"This poll consistently shows that people connect with nurses and trust them to do the right thing," said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN. "Policymakers should do the same as they debate crucial budget decisions that will affect health care quality and access for millions of Americans."
Registered nurses are increasingly being recognized as leaders in transforming the health care system to meet the burgeoning demand for prevention, wellness, and primary care services with a focus on improving quality and managing costs. In addition to their clinical expertise, they are being sought out to serve in a variety of leadership posts on bodies developing policy recommendations related to a wide-range of health care policy issues.
Along with physician and hospital associations, ANA released a report in September that found up to 766,000 health care and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending being debated as part of Congress' broader "fiscal cliff" negotiations. ANA has warned against making hasty, large-scale Medicare spending cuts that could decrease the quality of care for patients as a deficit-reduction measure. ANA is working with coalitions representing health care professionals, consumers, and other groups to prevent potential declines in quality and is urging nurses across the country to tell Congress to avoid harmful Medicare actions.
Additionally, as states develop health insurance exchanges, ANA and its state nurses associations are advocating for nurses to serve as members of governing boards for state exchanges and for the recognition of qualified nurses to fully participate in Qualified Health Plans.
For the 13th out of 14 years, nurses were voted the most ethical and honest profession in America in Gallup's annual survey. Eighty-five percent of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "very high" or "high," the highest rating for RNs since nurses were first included in the poll in 1999. Since the profession's first appearance, nurses have received the highest ranking each year except in 2001, when firefighters ranked first after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Nurses consistently capture patient and public trust by performing in accordance with a Code of Ethics for Nurses that supports the best interests of patients, families, and communities. They often are the strongest advocates for patients who are vulnerable and in need of support.
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The ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
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