desired outcomes.

Desired Outcomes

The intent of establishing priority areas for health policy is to provide a focus for AACN's health policy agenda that will facilitate a coordinated approach between national and grassroots efforts. These issues revolve around Healthy Work Environments, Staffing and Palliative and End-of-Life Issues. The established priorities provide a clear message about what AACN represents and what the Association feels is important in the policy arena.

Time Line

The Framework for the Association's Public Policy Agenda: Definitions, Principles, and Outcomes, approved in January 1996, describes how AACN's health policy program is rooted in and guided by the Association's mission, vision, values, priorities and member needs. The Framework further states that the Public Policy Agenda will be implemented through the Association's structures, operational systems, phased action plans and integration of health policy throughout all of the Association's activities.

In determining the priorities that AACN will address multiple factors are considered.

First, the priority statements must be broad enough to capitalize on a wide range of activities (depending on how the issue may be played out at the national or a different regional area), have the ability to address new and emerging issues, reflect the interest and resources of specific chapters or members and provide ample opportunity for collaboration and networking.

Second, the priorities must be rooted in AACN's vision, mission and values and enhance and build on the historical activities and achievements of the Association in health policy.

Finally, the priorities must reflect the work and deliberations of the Public Policy Work Group, member feedback and environmental assessments assuring relevance to the needs of AACN's members.

The priority issues approved by AACN's Board of Directors in August 1996 are the following:

  • AACN works to ensure that vulnerable populations have access to quality healthcare.

    This priority is strongly tied to AACN's mission because acutely and critically ill patents are among the most vulnerable of populations. The Association has supported and continues to support appropriate Medicare and Medicaid funding and improving the health and status of women and children. AACN advocates for patient-centered, needs-driven care systems.

  • AACN works to ensure public and community safety.

    The concept of healthy communities has been prominent in the Association's strategic thinking. AACN has been an active participant in coalitions for consumer health and safety and has advocated for clean air and water, transportation safety, trauma prevention and the prevention of health problems associated with tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse. Health promotion and advocacy for systems geared toward health versus illness are central to our community and nursing agendas for future healthcare reform.

  • AACN works to ensure the provision of humane and ethical care.

    The Association's current and ongoing work in terms of end-of-life care, palliative care, pain management and advance directives are strongly linked to AACN's mission and vision. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are issues of intense concern to the profession and the public. 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

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